Plum swim teams adopt different approaches at start of season

Saturday, December 7, 2019 | 10:25 AM

The Plum swimming teams go into the season Dec. 9 at home against Penn-Trafford from opposite directions.

The boys field one of their smallest squads, and the girls enjoyed a boost in numbers, Mustangs coach Shawn Haupt said.

Among the losses on the boys side was Justin Decheck, who placed sixth in the 200-yard freestyle and 100 butterfly in the WPIAL Class AAA championship meet last season. Decheck is a freshman at Gannon.

Haupt remains optimistic.

“I am still expecting another winning season with at least five WPIAL qualifiers,” Haupt said.

Senior Joey Decheck (Justin’s brother) returns after anchoring the 400 freestyle relay team that placed seventh in the WPIAL.

“After coming off of one of the best years Plum (swimming) has had, it’s hard to back that up,” Joey Decheck said.

Decheck said he wants to help the relay break a school record, which it narrowly missed last season. Juniors Jordan Rogers and Aaron Frederick are back.

Senior Christian Jones is excited about the season.

“I want the team to feel connected past the level of teammates and more as friends,” he said.

The Mustangs finished 16th in last season’s WPIAL team rankings.

The girls lost two key performers in Devan Taylor and Alexis Smith but are deeper than usual, Haupt said.

Taylor, a James Madison freshman, came in fifth in the 50 freestyle and sixth in the 100 breaststroke in the WPIAL.

Senior Delanee White and sophomore Elizabeth Glasspool return from the 200 medley relay team that placed eighth.

“We gained a bunch of freshman girls,” White said. “It would be a great goal to see more individual qualifiers for WPIALs.”

Senior Molly Giles said the wide range of talent will make for strong lineups in dual meets.

“Our goal is to improve on last year’s winning season, as well as qualify for the WPIAL championships in each relay,” Giles said.

Nina Ricciuti is a talented freshman, whom Haupt said he plans to push in both the water and the weight room.

Senior Cara Gettings said she wants everyone to feel included, whether they have been swimming all their lives or just starting.

“I expect the girls to treat each other with respect,” she said.

The Mustangs placed 14th in the WPIAL last season.

Both squads kick off Section 3-AAA action Jan. 2 at Fox Chapel.


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