Penn Hills swimmer shakes off injury, picks up new event to qualify for WPIALs

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Sunday, February 28, 2021 | 9:01 AM


After suffering a knee injury in August, senior Michael Lintelman wasn’t sure if he was going to qualify for the WPIAL Class AAA swimming and diving championships in his final season.

However, after only starting to compete in the 200 IM in the last month, Lintelman qualified for the WPIAL meet after finishing with a time of 1:59.91. Lintelman will take part in the WPIAL meet the first weekend of March.

“I really wasn’t sure if I was going to make it this year. I made it in an event I didn’t think I would really make it in with the 200 IM,” Lintelman said. “My first time for this year was 2:13, while my lowest time was 1:59. I really brought it down. I didn’t think I would be able to go sub-two with the injury, but I still managed to do it.”

Last season, Lintelman finished in ninth place in the 200 IM at the WPIAL meet with a time of 1:59.19. Also, Lintelman finished 13th in the 500 free at WPIALs with a time of 4:50.78.

During his sophomore season, Lintelman finished 18th in the 100 breast with a time of 1:02.06.

Lintelman was part of the 200 free relay team that finished second with a time of 1:25.88 behind North Allegheny’s 1:22.92. The relay team included Kimani Gregory, Glenn Hanna and Tommy Natalia.

To start the season, Lintelman focused on the 500 free. However, he changed course when he posted a 2:02.4 in the 200 IM at the Franklin Regional meet in late January.

“It really gave me some hope there,” Lintelman said. “I don’t think it would’ve gotten me into WPIALs, so I had to bring that down. My breaststroke leg is still lacking, but I’ve managed to bring my backstroke down to overcompensate with that.”

Lintelman’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed by coach Nick Page.

“He has worked hard throughout the year especially early January was the first time he swam breaststroke after hurting his knee,” Page said. “It was great to see him get back up to speed in a short period of time.”

Lintelman, a Clarion recruit, was trying to keep a positive mindset as he was struggling with some of his swims.

“It has been rough with covid and with the injury I was dealing with,” Lintelman said. “I was trying my best to remain optimistic and take it one meet at a time. For a few meets there, I wasn’t swimming really well, but I tried to keep a positive mindset about it.”

Lintelman will get to focus on his one event at the WPIAL meet this season, which could be beneficial as some competitors might be swimming in multiple events throughout the day in a newly formatted meet due to covid-19 restrictions.

“I don’t think it has a real big effect on me since I’m really only swimming in one event,” Lintelman said. “That will make a big difference for everyone else since some kids are swimming two relays and two individuals in one session.”

Freshman Luke Hoolahan was scheduled to represent Penn Hills in the WPIAL Class AAA diving competition on Feb. 27 at North Allegheny. Hoolahan is the first Penn Hills diver to qualify for the WPIAL meet in four years.

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