Girls’ improvement at WPIAL swimming championships gives hope for future

Thursday, March 5, 2020 | 5:27 PM

With Hampton boys swimming making waves in its last season in Class AAA, the girls were determined to start laying the foundation for a solid future.

“They all improved,” coach Morgan Zweygardt said. “When the boys do so well, it can overshadow what the girls have done. I don’t think that should be the case. Every single one of these girls, even if they didn’t post best time at WPIALs, they improved over the season.”

Chief among those was sophomore Belle Donato, who finished 22nd in the 100-yard backstroke (1 minute, 1.45 seconds). She also competed in the 200 medley and 200 free relays.

Senior captain Rosy Oh, who competed in the 200 and 400 free relays (22nd and 19th, respectively), was proud of how the team competed.

“Our team atmosphere doesn’t revolve around what place we get,” Oh said. “We were all cheering for each other. All the captains were trying to push for positivity. Everyone was happy about the races regardless of how well they did.”

The 200 medley relay, which consisted of Donato, Catie Kress, Lydia Quaglia and Julia Adamczyk, finished best out of all Hampton girls relay teams at 18th (1:56.54).

The boys finished third at WPIALs, sending five swimmers to states. The girls fed off their energy and cheered them on.

“It feels like one whole team, not the boys and the girls,” Oh said. “Anytime anyone does well, it encourages the team. It boosts morale. Having all of the boys go out there, set best times, place and qualify for states, it pushed us to work harder and be better. The boys were also really encouraging for us. Having them there and do so well was a boost.”

Freshman Rita Khoury led off the 400 freestyle relay with her best time (56.86).

“There’s a ton of room to grow,” Zweygardt said. “It’s a young team. They want to get better. I think there’s that initial nervousness going into WPIALs for the first time. But they all rose to the occasion. This year, we were just trying to get a WPIAL cut. That is a great accomplishment.”

Oh won’t be swimming in college, but she is considering Notre Dame for academics. She sees a bright future for the program.

“I think for the girls, it’s going to open up a lot of opportunities,” she said. “I think it can definitely encourage the girls and push them to be better.”


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