Hampton boys swim team eyes record-breaking season

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Thursday, January 16, 2020 | 7:42 PM


The Hampton boys swim team is enjoying perhaps its strongest season in recent memory, which could translate to a banner year at WPIALs at North Allegheny in February.

The team sits at 4-1, with its only loss being to perennial power North Allegheny. It knocked off Fox Chapel for the first time in head coach Morgan Zweygardt’s five-year tenure as coach and will look to finish strong in its last year before moving down a class to AA.

“They are doing really well,” Zweygardt said. “I know they boys were pretty psyched about beating Fox Chapel. That’s a big one. They’ve never done that before.”

The 400 freestyle and 400 medley relays are on track to make a podium run at the WPIAL meet. Both teams are posting entry times faster than last year’s teams that came close to making states.

“All our boys are fantastic and I love them,” said senior captain Drew Scheib. “They’ve been working hard. I’m ready to do some good stuff. I know we’re hoping to break a record or two. I know we can, so hopefully we’ll get a record and make it to states.”

Scheib, a two-time state qualifier last year who committed to swim at Rochester Institute of Technology, has a problem with individual events. But it’s a good problem — figuring out which event he’s going to go after this year. He’s expected to place again in the 100 fly, but his second event is up in the air.

“I know I have potential in multiple strokes in multiple events,” said Scheib. “It’s really about who is in that competition and in the event I could do better in. It’s a balancing act.”

Fellow senior Matt Belch has made a major push to become another individual headed to states. He qualified for the freestyle in all four events and posted his best time in two of them.

“It’s probably a little bit of a growth spurt,” said Zweygardt. “The way I coach is I try to add more as we go, and he started lifting weights last year. I think that has a huge impact to help keep him improving.”

Sophomore Will Restch has shown growth and maturity in the pool from last year and should make a bigger impact at WPIALs this year. He has qualified in the 200 individual medley, 100 backstroke and 100 fly thus far, with more events likely to follow.

“He’s faster with his time than he was last year,” said Zweygardt. “You can see when he swims, he’s thinking of the walls more, his underwaters. He’s not just thinking about going fast, but the little things that are going to help him. He’s on the right path.”

Junior Richie Donato also qualified in the 100 medley and 100 breaststroke, and freshman Ben Sheets is close, according to Zweygardt.

In addition to qualifying in the 100 breaststroke, junior Ethan Apaliski broke his own school record on the diving board with a score of 227 against North Allegheny. Freshman Koda Carslaw also showed promise by qualifying for the WPIAL diving championships in his first meet.

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