New coach ready to guide Quaker Valley swim team

Saturday, December 8, 2018 | 1:18 AM

The Quaker Valley boys and girls swimming teams have a new coach for the third consecutive season.

Alexis Glenn, a former Quakers swimmer, took over for Erin Cawley.

Glenn is optimistic about her old team, which has been overshadowed by the boys in recent seasons.

“We have a lot of talent returning, but we also have several new swimmers I’m excited to work with,” said Glenn, a 2014 WPIAL Class AA silver medalist in the 200-yard medley relay who went on to shine for Washington & Jefferson. “The older swimmers have already taken the initiative and started working with the new kids.”

The Quakers lost their top returning swimmer after junior Sophie Besterman decided to play basketball.

Besterman finished ninth in the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke and seventh in the 200 freestyle relay in the WPIAL championship meet.

Returning to the 200 freestyle relay are sophomore Halle Wagner and senior Martha Pangburn. Wagner competed in four events, including two individually.

Senior Erin Glas and sophomore Lydia Callaghan were in a relay.

Pangburn said Glenn has been a role model.

“I remember looking up to Coach Glenn when I was a young swimmer on the YMCA team, and she was a swimmer on the high school team,” Pangburn said. “I had always aspired to be as hardworking as she was.

“This year will be very positive because Coach Glenn has had experience with the Quaker Valley team. After having had four different coaches all four years of my high school swimming career, I know this year will turn out well.”

Glas said it has been difficult having a new coach every year.

“It will help with Coach Alexis being a recent Quaker Valley graduate,” Glas said. “She will be good at relating to us and our lives here in Sewickley.”

The boys team, the WPIAL runner-up last season, is smaller than usual but powerful.

Senior Andres Hubsch returns after placing second in the WPIAL and seventh as a PIAA “A” finalist in the 100 backstroke.

Hubsch was fourth in the 100 butterfly and the 200 medley relay and third in the 400 freestyle relay in the WPIAL. He made the PIAA “B” finals in all three.

Senior Kieran Ragoowansi returns to a relay that placed in the top 16 at states.

Sophomore Simon Iwanonkiw, who placed fifth in the WPIAL and made the PIAA semifinals in 1-meter diving, is also back.

“I have high hopes for the team at WPIALs and beyond,” Glenn said.

The boys were WPIAL champions from 2015 to 2017. They were PIAA champion in 2015.

Both squads, part of a cooperative sponsorship with Sewickley Academy, kick off the season Thursday at home in Section 2-AA action against Beaver Falls.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.


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