Shaler Area swimmers complete chaotic but successful season

Cate Gordon

The Shaler Area swim team ended its season with an impressive record from both the boys and girls. The boys’ section record was 3-1 and their overall finish was 6-2. Similarly, the girls produced a 2-2 section record and ended with a 5-3 overall.

The team faced many challenging opponents this season, but the most intense meet was against Franklin Regional. The biggest challenge with that meet was the COVID shutdown that occurred shortly before the day of the meet. The Titans did not come away with the victory, but they showed a lot of strength against a tough opponent.

With COVID-19 delays and cancellations, it was hard for the team to find time to practice and compete. Fortunately the team’s dedication and optimism was able to overcome these challenges.

“The times in which our district was shut down was the hardest since we had to forfeit meets and weren’t able to practice, but again the team remained positive and we were able to finish the season with one last meet to showcase the hard work that was put in all season,” head coach Ms. Abi May said.

The successful season put the team in a good place heading into WPIALS. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only the top 16 individuals and the top 12 relay teams advanced to WPIALS regardless of how many swimmers met the time needed to qualify. For many swimmers this was disappointing, but senior Lydia Nebiolo was able to persevere through these challenges and represent Shaler in the WPIALS.

This was her fourth year in a row qualifying for the WPIAL championships. She participated in two events: the 200 freestyle and 100 freestyle. Originally she was ranked 13th in the 200 freestyle and was able to move up to 11th place. Similarly, in the 100 freestyle she was ranked 16th and placed 13th by the end of the championship.

“It was an amazing experience. I was lucky and qualified in two events, and I moved up in the rankings in both events. While my times did not improve, it was still an honor to represent Shaler at the WPIAL championships for the 4th time in a row,” Nebiolo said.

The most memorable part of the season was the final match against Pine Richland which was also the team’s senior night.

“It was all around an exciting meet because everyone was giving it their last chance to solidify a qualification for WPIALS,” May said.

Nebiolo appreciated the hard work that was put into the meet to make it such a special night for all of the seniors.

“Being able to have that special recognition for all of the seniors was amazing, and it was all thanks to the dedication of our underclassmen, coaches, and parents,” Nebiolo said.