Damich, SF girls star in AA swimming

Published Feb 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm (Updated Feb 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm)

Chartiers Valley’s Drew Damich cruised to victory in the 200-yard freestyle event and the South Fayette girls, thanks to their dominance in the relay races, dominated the first day of competition during the WPIAL Class AA swimming championships held at the University of Pittsburgh’s Trees Pool.

A sophomore, Damich won the 200 free going away with a 1:43.30 time, a full 2.2 seconds ahead of his competition.

“I did what I wanted to do,” said Damich. “I wanted to take it out fast and hold everybody off.”

Since he was 6, Damich has been holding off the competition. Last year as a freshman, he finished ninth in the race with a 1:45 but that was at the Class AAA level. This winter, the Colts are competing in Class AA.

“There’s still a lot of good competition,” explained Damich.

In addition to training with his high school team, Damich gets a good dose of competition while swimming for the Mt. Lebanon Aqua Club.

In practice, he does plenty of yardage as he is also entered in tomorrow’s 500-yard freestyle race. While “good” at both distances, Damich says he prefers the race in which he took the gold medal today.

“I like the 200 better. It’s shorter,” he said simply.

Shorter still was the distance Damich covered in staking the Colts to a second-place showing in the 200-yard freestyle relay, which featured Michael Schmidt, Joshua Rosato and Paul Novelli.

Damich swam a 20.93 on the final leg and almost caught Shady Side Academy, which won the race by a scant .2 with a 1:30.24 time.

“I tried to catch him but I couldn’t get him at the end,” Damich said. “But it’s exciting. Relays are fun.”

The Lady Lions would agree. See, Mary Rosati, Morgan Fink, Maddie Bartrug and Tiana Marrese combined to win the 200-yard medley relay. The South Fayette foursome clocked in with a 1:49.07, a full two seconds ahead of second-place Indiana.

The victory helped the Lady Lions open up a 157-123 lead over Indiana in the team standings after the first day of action. The WPIAL swimming championships conclude Friday, March 1 beginning at 10 a.m. at Pitt.

Though Indiana closed out the meet with the momentum, winning the 200 free relay, the team of Sophia Hestad, Sydney Briner, Corrine Loeffler and Marrese finished fourth to add 30 points to South Fayette’s lead.

Individually, Fink finished fourth in the 200 free; Bartrug, fifth, 50 free;

Marrese, seventh, 50 free;, sixth, 200 IM; and Rosati, second 200 individual medley. Rosati lost by the narrowest margin, one-tenth of a second. Her time was 2:08.64, while the winning mark was 2:08. 54.

South Fayette was in fifth place in the boys’ team standings after the first day.

Some top showings for the Lions included: Ryne Fromholzer, sixth in the 200 free, Timothy Bernhardt, SF, ninth, 100 butterfly and the 200 medley relay team of Evan Zombek, Bernhardt, Matt Guyan and Fromholzer finishing fourth.

Other top individual showings on the first day of racing included: Michael Schmidt from Char Valley, 10th in the 200 free and Danielle Pekular from Bishop Canevin, third, 50 free.

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