Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Char Valley Soph Wins Two Titles

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Char Valley Soph Wins Two Titles

Article excerpt

Chartiers Valley sophomore Drew Damich pulled off wins in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races at the PIAA Class AA Championships last week.

According to the reports, the 500-yard race was a back-half stalemate between Damich and Montour's Jarod Kehl. The two swam side- by-side, spaced at only 0.02 seconds, for the final 200 yards in Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium pool, the site of this year's state championship meet.

"Going into the race, my goal was to get out ahead and in front," Damich said. "I tried to tire [Kehl] out and I ended up tiring myself out and I had to hang with him ... I pulled it out the last 50 [yards]."

Chartiers Valley coach Heidi Fiorentini was very confident in Damich's abilities, but she hadn't discounted Kehl's.

"You never know how close a race will be," she said. "All of the swimmers devote a tremendous amount of time and dedication to the sport. So, when they dive in, it is anyone's race. As they say, if you have a lane, you have a chance."

In the 200-free, the end of the race wasn't quite as dramatic. Damich posted a time of 1:40.52 -- about a second and a half ahead of second-place finisher Matthew Leenhouts of Fleetwood.

"Going into it, I wasn't sure if I was going to win or not. But I had a goal time in mind," Damich said.

Damich had wanted to break 1:40 in the 200, and his time was half a second off. But just shooting for his goal was what got him the win, and he was happy with that.

In addition to being a state title winner in two races, Damich swam in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relay events at the state meet. The Colts' 200-yard relay team finished in ninth place with a time of 1:30.26. The 400-yard relay finished 13th with a time of 3:21.12.

"It was really fun to be there with my team," Damich said. …

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