In-pool profile: Butler’s Bocci has sights set on WPIAL swimming gold

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Tuesday, February 2, 2021 | 10:27 PM


David Bocci played second fiddle in the 100-yard butterfly and 500 freestyle at last year’s WPIAL Class AAA championships at Pitt’s Trees Pool.

This year, the Butler senior hopes to lead the band as he goes for gold in his events.

“With being off so much in December and into January, the season has been cut short so much and we had to rush into these meets, but we picked up training really fast. It’s been going good,” Bocci said. “My teammates and I want to swim our hardest and get our best times each day and see what happens in the end. You never know what could happen from one day to the next. ”

Working through the ups and downs and stops and starts of a winter season like no other under the covid-19 umbrella, Bocci positioned himself for a strong run to WPIALs.

He broke the Butler pool record in the 200 individual medley (1 minute, 54.66 seconds) in a meet against Hampton on Jan. 27. That time is second in Class AAA behind only Seneca Valley junior Daniel Simoes for all meets through Saturday.

He also owns the top WPIAL time in the 100 fly (50.54), which also was set against Hampton.

“I’ve been posting better in-season times (in the 100 fly) than I have in any of my other three years,” Bocci said. “I felt really good with my swims (against Hampton). It was also senior night, so everyone was a little more amped up. The energy kept flowing throughout the meet.”

Bocci also helped set a relay record in the meet with Hampton as the boys 200 free relay posted a new school mark with a time of 1:28.75. The relay ranks second only to Seneca Valley (1:27.77).

“I’ve been going into our meets this season with a different perspective,” Bocci said.

Bocci, who has signed a letter of intent to swim in college at Division II Clarion, followed up last year’s WPIAL individual performances with a pair of solid swims at the PIAA championships at Bucknell University.

On the first day of competition, he earned a fifth-place medal in the 100 fly.

Bocci just missed a top-eight medal in the 500 free on the second day as he finished ninth in the preliminaries.

He would’ve come back for the consolation final in the evening session, but the PIAA canceled the consolation and championship finals as precautions started to be taken in the early stages of the pandemic.

His PIAA 500 time of 4:36.36 broke the school record held by the late Erik Namesnik, an Olympic silver medalist in the 400-meter individual medley in Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996).

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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