Shaler’s Owczarzak dives into WPIAL championship meet

Sunday, February 4, 2018 | 11:00 PM

Shaler junior diver Josh Owczarzak had little experience before this season. That's what made Keith Simmons so excited when he hit the WPIAL qualifying standard last week at Hampton.

The Titans hosted the Talbots in a meet they won 92-86. But for Owczarzak to qualify, he had to go Hampton to qualify because Shaler does not have a diving board.

“What's so funny about that is when we went to Blackhawk earlier in the season, Josh scored above 200, but he was .5 below the degree of difficulty,” Simmons said. “When we had a meet against Hampton, we asked the judges to go over to Hampton and judge the diving first. They were willing to do that, and he qualified.”

Simmons, who doesn't get to talk to Owczarzak much because of him practicing at Hampton, has been impressed with how he has taken to the sport.

“I've seen him do some impressive things on the pool deck,” Simmons said. “There was one time he did a back somersault.”

Owczarzak is one of many Shaler athletes who recently hit WPIAL qualifying standards. Stephen Adametz also qualified for the 100-yard butterfly.

Adametz also helped the Titans qualify in the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay. Justin Adametz, Jack Wiemann, Eddie Sheets and Kevin Chalmers also are members of the 200 medley relay.

Peter Lesnett, Sheets and the Adametz brothers were part of the 400 free relay.

Simmons can feel the sense of urgency.

“There's been more determination and practice, and they know we are almost at the end,” Simmons said. “We have four meets left, plus a last chance meet. They are putting in the extra work and effort to make those cuts.”

On the girls side, freshman Lydia Nebiolo hit a qualifying time in the 200 free. Jenna Stanton has qualified in three events, the 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly.

Simmons over the last few weeks Shaler will be able to get a few more athletes through.

“The ones we hit were ones we thought we could get and should get,” Simmons said. “We have a couple other kids that are a few tenths of a second off in other events.”

Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.


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