Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Riverside Girls Get Early Start to Success

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Riverside Girls Get Early Start to Success

Article excerpt

Riverside High School does not permit mandatory morning swimming practices, but that has not stopped Panthers coach Pete Moniodes from offering the practices three times a week beginning at 5:45 a.m.

Riverside is one of the few schools that does not allow the practices to be mandatory because, as Moniodes reluctantly puts it, "That is the way Riverside wants it, you can't force kids to come in early."

For years, nobody on the school's girls team did. Coincidentally or not, no individual on the school's girls team went to the PIAA championships either.

In Moniodes' first eight years as swimming coach at the school, the 75-minute morning practices on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, were attended only by a handful of members of the boys' team.

This year, the girls' started to show up.

All of a sudden a trip to the PIAA championships is looking like a possibility. The program has sent female divers and male swimmers and divers to the PIAA meet in the past, but as far back as anybody around Riverside can remember, no girl has reached the PIAA swimming championships.

"They are serious about their training," Moniodes said. "I don't think they care what their hair looks like when they go to class in the morning."

In the morning, individuals swim at least 3,000 yards. That is in addition to their after-school practices from 2:30-5:30 p.m. when they swim between 6,500 to 7,500 yards.

"For the last eight years my boys have always gone to states for relays and individual events," Moniodes said. "This is the first year the girls have a legitimate shot to get there."

Riverside's best chance to send girls to the PIAA championships is with the Panthers 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle relays. Their best foursome is the combination of freshmen Olivia Wickline and Raena Valli, sophomore Kristen Wiley and senior Kari Lemanski.

Wickline, Valli, Wiley and Lemanski own school records in the 200 medley and freestyle relays. …

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