Shaler swimmers aim to improve this season

Saturday, November 18, 2017 | 11:00 PM

The Shaler swimming program won't rely on a sudden infusion of talent to lead its program this season.

With several WPIAL qualifiers returning, the Titans will be relying on experienced swimmers from the program to come back and make an impact.

Shaler will open its schedule by hosting Penn Hills on Dec. 8. The Titans' first Section 2-AAA meet will be Jan. 4 against North Allegheny.

“I believe because of the caliber of the boys we have, freshman-wise and with the ones we have returning, our boys have an opportunity to get even better over the course of the season,” coach Keith Simmons said. “I'm not going to look too far down the road, but I think they can do well.

“We want to increase the number of individual guys who qualify.”

The Titans lost their lone PIAA qualifier, Emily Schaefer, to graduation. The Shaler girls team finished 28th at WPIALs last season with 16 points.

Schaefer knocked down a number of program barriers last season, becoming the first Titan female swimmer to earn qualifying attempts in all 11 events.

Not that the cupboard is bare for the Shaler girls. Sophomore Jenna Stanton qualified for WPIALs in the 50 free, 100 fly and 100 back. Fellow sophomore Olivia Dibon was a key contributor on relays, and Marlie King will compete in diving and swimming events.

Shaler, which hadn't had a female diver in two seasons, will have two this season. The Titans have four seniors and three juniors on the girls' side.

“I think Stanton may be able to make six WPIAL cuts this year,” Simmons said. “Due to the number of senior girls we lost, it's going to be tough to get the relays there. … The two sophomore girls have been the most visible at the practices in the conditioning stage. They've been swimming times that are close or near what they did last year. There's a lot of room for improvement.”

On the guys' side, Shaler will be looking to make a serious impact. Stephen Adametz, Kevin Chalmers, Jack Wiemann and Eddie Sheets were major contributors on relays last season.

“I think the boys can get off to a good start,” Simmons said. “We have a schedule that is going to be conducive to getting off to a good start. We don't have depth, but we have the numbers to be competitive.”

Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.

click me