Dates for WPIAL swimming championships finalized

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Wednesday, February 3, 2021 | 7:43 PM


The WPIAL swimming steering committee met Wednesday afternoon and made some highly anticipated decisions regarding the Class AA and Class AAA championship meets.

The Class AA meet will be held in its entirety Saturday, March 6, with the Class AAA meet to follow March 7.

All decisions rendered, committee chairman Jamie Morton said, will go through the WPIAL board for final approval.

Because of covid capacity limits, Morton said the championships will not be held at Pitt’s Trees Pool.

The new location, Morton said, has been determined but was not released Wednesday pending further discussion with site officials to make sure they are able to meet WPIAL requirements.

“But we don’t anticipate a problem with that,” Morton said. “We anticipate being able to release the location in the next couple of days. We just have to make sure.”

For each day’s competition, there will be a girls session and a boys session with all 11 events being run to completion.

“We’re going to mirror the format of the PIAA,” Morton said. “It is running a two-day program with four sessions.”

WPIALs will remain timed finals, and the top eight finishers will earn medals.

The Class AA girls will be the first session in the morning of March 6, and after a break, the Class AA boys will run in the afternoon into the evening. That format will hold for the Class AAA meets March 7.

“We will do an entire meet in one session, and do that four times,” Morton said.

Morton said there was discussion about the potential for some swimmers to compete four times in one session.

“We were kind of limited in the time that we have, but we feel there will be some time built into the overall timeline where we feel we will be able to give them adequate rest,” Morton said. “We used to run this meet in its entirety for years. We went to two-session meets probably about 15 years ago. Prior to that, a meet was always in a single day.

“Also, since we are running the same format as the state meet, the kids who do advance will have this practice experience, if you will, to prepare them for what they will see at states.”

The PIAA championships in December set the number of qualifiers for each swim event to 16 (two heats).

Last week, the PIAA board voted to move the state swimming and diving meet from Bucknell University to Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg because of covid-19 gathering limits. With no spectators permitted, diving will be March 13, and swimming will be over two days, March 19-20.

In terms of qualifiers for the WPIAL meets, Morton said there will be 16 in each individual event spread out over two heats and 12 relays spread out over three heats.

Those individual swimmers and relays who have met an automatic qualifying standard will be joined by secondary time qualifiers until they reach the full allotment for each event.

If in a particular event there are more than 12 or 16 automatic qualifiers entered, all of those entries will be accepted, and the heats will be altered.

Morton said that while changes to the swim championships were made, the WPIAL diving meets remain as scheduled with North Allegheny hosting Class AA on Feb. 26 and Class AAA on Feb. 27.

“We’re happy we’re able to have a season and happy we can have championship meets for the kids,” Morton said. “Once we get down there and the kids get rolling, I’m sure it will be awesome like it always is. No matter what the challenges are that are thrown at them, the kids always rise to meet and exceed expectations. It’s fun to watch, and I expect this year to be no different.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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