South Fayette senior Duncan signs with Ohio swim team

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Thursday, January 2, 2020 | 5:42 PM


South Fayette senior Abbie Duncan signed a letter of intent to compete for the Ohio women’s swimming team next season.

Tom Donati, her coach with the Mt. Lebanon Aqua Club, said the Bobcats are getting a steal.

Donati said Duncan is one of the most talented swimmers he has coached in his 30-year career.

“She (only) has to keep working (on kicks) to get better,” he said.

Duncan, the WPIAL Class AAA runner-up in the 100-yard backstroke last season, said the Bobcats offer many positive things.

“The coaches have what it takes to help me and the rest of the team bring the MAC title back to (the) university,” she said. “The potential of the team is limitless.

“I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Ohio coach Mason Norman said Duncan will be a welcome addition to the backstroke group.

“She brings not only talent, but the character and work ethic we are building our program around,” Norman said.

Duncan, who plans to study education, said she considered Duquesne and Buffalo.

She would like to cap her high school career with a WPIAL individual title and a trip with the 200 medley relay team to states.

She also would like to make the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 100 backstroke.

Duncan was a double winner in the 100 backstroke in 1 minute, 00.97 seconds and 200 freestyle (2:00.71) in the West Allegheny Christmas/New Year Invitational on Dec. 27-28. She qualified for the WPIAL Class AAA championship in late February in both events.

She led the Lions, who are part of a cooperative sponsorship with Fort Cherry, to the title.

“The West Allegheny meet was a great motivator,” she said. “Our girls team has a good amount of depth.

“We have a big meet against Moon (on Jan. 9). We are excited to see what comes out of (that).”

Among contributors at the West Allegheny invitational were junior Lexi Ray, senior Hailey Poe, junior Morgan Young, sophomore Allie Whalen, sophomore Gabriella Baiano, freshman Carolyn Morelock and senior Mia Ely.

Whalen set a pool record in the 100 butterfly (1:01.20). Poe said she, Duncan, Ray and Young (1:55.63) are close to the school record in the 200 medley relay.

“It was a good test,” Lions coach Matt Tucker said. “I expect the girls and boys to keep getting faster.”

The boys placed third in the West Allegheny meet. Among top competitors were senior Niko Galioto, juniors Garrett Fincke, Kyle Lynch, Derek Freidet and Ryan Miller and freshman Mohammad Shedeed.

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