Colleen Hoolahan puts exclamation point on Penn Hills career with record swim

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Thursday, February 6, 2020 | 12:08 AM


Penn Hills senior Colleen Hoolahan has been on a mission since her freshman year to leave her own mark with the swim program. On senior night, Hoolahan finally reached her goal as she knocked down a school record that has lasted over 36 years.

Hoolahan swam a 1:07.46 in the 100 breast in a meet against Plum at Penn Hills on Feb. 4 to break Melanie Buddemeyer’s school record of 1:09.23 set in 1984.

Buddemeyer is known for winning the bronze medal in the 100-meter butterfly at the 1982 World Aquatics Championships in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

“Breaking this record has been my goal since freshman year,” Hoolahan said. “Each year I’ve come a second from breaking it. This season, I worked extra hard because I wanted to realize my dream of being on that board.

“She’s an absolute legend at Penn Hills, and I’m humbled to be mentioned in the same sentence as her.”

Coach Nick Page noticed Hoolahan was very close to breaking the elusive school record. Recently, Page wanted to make sure Hoolahan fine-tuned her start and her second 50 as they practiced it in the pool leading up to the meet against Plum.

“After the meet against Shaler, I picked a couple things for her to work through,” Page said. “The work at practice was really solid. For her, her streamline off the start was really solid. I think that was really what jumped her.

“She has always had a really good front stretch. Her second 50 was what we were working on through the last week and making sure she wasn’t slowing down a whole bunch.”

Hoolahan, who has been a swimmer for 11 years, has reached the qualifying time in the 100 breast as well as the 200 IM for the WPIAL Class AAA meet that will take place in the last week of February at Pitt’s Trees Pool.

“It was a really good mark to leave at the end of the season. She should be proud of it,” Page said.

Last year, Hoolahan finished 25thin the 100 breast with a time of 1:10.11 and 26th in the 200 IM with a time of 2:18.09. Hoolahan is looking to finish with a time of 2:14 this year.

“My goal is to race my best times,” she said. “I want to push myself extra hard in the next couple of weeks before my time ends.”

Hoolahan, who also swims for the Rosdale Rockets, is still exploring her opportunities to swim at the collegiate level but will look to study nursing in college.

Junior Michael Lintelman has also qualified for the WPIAL meet in the 100 breast, 200 IM, 200 free and 500 free.

Last year, Lintelman finished 18thin the 100 breast with a time of 1:02.06.

Page is hopeful to have a couple more swimmers reach the qualifying standard in the final meets to join Hoolahan and Lintelman at the WPIAL meet.

Sophomore Kristen Sipple looks to qualify in the in the 50 free and 100 free, while junior Irene Bowsers looks to qualify in the 100 fly. The Indians will try to qualify their 200 medley girls relay team for the WPIAL meet as well.

“It would mean a lot because (getting) to bring my friends to WPIALs is the greatest experience there could be,” Hoolahan said.

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