Meadville Tribune


January 13, 2014

High school swimming & diving: Individuals shine despite team losses to McDowell

MEADVILLE — It has been a bit of an awkward start to the season for the Meadville Bulldogs swim team.

The Bulldogs opened their season on Dec. 12 with a Region 3 meet against Mercyhurst Prep. Then chaos ensued.

Meadville’s meet with Central Tech on Dec. 16 was postponed due to poor weather. Three days later, the Bulldogs traveled to Strong Vincent where its meet with the Colonels and East was stopped abruptly due to unsanitary conditions in the pool.

The Bulldogs’ next scheduled meet on Jan. 6 against Warren, too, was postponed due to weather.

Needless to say, Meadville was a bit anxious to get back in the pool on Monday against powerhouse McDowell at the Meadville Area Recreation Complex’s George J. Barco Aquatic Center. And, overall, the layoff didn’t appear to be too costly.

McDowell did dominate the team scores. The Trojans won the boys meet 136-47 and the girls meet 118-62. Meadville, however,  came away grinning at their individual accomplishments, which included a pair of wins by Mackenzie Webber and the first win of freshman Nick Sternby’s career.

“It felt good,” said Meadville junior Evan Weston, who also had a nice night, finishing second in the 100 yard freestyle with a time of 59.92. “It’s been awhile since we’ve had a competition. So it just felt good to get back in the swing of things.”

Though the Bulldogs haven’t been in a meet in some time, head coach Pete Coppelli has kept his team focused throughout with rigorous practices he self described as “maybe more difficult than a meet.”

“Our practices are geared to training them to compete,” Coppelli said. “So I don’t think they ever feel they aren’t close to competing on any given day really. Already we’re doing substantial race pace sets where the overall set really does simulate the fatigue of going in there and competing.”

Some of the swimmers actually preferred the break. Well, a little.

“It’s sometimes better,” Nick Sternby said. “It gives you more practice time.”

Webber gave the Bulldogs their first win of the night in the 50 yard freestyle where she finished with a time of 25.29. McDowell’s Jessica Cauley was second (25.61) and Heather Sternby was third with a time of 25.85.

Sternby, the defending District 10 champion in the 100 butterfly, out-touched teammate Maggie Murphree at the wall for first place in that event with a time of 1:04.42. Murphree finished in 1:05.83.

Webber added another win in the 100 backstroke (1:06.73), beating McDowell’s Jenna DiPlacido by nearly seven seconds.

Nick Sternby gave the Bulldogs the sweep in the backstroke with his first varsity win. Sternby hit the wall in 1:03.78. McDowell’s Alan Andrezeski was second in 1:05.97.

“They are really good competition,” Webber said of McDowell. “We need to work our way up. It was exciting to see where we stand.”

The Meadville boys and girls fell to 0-2 overall and in Region 3 with the losses to McDowell. Meadville’s meet with Warren has been rescheduled for Jan. 20. The Central meet will take place on Feb. 17.

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