Penn Hills swimmers start fresh under new coach

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Thursday, December 12, 2019 | 5:07 PM


The Penn Hills swimming program has a fresh, new look this year.

A familiar last name isn’t on the roster for the first time in many years, and a new coach has taken over for the Indians.

Nick Page, a 2013 Penn Hills alum, will lead the team after Cheryl Ciorra retired after last season.

The Indians are looking to recover from the loss from many key senior swimmers, including standout Kimani Gregory, who’s now at North Carolina State.

Gregory captured the 100-yard butterfly and 100 freestyle titles at the WPIAL Class AAA championships last year.

The Indians also have to replace Glenn Hanna and Tommy Natalia, who were part of the 200 free relay that finished second at WPIALs with Gregory and junior Michael Lintelman, the only returning member of the relay.

The Indians roster includes 23 swimmers with only six on the boys team, headlined by Lintelman.

Lintelman has already posted qualifying times for the WPIAL meet in the 200 IM, 200 free, 500 free and 100 breast.

Last year, he finished 18th in the 100 breast with a time of 1 minute, 2.06 seconds.

“Especially with a small team, it’s very important to focus on personal growth and not worry too much about the team result. It comes down to finding your process and trusting that you’re going to stick to it,” Page said.

Senior Colleen Hoolahan headlines the girls team. She is aiming to qualify for the WPIAL meet in the 200 IM, 100 breast and 200 free. In her first year diving, Hoolahan looks to meet the qualifying mark, as well.

Last year, she finished 25th in the 100 breast (1:10.11) and 26th in the 200 IM (2:18.09).

Sophomore Kristen Sipple (50 free, 100 free) and juniors Irene Bowser (100 fly) and Abby Umscheid (diving) also will be key contributors for the girls team.

The Indians might have some other younger swimmers qualify individually for WPIALs later in the season as well as some relay teams.

Penn Hills is looking to replace Emma Lintelman, who was part of the 200 free relay team that qualified for the WPIAL meet with Sipple, Bowser and Hoolahan. The group finished 20th with a time 1:44.38 last season.

Page has familiarity with some of the swimmers on the team since he has been a coach the last two years at the Rosedale Beach Club. Page also is an assistant coach with the Monroeville Marlins.

“Knowing what to expect out of me is really important because they know how I view the results. I’m more of a day-to-day results person. You want to do better than you did yesterday,” Page said.

“I’m noticing a lot of nerves are coming into play when they are swimming next to people they know are good, rather than just racing whoever is on the other side. I want to get them to where you’re not worrying about the person next to you, you’re just worrying about yourself and your time. Each time is a chance to do better than the last time.”

The girls and boys teams won their season-opening meet against McKeesport, but they fell short against Hampton.

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