Category Archives for "Swim"

Swim Team (documentary) is available for free viewing for a limited time

| S6

The film, Swim Team, chronicles the extraordinary rise of three diverse young athletes, capturing a moving quest for inclusion, independence and a life that feels like winning.

Parents of a boy on the autism spectrum form a competitive swim team, recruiting other teens on the spectrum and training them with high expectations and zero pity.

Documentary film is by Lara Stolman. Find out more: The movie, Swim Team, is streaming on PBS's POV.

Outside of YMCA in New Jersey

Home of the New Jersey Hammerheads, a YMCA

Trailer is 3-minutes long. Full movie is 2-hours in length.

Proposed high school swim rule changes and NISCA’s survey — and my two cents

| Swim

Part 1 of 3:

Dual Meet Understandings

Get out your decoder rings. Statements from Coach Mark on left and right side has the survey content with grey background -- if on desktop. Reactions welcome in comments.

Wondering about these items:

We have always called a meet with three teams a "Double Dual." These double-dual meets have three outcomes, as in: 

  1. A vs. B: 
  2. A vs. C; and
  3. B vs. C.  

Who knew we were calling it by its wrong name. Should have been called a triple-dual meet. 

We do a bunch of these "Triple Dual Meets" as forced to do so as per the WPIAL's sectional calendar in what we call a "Scheduling Marriage." In the past four years, The Ellis School had to swim all of its scheduled section meets with Serra Catholic. A divorce has been asked for in another rant. See:

The example text from the survey that uses the example from Colorado, it seems that the teams there are seeking to allow a meet with two teams and utilize seeded lane assignments rather than one team in only odd number lanes and the other team in even numbered lane. However, the rule mandates three teams, not two. Not clear to me if this is as intended.

A multi team meet should allow for non dual meet lane assignments with TWO teams. I did not vote in this survey question — yet. But it is super important question.

Love that there can be meets with two teams of different levels of participation and everyone gets to swim in races with competitors in heats near to their own seed times.

Love it that there are extra heats, something that is not done in the WPIAL.

Love it that lane spaces are not wasted and kept empty due to strict lane assignments. 

I guess, with the Ellis schedule, we'll have to host multi-team meets and seed the events. Hence, we'd not adhere to assigned lanes by teams. I could live with that. 

But, what happens with the number of entries permitted per team? Is it two? Is it three? Is it unlimited? 

But, what happens when there are three teams in the girls events but only two teams in the boys events. Does the boys meet operate like a standard dual meet and girls meet get to operate like a seeded meet as in multi-team meet?

4. pg 9   1-4-8d   SECTION 4 MEET MANAGEMENT
ART. 8 . . . Types of Meets
a.   A dual meet involves two teams;

b.   A double-dual meet involves three teams and is scored as two separate meets
(Team A vs. Team B,
Team A vs. Team C);

c.   A triple-dual meet involves three teams and is scored as three separate meets
(Team A vs. Team B,
Team A vs. Team C,
Team B vs. Team C);

d.   A multi-team meet involves any number of teams three or more teams, each competing for the same points.

      1.   A championship meet is a culminating meet, as determined by state association policy.

      2.  Non-championship meets are scored meets which are not required to utilize championship rules.

      NOTE: Non-championship meets may be conducted using championship meet rules.

Rationale from Survey:

Currently a meet with two schools must run as a dual meet.  This requires teams to seed based on strict lane assignments.  In Colorado, they have meets with two schools where one school has 80 participants and the other eight (as an example).  Having to seed with strict lane assignments adds unnecessary heats to the meet and open lanes.  If we could run a two team meet as a multi-team meet, it allows for unlimited entries (per League approval) for the larger team and the ability to seed the meet based on time and not strict lane assignments.  This would make for a more efficient meet and one where we aren’t micromanaging coaches on how they can run/seed their meets.

Part 2 of 3:

Time cards -- no way!

Reactions welcome in comments.


Go paperless. No need to mandate a "time card." 

Get rid of that "time card" mention as there are ways to get the times from the button pushed (manual time) to the scoring desk.

9. pg 43   4-9-2   
ART. 2 . . . A head lane timer shall be assigned to each lane.  This person shall record the times for the assigned lane and deliver a time card to the chief timer.  This person shall determine if the swimmer has touched the end wall finish end (or touchpad if automatic timing/judging equipment is used) and, for the 500-yard/400-meter freestyle, shall keep a written tally of the number of laps completed by the swimmer in that lane.

The phrase "finish end or touchpad if automatic timing/judging equipment is used" indicates that the touchpad takes precedence, which is not an adequate description of the finish of the race.

Part 3 of 3:

Fail dives and those exits, especially on 3-meter boards.

Reactions welcome in comments.

#FAIL leads to LIAF#

Don't back off the diving boards. 

Love that there is a push to allow for 3-meter diving.

We don’t want divers on the 3 meter boards to step down as stated in the rule. Diver takes too long, say 30-seconds. Official calls a fail dive. Permit the diver to jump or dive into the pool rather than stepping down. Easier, safer, faster.

no divign sign on wall

18. pg 89   9-8-3c

ART. 3 . . . A diver shall be disqualified and shall perform no further dives if he/she fails two dives. A diver shall be disqualified if in the judgment of the diving referee:

c.   the diver unnecessarily delays the performance of a dive by: ;
      1. by not reporting to the diving board in a timely manner; or
      2. by standing on the board too long.

pg 89   9-8-3 NOTE
NOTE: After an appropriate length of time (as defined by each state association) the referee shall (1) instruct the table to issue a fail dive or (2) issue a warning to the diver saying that he/she has (an additional) 10 seconds to complete the dive. If the dive is not completed in this time frame, the referee shall instruct the diver to step down and instruct the table to issue a fail dive.


Simply stating that a referee can disqualify an athlete for unnecessary delays is arbitrary and difficult for most officials to enforce. Creating a procedure to be followed is better both for the diver (who is mentally stuck or too scared to go) and for the referee (who will most likely have to deal with the decision when the diving event ends). Additionally, this procedure will assist a referee with the diver who oscillates too many times.  Note: This change should be covered in the meeting between the diving referee and the divers prior to the beginning of diving.

WPIAL swimming schedule with THREE teams in dual meets needs to be fixed. We want a divorce and a new coop.

| Swim

The Sectional Swim Schedule from the WPIAL has 77 teams, but only two are put into a forced marriage. 

We both want a divorce. And, the neighbors will be happy too.

For the last four years, Serra Catholic and The Ellis School have been in a forced marriage within the charts of the scheduling of the section meets from the WPIAL. It is time for a divorce. Turn back the clock to five years ago when both The Ellis School had its own schedule. (See the photos below.)

Historical proof of past swim schedules

WPIAL swim schedule from Class AA, section 1, 2016-17

Serra Catholic has a robust squad in 2020

Once upon a time, Serra had a tiny team. Not any longer. There are plenty of swimmers at Serra. Don't punish Serra with a bad WPIAL schedule by sending the team miles away for home swim meets. Don't cutting short Serra's opportunities to compete in regular sectional meets. Times change. Serra's coaches can speak for themselves, but would be great to have someone from the WPIAL communicate with them.

Hopefully, Serra Catholic can swim against Serra in section swim meets in the future, without a third team being present.

Girls Only Meets can Work

Holding a lone meet, once a season, with only a girls squad is not so bad for the competition. These meets with The Ellis School open up other opportunities for the squads. 

In the 2020 season, Springdale came to a non-section meet with Ellis and it had boys. The boys got to compete. There wasn't a meet outcome for the boys, but they got in and results were recorded.

In the 2020 season, the Ellis girls swam against Shady Side Academy while the boys races had Shady Side Academy against Kiski Prep (Kiski School), an all-boys squad. Teams that really want to have boys competition along with the Ellis girls could invite Kiski Prep into the meet. 

There are a bunch of INDEPENDENT swimmers that can come to compete in both swim races and diving with our meets in both the boys and girls events. But, then when the forced schedule marriage happening, there becomes four or more teams. So, it is nice to have the open lanes for absorbing the indie participants along with the Ellis competition.

Lastly, we like to do some quicker meets now and then so that we can do some shared warm-down time with the other team. We like to take out the lane-lines and play SKWIM, after the meet. We've done this in the past with Northgate and with Springdale in 2020. Fun. Plum, North Hills, Chartiers Valley, PEAQ, Central Catholic, Oakland Catholic, Moon and some other high-school teams have been able to play SKWIM in recent months. It would be great to be able to play a short SKWIM game following the meets with Ellis teams, especially when the meets are shorter and have a focus upon just the girls events. 

Don't pull the girls of The Ellis School out of one Schedule Marriage with one team and stick us with a different team.

The problem isn't with Serra Catholic. The problem is with the WPIAL schedule and the forced marriage for all section meets. To swap out Serra Catholic with another team is not going to help participation across the swimming community. The way to build swimming is to give The Ellis School its own line in the schedule. 

Four other GIANT reasons why the marriage schedule should be suspended.

The Ellis School is only for girls, but a coop situation is expected, desired and has been in the works from the realm of the head coach of The Ellis School for many months.

A new swimming coop with The Ellis School and Winchester Thurston is desired. 

There are boys at WTHS. The boys team can be WTHS and the girls team can be The Ellis School. 

Would-a, could-a, should-a: Tthe 2020 Girls AA Meet Recap with a W-T & Ellis

Looking at the results and outcomes for the 2019-2020 season, Ellis scored 26 points and finishes in 24th place among the girls. Winchester Thurston gets 58 points and finishes in 14th place. Total earned points is 84 points, without any relays, good for 11th place. Aria E of W-T swam in events that were not her best as WTHS could only field one swimmer per event. With W-T in a coop, her events change and her point total increases by five, a conservative estimate, Add W-T and Ellis together and we'd enter relays. Expect a 200 medley and 400 free, both getting 6th place, an easy prediction, nets another 22 points per event. Then, this coop team gets a would-a score of 133 points.

26 + 58 + 5 + 22 + 22 = 133 points = 7th place and 1 point ahead of Northgate,last years's WPIAL Championship Team.

A new swimming coop with Ellis and The City of Bridges High School is desired. 

The City of Bridges is a new school, opened in Pittsburgh, private, that is not yet in the WPIAL nor PIAA. We can get them there with this plan.

A new swimming coop with Ellis and the Hillel School is desired. 

The Pittsburgh neighborhood of Squirrel Hill has a private Jewish school with about 40 students, both boys and girls, that is just joining the WPIAL and PIAA in 2020. The Hillel School is coming to the WPIAL, as it fields a X-Country team. We would love to offer those students a chance to swim in the winter season as part of a coop team with The Ellis School. 

We can get Hillel on board with this plan.

Summary of the proposed Swim & Diving Coop with The Ellis School:

The Ellis School, a team that has sent swimmers to the PIAA meet in the past three years in a row (2020, 2019, 2018) wishes to form a coop with Winchester Thurston. The boys team can be called WTHS and the girls can be called Ellis. Plus, students, both boys and girls, from City of Bridges and Hillel School can also join the coop. 

These are small schools. They won't be so big as to get to the enrollment of class AAA in swimming. 

Long Term

Should the programs grow in participation, it might be the case that Winchester Thurston could field its own team in 2023. Who knows. Perhaps the W-T team could swim with PPS Sci-Tech.

  • Allow for the flexibility and independence without a swimming schedule marriage for The Ellis School for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.
  • Allow for a coop application to happen at this time due to new schools wishing to join the WPIAL and PIAA.
  • Allow for some forgiveness as there was a change and for many months, there were plenty of uncertainties with the Winchester Thurston's Athletic Director position.  
  • None are asking for a re-do of an already published swim schedule. Let's just do it correctly at this time and then release it in April with the hope of the coops being resolved. Or, help a bit and let's get this understood in a positive meeting.

Recommended Outcomes

Girls Swim & Dive Squad

The Ellis School

Girls only, with a 4-year, WPIAL section swim schedule marriage with Serra Catholic, but swam as a girls-only schedule in prior years. Practices and meets at Chatham University. Swimmers to PA state meet in 2018, 2019 and 2020. With 22+ middle school swimmers.

Boys Swim & Dive Squad

Winchester Thurston High School

A member of the WPIAL with basketball and fencing and independent swimmers in the winter season. In 2020, first WPIAL champion, but has had a presence at PIAA swim meets for last seven years. Hiring a new athletic director.

Update: A coop with WT is not going to happen.

Coop member with boys and girls

City of Bridges High School

New to WPIAL and PIAA in 2020-21 seaon, if we can allow for the coop to occur. Opened in fall of 2019 with ten students and growing. Expecting 20 to start the year in fall of 2020. Located in the South Side within walking distance to the Oliver Bath House.

Update: Interest is present.

Coop member with boys and girls

Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh

New to WPIAL in 2020-21 season with its own X-Coutry team and opportunity to join the winter sports coop with swimming. Enrollment about 40 total students.

UPDATE: The students are not interested in swimming.

Kiski word logo in white
A boys only school, not in the WPIAL nor PIAA

The Kiski School

The private, boys-only, prep school, not Kiski Area, is with a nice swim team. The boys of The Kiski School and the girls of The Ellis School could swim against other squads that have both boys and girls.

UPDATE: The athletic director at The Kiski School is interested in meets with The Ellis School. But, this seems better positioned for the non-section meets in 2020-21.

NFHS rule-book clarification problems and guidance for local dual meets with three teams officials

This issue is to be addressed on its own web page. Click the button below.

WPIAL Swim Championship Meets w PIAA psych sheet, 2020

| Swim

Team Scores

Team scores

Click for larger view

Team scores in box

Click for larger view.

People at desks at pool

Meet Media


States Media

Chatham University’s Swim Pool

| Resources

To get to the Chatham University swim pool, home of the Cougars, a Division III mens and womens team, and also home to The Ellis School's Tigers, a WPIAL team that also swims its home meets with Serra Catholic, go to the Athletic Building on Campus in Shadyside in Pittsburgh, PA. 

The pool is below the gym.

Map of Chatham from Google

Red dot on the map shows the Athletic Building with the swim pool that is downstairs, below the gym.

Back door of Chatham in dark

Back door of the gym, a good place to pick up the swimmers.

Backdoor of Chatham

Peeking in the window from the back shows the gym, if you look close.


Classroom on the first floor at Chatham University's Swim Pool and Athletic Building

Woodlawn Drive -- quiet turn off for pick up.

Parking near the pool is impossible. but there is a place for pick-up in the back with a little turn-off along Woodlawn Drive.

Show prep for the WPIAL Swimming Championships – 2020


Raw Info follows

This page needs a make-over, but until then, gander at these links.

We are especially hungry for links to school newspaper articles about swimmers and divers.

Researching news articles in advance of the WPIAL Swimming Championships, as show prep. 

Post the articles in the comments below.





Over the past few years, Northgate has quietly become one of the best swimming programs in Class 2A.

In 2018, the boys won the school’s first WPIAL team title and, last year, a last-second victory in the 400 freestyle relay, the final event of the meet, pushed the Flames girls to their first crown.

In 2020, though Northgate is the defending girls champion, repeating may be a bit much to ask for a team that lost perhaps the best swimmer in school history in Karen Siddoway to graduation and senior Isabella Salerno, who opted not to come out for her senior year.

“We’re in a lull year because we basically lost two girls,” Northgate coach Jess McKelvey said. “We knew it was going to be a little bit of a stretch last year. We went for it and it worked out for us, for sure.”

While the girls may not be top heavy with stars, they will have quite a few qualifiers who will provide key points that will keep Northgate competitive.

“This year will be a little bit more of a reach,” McKelvey said. “We’ll still show up and do well, but we’ll show up with a lot of girls who have a lot of potential … and next year we’ll be back at it again.”

While the expectations are a touch lower for the girls this year, the boys may have enough to reclaim their title from Indiana. The Little Indians won the title by 18.5 points over the Flames a year ago.

Even so, both the boys and girls teams are building toward potential dual titles in 2021. That’s especially possible considering what is coming down the pike.

“I’ll just have some out of the park freshmen coming my way on both sides for next year,” McKelvey said. “We have always had a wonderful feeder program and, since our area is pretty small, we get a lot of interest in our area in the summer.”

Franklin Regional

South Fayette

Indiana High School

Thomas Jefferson 

North Allegheny

Quaker Valley

Penn Trafford

Fox Chapel





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