Chartiers Valley girls swim team takes big step forward with 1st section title

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Sunday, March 26, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Some history was made by the Chartiers Valley swimmers this winter.

Success began at the top.

Morgan Soulia made the biggest splash as the first-year coach of the Colts girls swimming team.

Soulia was a graduate of North Allegheny, where she helped the Tigers win four WPIAL championships and three runner-up finishes in the PIAA championsips. She was a Division I swimmer at Richmond.

Soulia credits a great mix of swimmers for the overall success of the Chartiers Valley teams.

“I think this year went really well,” she said. “We had a bigger team than in years past. Some kids hadn’t swam in years, some were year-round USAS swimmers, some only swam during the high school season, as well as some who had very little swimming experience.

“In addition to the mix of athletes, our coaching staff had a good mix as well. Everyone brought their own value to our team and it was an adjustment period learning curve of course, but once we got comfortable with each other and got in a swing of things, we came out with a sectional title.”

The Chartiers Valley girls team captured the school’s first section championship by finishing first in Section 1-2A.

“In short, it was awesome, Soulia said. “I actually did not know that the girls team had never won the section title before until someone brought it up before one of our tough meets. Once someone said that, everyone knew exactly what they had to do and the part they played. It was really awesome to watch everyone come together to support each other, and I hope that we use this as forward momentum for the coming years.”

The girls team finished tied for 23rd place in the WPIAL swimming championships.

Some of the top individual efforts included:

• Sophomore Janelle King placed 10th in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke. Her 200 IM qualified her for the PIAA 2A meet, where she placed 22nd. She also participated in the Colts relays that competed at WPIALs.

• Jaylynn Welch, a freshman who only has been swimming for a year, was less than a second off the 50 and 100 free and 100 breast WPIAL qualifying times. She also participated in the team’s relays that competed at WPIALs.

• The 200 freestyle relay team that competed at WPIALs consisting of King, Welch, junior Grace Sothergill and junior Ashley Thiel dropped 5.46 seconds from its seed time.

“Honestly, everyone stood out this year,” Soulia said. “One-hundred percent of our swimmers had a best time this year, and everyone had significant amounts of time drops all year.”

With a lot of returning talent, the immediate future looks like a bright one at the Chartiers Valley pool.

“While we are really going to miss our seniors, we have a really small senior class of three swimmers,” Soulia said. “We will also have a class coming in that is bigger than the graduating class, so we will have more swimmers, which means more depth, which means more room to grow.”

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