Hall of Fame induction ‘means a lot’ to Pine-Richland swimming standout

Saturday, July 8, 2023 | 8:01 AM

Kristen Murslack kept a busy schedule in her high school years at Pine-Richland.

Her day typically started with swim practice in the morning prior to going to school. After school, there was a soccer practice or game or another swim practice before carving out time to do some homework.

It was that work ethic that laid the foundation for Murslack becoming a five-time WPIAL swimming champion and a state champion before having a college swimming career at Auburn.

Now she’ll forever be enshrined at her alma mater.

Murslack is one of the inductees in the 2023 Pine-Richland Athletic Hall of Fame class.

“It means a lot to me,” Murslack said. “The community as a whole has been a part of my entire life. One of the best things to happened to me was getting a really good education from Pine-Richland. Being able to represent the school on the swimming side and soccer side were some of the best years of my life.”

Murslack, a 2013 Pine-Richland grad, will be honored with fellow inductees Michael Buterbaugh, Bill Colpo, Matthew Crummy, Kevin McCabe and the 1960 Richland football team during a pregame ceremony prior to the Oct. 6 Pine-Richland football game against Central Catholic. The banquet celebration will be held at 6 p.m. the next day in the Pine-Richland cafeteria.

Murslack enjoyed soccer and swimming, so she found a way to make her schedule work. She even played cup soccer and had club swimming to go along with her high school activities.

She admitted she sacrificed a lot of time to her sports and maybe lost some friends after turning down invitations to social events due to her extensive schedule, but it was all worth it.

“There were some long days, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Murslack said. “It was crazy to do both sports, but I was lucky enough to have very supportive coaches and parents.”

Murlsack won a state title in the 100 breaststroke. She credited her coach, Pete Barry, with guiding her to becoming a gold medalist swimmer.

“He gave me some tough love in moments in my life where I needed it, but I did need it,” Murslack said. “We had a really good bond. It was a lot of long hours in the pool. There were days I didn’t want to be there but did it anyway. That’s sports for you. You’re going to love it some days and hate it others, but you have to keep your head down and keep moving. I owe a lot to Pete Barry.”

She admitted she had never heard of Auburn prior to her recruitment, but after taking a couple visits, found that it was the right school.

She swam all four years at Auburn and competed in the SEC Championships her senior year.

“I knew after meeting the team and the coaches it was the right fit for me,” Murslack said. “It was far from home, which was a little scary at first, but I made friendships that will last a lifetime. I’ve been in weddings and even been at the hospital for some births of children. It was awesome to make so many friends from all over the country.”

Following graduation, Murslack got her coaching career started, which naturally happened at Pine-Richland. She spent a year coaching the Rams swim team with Barry before returning to Auburn for grad school. On the final day of grad school, she received a call from her former coach at Auburn, John Hargis, who had moved on to Pitt, about potentially becoming an assistant with the Panthers swim team. She interviewed, got the job and spent two seasons at Pitt before taking an assistant job at Florida.

Murslack is in her third season with the Gators. Getting to coach allows her to apply the lessons she learned at Pine-Richland and pass them on to the next generation.

“It’s been a crazy five or six years, but I love it,” Murslack said. “I feel like I have the best job in the world. The coolest part of my job is getting to have an impact on these kids. Pete taught me everything I really needed to know at that time and then some. I really enjoy coaching and see myself doing this for a long time.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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