Carlynton swim teams enjoy luxury of depth
By: Nathan Smith
Saturday, February 10, 2018 | 1:12 AM
For the first time in several years, both Carlynton swimming teams have a crucial part of the success puzzle.
The Cougars added a total of 10 this season to push the number of swimmers to 14 on each team. That has helped the girls start 11-0 with a 6-0 record in Section 1-AA. The boys, meanwhile, are 9-1 with a 5-0 section record and the lone loss coming to defending WPIAL Class AA champion Quaker Valley.
“That has been huge for us,” Carlynton coach Mike Schneiderlochner said. “I think it has made a big difference. We are finally able to fill every boys event for the first time in a long time.”
The boys team added six freshmen swimmers including Evan Walker, who qualified for WPIAL in the 100-yard butterfly and 200 individual medley.
“Having a freshman be your top swimmer in the butterflies and IMs is very unusual,” Schneiderlochner said. “Freshmen tend to be learning and contributing in other events their first year. But he has stepped right in.”
Schneiderlochner added that Jack Mickle has developed into Carlynton's top backstroker.
The girls team added four freshmen. Natali Lutsiv opened the year by swimming a WPIAL-qualifying time in the 50 freestyle and is expected to swim in four events at the WPIAL Class AA championships March 1-2. Gina Ulizzi, meanwhile, has qualified for WPIALs in the 500 free and is close to qualifying times in several other events. Sarah MacMurdo is also close to qualifying in both the 100 and 50 free.
“They all swam together on the middle school team,” Schneiderlochner said. “They have been swimming in the summer with the Crafton Crocs since they were 6 years old. With that much experience, they should be pretty good swimmers.”
The new talent combined with the returning swimmers has pushed Carlynton to high levels of competition: The Cougars have qualifying times in all six relay events.
“We have six juniors and four freshmen on the girls team,” Schneiderlochner said. “They know each other and are comfortable swimming together. Five or six swimmers on the boys team can go in any of the relays without a drop-off.”
Junior Katie Kozy continues to lead by example for the girls team, qualifying for WPIAL in the 200 individual medley, 100 free, 200 free and 500 free.
“I think Katie absolutely loves what she is doing,” Schneiderlochner said. “She missed maybe one practice in the past year. I think she wants to see if she could do enough practices to letter for two people.”
The junior class has been strong for Carlynton with Amy Ulizzi, Molly Badger and Julie Carothers all helping the team. Seniors Juliette Lopez and Jessica Vogliano also have been solid.
Senior Kevin MacMurdo has been the leader of the boys team. Last season, the Cougars were led by Luke Ulizzi — the first swimmer from Carlynton to qualify for WPIALs in all 11 events. MacMurdo challenged himself to fill that void.
“Kevin has taken it upon himself to be the replacement for that,” Schneiderlochner said. “Whoever the fastest swimmer is on the other team, Kevin is taking him on in whatever stroke or whatever distance it is. He likes the challenge.”
Junior Coulton Gaitens, Avery Brehm and Anthony Killen have impacted the relay teams and individual events.
Nathan Smith is a freelance writer.