Trib HSSN Girls Swimmer of the Week: North Allegheny’s Olivia Kisow

Friday, February 7, 2020 | 5:38 PM

In her four events at last year’s WPIAL Class AAA championship meet at Pitt’s Trees Pool, Olivia Kisow stood on the medals podium after each one.

Swimming the breaststroke leg, she helped the North Allegheny 200-yard medley relay earn a runner-up finish, and she swam the third leg in the third-place 200 free relay.

She also took third individually in the 200 free and fourth in the 500 free, and the points earned from those finishes helped the Tigers win their 11th straight Class AAA team championship.

Now, as a junior, Kisow has bigger individual and relay goals to accomplish, and she’s positioned herself to be a major factor at WPIALs three weeks from now.

“The biggest thing is that she’s become a good all-around swimmer for us,” said North Allegheny coach Patrick Wenzel , who saw Kisow go on to states at Bucknell and help the 200 free relay place seventh and record a 13th in the 200 free.

“All of her strokes have made a lot of improvement over the past year and she continues to be a very valuable part of what we want to do as a team. She doesn’t have any weaknesses.”

Kisow ranks highly in the 200 and 500 freestyles and the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke on the WPIAL performance lists at

“We’ve put her in the breaststroke when we’ve needed a big swim out of that,” Wenzel said. “We can put her in the distance events where she’s most comfortable.”

Wenzel said Kisow’s first-day individual swim at WPIALs could be the 200 free like last year or a switch to the 200 IM. On the second day, things are more concrete as she will more than likely test her mettle again in the 500 and race teammate and defending WPIAL champion Molly Smyers.

“Olivia has been spectacular in the 500,” Wenzel said. “She’s one of the best pacers that I’ve ever coached. It creates a matchup of two of the top distance swimmers in the area. They will have some good people to race in the 500 like (2010 third place) Sophia Schlichting from Upper St. Clair and others. That should be a fun event this year.

“It’s always great when you have two kids like Molly and Olivia who can push each other to hit paces that they didn’t think they were capable of in practice. That’s where you can put yourself in good position at the end of the season.”

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at


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