Shaler swimming gets creative to navigate unusual season

Sunday, January 17, 2021 | 9:01 AM

There was no perfect way for the Shaler swim team to restart its season following the state-mandated three-week layoff for covid-19 precautions.

But having a meet on the road against Chartiers Valley on Jan. 13 gave Titans coach Abi May a good way to ease back into competition.

The Colts’ boys team only had three swimmers, so May got creative to challenge her team.

“I swam swimmers in their off events because I knew the competition wasn’t going to be as intense,” May said. “It gave swimmers an opportunity to prove themselves in other events.”

Shaler held time trials to get a gauge for where it was as a program before the shutdown. The WPIAL has set the times to qualify for the Class AAA meet at a faster time than in previous years due to covid gathering limitations.

The WPIAL hopes to expand to include more swimmers if the restrictions ease. May believes the district is handling things the right way.

“I didn’t have a pre-thought,” said May about when she saw the qualifying times. “I knew they were going to be quick. I truly think what they are doing is right. I would rather have kids not make it first, but get a chance when they expand it.”

During the break, May said the team was focused on doing workouts outside of the pool to stay in shape. Like many of Shaler’s other programs, they were all together on video meetings so everyone could work out together.

“We hosted different cardio and core workouts,” May said. “Three days a week, we went onto Google Meet and did workouts with them. We wanted them to keep up their cardio and core work.”

Despite the layoff, May believes Shaler will be in position to have athletes qualify for the WPIAL championships.

The Titans count on seeing times drop when they get into full competition.

“It’s still pretty early, but our kids are on track,” May said. “Now with the new WPIAL standards, some of our kids are more nervous about it. But we’ve been impressed with their times and things are coming together.”


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