Hampton girls swimmers look to benefit from newfound depth
By: Devon Moore
Wednesday, November 21, 2018 | 10:57 PM
The Hampton girls swim team hopes an improved batch of underclassmen can help earn it some points in dual meets this season.
Coach Morgan Zweygardt has plenty of young talent. Though those individuals may not be ready to compete at the highest level, the skill is across the board, and that’s what excites her most.
“We just have a ton of freshmen coming in that have swum before,” she said. “Even if they don’t make WPIALs, they’re going to be a huge impact on the team in dual meets because we’re getting more depth.”
Helping to move that depth along will be seniors Lia Appel and Ava Retsch. Appel is a four-time WPIAL qualifier in multiple events.
“I’m excited to see how the younger swimmers are doing,” Appel said.
“When I was a freshman, I remember being super nervous and was always looking up to the underclassmen. Now that I’m a senior, I’m looking forward to being able to watch them improve.”
Retsch has also been a big part of the leadership contingent.
“She’s basically teen mom,” Zweygardt said. “She’s encouraging. She’s the one anyone can talk to if they need anything. She just wants to make sure everyone is comfortable.”
Sophomore Catie Kress isn’t comfortable with how her rookie season ended and is looking for more. At WPIALs, she finished 17th in the 200-yard freestyle and 12th in the 500 freestyle.
“She had an awesome freshman year,” Zweygardt said. “She’s got her feeling for dual meets and everything now. I’m excited about her. It’s taking everything we’ve done and pushing it a little farther.”
Junior WPIAL qualifiers that will look to make an impact are Lydia Quaglia, Emily Berkebile and Rosy Oh, all of whom participated in WPIALs for relays. The top relay team from last year, the 400 freestyle, featured Appel, Oh, Berkebile and Kress, and finished 17th at WPIALs.
Likewise, Oh qualified in the 200 IM and the 100 freestyle, and has received glowing reviews from both coach and teammates alike.
“(She) has always caught my attention with the positive vibes she brings to practice and meets,” Appel said.
“I could honestly learn a couple things from Rosy on how to be more optimistic. Next year, she will absolutely be helping to lead the team.”
Sophomore Keira Lang is one to watch after committing to swimming year-round after a solid freshman year.
“She’s improved and will continue to improve,” Zweygardt said. “Because she’s stayed in shape, we’re able to train harder.”
Two freshman to watch are Danielle Sutterlin and Belle Donato.
“(Belle) is going to be helpful on some relays,” Zweygardt said. “I’m excited to see how she handles the rigors of a high school schedule.”
Devon Moore is a freelance writer.