Penn Hills swimmers alter training for unique season

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Sunday, December 6, 2020 | 10:16 AM


The Penn Hills swim team returns one WPIAL qualifier this season, and a couple of others are seeing an opportunity to qualify.

Senior Michael Lintelman is looking to improve on a top-10 finish in the 200-yard individual medley at the WPIAL Class 3A championships last season.

At WPIALs, Lintelman finished ninth in the 200 IM with a time of 1 minute, 59.19 seconds.

He also hopes to drop time in the 500 freestyle after he finished 13th at WPIALs with a time of 4:50.78.

With the pandemic, the Indians have altered the layout of their practices, which has created a more competitive environment in the pool.

“With covid, they get locked into lanes where they stay in the same lane for the whole season,” coach Nick Page said. “It gives them a person to work with. You have the same two or three people in your lane. You have a benchmark, and you have someone behind you pushing.”

The Indians, who have 13 girls and four boys on their roster, also return junior Kristen Sipple and senior Irene Bowser. Page believes both have an opportunity to qualify for WPIALs. Sipple will compete in the 50 and 100 freestyle events, and Bowser will try to qualify in the 100 butterfly.

Page will try to replace the loss of WPIAL qualifier Colleen Hoolahan to graduation. She finished 10th in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:07.97, just behind Mt. Lebanon’s Meredith Reese and North Allegheny’s Isabella Dietz (1:07.68).

Also at WPIALs, Hoolahan finished 27th in the 200 IM in 2:20.57.

“Colleen was the glue. She was really good at bringing the team together and a big voice on the team,” Page said.

The Indians will have a pair of divers in senior Abby Umscheid and freshman Luke Hoolahan who will have a chance to qualify for WPIALs, which would snap a four-year drought.

The coaching staff believes Luke Hoolahan will one day qualify for WPIALs in the 100 fly but will have a better chance to advance as a diver in his first year.

“He’s amazing. You tell him to do something, and he just does it,” diving coach Maureen Scuro said.

“He’s a good swimmer, but to start off with diving, he’s already where some people take until the second year. He has only been doing it for two weeks now.”

Scuro has been appreciative of how Umscheid has displayed her veteran leadership to the rest of the team.

“She is bringing a lot of her expertise this year,” Scuro said. “As a senior, she’s helping out explain things. She shows her years on what to do to help out. It would be great for her to make WPIALs this year. She gets close but never has made it.”

In the end, Scuro believes the pair of divers just need to keep it simple when executing their dives.

“They need to keep putting in the time, keeping their form and keeping their heads together when they’re diving,” Scuro said.

The Indians are scheduled to start their season at 6 p.m. Dec. 11 at home against Latrobe.

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