Damich dominates AA racing
Fast and free. When it comes to swimming, that’s Drew Damich’s motto. See, the Chartiers Valley sophomore swiftly swims the freestyle. At least during the WPIAL Class AA championships at the University of Pittsburgh’s Trees Pool, he did.
“I like this pool,” he said. “It’s a fast pool and my favorite pool.”
And it showed as Damich dominated. He was a double individual winner, claiming gold medals in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events.
Damich won the 200 going away with a 1:43.30 time, a full 2.2 seconds ahead of his competition.
“I did what I wanted to do,” Damich explained. “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,” he said.
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.
With 7 to 10,000 yards on average, he was well prepared for the 500-yard freestyle. Damich cruised to victory in that distance as well.
Damich entered the event as the favorite so he was expected to win. “But not by that much,” he said. Damich won in 4:40.87. Montour’s Jarod Kehl took second in 4:46.37. Damich’s teammate, Michael Schmidt finished fourth.
“I’m really happy with where I am,” he said.
While “good” at both distances, Damich prefers the 200 “I like it 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 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.”
Though CV finished fifth, Damich had fun swimming his leg of the 400 free relay. He anchored the unit of Schmidt, Rosato and Novelli and posted a 46.37 time, a time good enough to have won the 100 free had he participated in that event. Beaver’s Cameron Clerici won the 100 in 47.40.