Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Central Swimmers Living Up to Reputation

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Central Swimmers Living Up to Reputation

Article excerpt

The Central Catholic swim team has had trouble scheduling non- section opponents and invitationals in the early season. Head coach Jim Skirboll speculated that Central's competition level is so high that other teams are afraid of getting beat.

Take a Dec. 20 meet in which Central Catholic emerged victorious against Penn Hills and Pine-Richland.

Neal Smith had lined up early in the meet for the 200-yard freestyle. As the crowds gathered on Pine-Richland's packed pool deck, Smith managed to out-touch the Rams for first place. Not stopping there, Smith added a win in the 500-yard freestyle as well.

Central defeated Pine-Richland, 97-88. The Vikings lost to Peters Township before the Dec. 20 meet, and the loss was still fresh in their minds. Skirboll had actually called his team together before racing the Rams and Indians.

"We had a little team meeting before the Pine-Richland meet -- just to get the guys fired up," Skirboll said.

When asked what was said at the meeting, Skirboll replied, "That's between us and the swimmers."

Other highlights of the day included T.J. Benedict recording a WPIAL qualifying time in the 100-yard backstroke (qualifying time is 1:01.00). Similarly, Brian Corletti qualified in the 100-yard breaststroke with a sub-1:07.00 time.

When asked if it was unusual for swimmers to record WPIAL qualifying times this early in the season, Skirboll replied, "If they've been swimming year round, they should get it right away."

Skirboll added that approximately 40 percent of the Central Catholic swim team swims year round, and that approximately 20 percent of the team swims year round for a club team. But during the varsity season, swimmers who swim for Central do so because they want to win for the Vikings team. This is regardless of club affiliation.

For example, Skirboll explained that Benedict as well as Dan Mozely both came strictly through the high school program. Mozely is skilled in the 100-yard breaststroke and is an instrumental part of the Vikings' 200-yard medley relay (alongside Benedict, Smith and Grant Gustic).

"T.J. and Dan are doing quite well," said Skirboll. "T. …

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