Upperclassmen return to bolster Pine-Richland swim program

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Friday, December 14, 2018 | 8:03 PM


After a couple of years spent coaching Pine-Richland swimming teams that were heavy on underclassmen, coach Pete Barry is starting to see the fruits of his labor.

The Rams do not possess a senior-laden roster, but Barry said the team is returning more then a handful of talented upperclassmen while the program is seeing its numbers increase at the varsity level. Once again, that means plenty of competition for starting spots in different events.

“We have 18 swimmers on the guys side, including three divers that came out this year. It’s one of the biggest teams that we’ve had in a long time,” Barry said.

“There’s most definitely a lot of competition. We have solid leadership with the juniors and seniors, and then we have a new class of freshmen that are ramping it up and putting some pressure on the upperclassmen a little bit.”

On the boys side, seniors Jacob Garretson and Jonathon Kelly are set to lead the Rams. Garretson claimed a pair of top-20 finishes at the WPIAL Class AAA championships last season in the 200-yard freestyle (17th) and the 500 free (18th), and Kelly represented his team well in the 100 breast stroke (19th) and the 200 IM (26th).

In addition to the two experienced varsity swimmers, a couple of freshmen also are impressing their coach.

“Jacob and Jonathon are leading us pretty strongly. I think we’re going to have a couple of surprises, too, for some people,” Barry said.

“We have a nice freshman class coming in, being led by Trent Vacula and Ethan O’Connor. They’re both pretty much all-around guys, so I believe they’ll be battling it out in the 500 free this year. For their other events, it’s open right now because these guys are pretty versatile.”

For the girls, junior Alyssa Schonbachler returns to the pool for the Rams after notching solid finishes at the WPIAL Class AAA championships as a sophomore, taking 13th in the 200 IM and 21st in the 100 back. Barry said he will look to Schonbachler, senior captain Channing Lamparski and sophomore Abigail Flood for leadership.

“I believe Alyssa and Abigail will be leading the way. Also, our captain on the girls side, Channing Lamparski, we’re hoping to get some WPIAL individual cuts out of her this year,” Barry said.

“She worked very, very hard in the offseason and coming into this season, and I know she has high goals for herself and I believe she has put in the work to achieve them.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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