Wyoming Area’s swimming program takes a major step this season with the move from four boys competing individually to a boys team schedule.
The Warriors will not officially be part of the Wyoming Valley Conference boys standings for at least one more year, but the boys will generally swim the same schedule as the girls, competing as a team and better preparing them for the District 2 meet.
“It’s pretty awesome to go from four to 14,” coach Lauren Shovlin said of the boys roster.
Shovlin will continue trying to build the girls team and coach the boys in her second season running the program. The girls posted a .500 record last season and have several experienced competitors returning as part of a large roster which gives promise to the team’s future.
The May King’s University graduate and first-year English teacher is joined this season by a former high school rival, Ashley Tudgay, who won four district titles while at Wyoming Valley West. Along with diving coach Kenny Bryden, they make up a young coaching staff that is bringing energy to the growing program.
“(Tudgay) has been fabulous with the kids and has brought a lot of new ideas to the program,” said Shovlin, who had been a volunteer assistant coach in her first three years of college. “She’s helping us build what is going to be a legacy.
“We have a very young team, boys and girls. We’re rebuilding the program, basically looking forward to a really great season.
“We’re trying a lot of new things training-wise and we’re going to be mixing a lot of people around in different events.”
Shovlin thinks the flexibility of the top swimmers, combined with the depth of the program, gives the girls team a chance to win more meets this season.
The boys will test themselves this season against many of the same teams they could be paired with in conference competition in 2013-14 when the league and district realign after receiving new enrollment figures.
Sophomore twin brothers Ryan and Michael Murphy are the top returners from last year. Ryan Murphy finished 10th in the District 2 Class AA meet in the 100-yard butterfly. The top 12 at districts score points in the meet when their teams are eligible, which the Warriors will be this season.
Ryan Murphy will also compete in the 100 freestyle. Michael Murphy will mainly compete in the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.
Zach LaGrue, another sophomore, also competed in the district meet. He is primarily a backstroker.
David Klaproth also returns as a diver and swimmer.
Shovlin said all four of the experienced swimmers will be versatile to compete in other events.
Sophomore Bobby Acacio in the freestyle sprints, is among the top newcomers along with sophomore Joe Earl and freshmen Seth White, Dante DeLuca and Austin Alder.
The Lady Warriors were unable to score a point on the district level last year.
Junior Amy Alder, Austin’s older sister, was the only Wyoming Area girl to compete in individual events on the district level, finishing in the top 20 in the 200- and 500 freestyle.
“She is mainly a distance swimmer,” said Shovlin, who expects Alder be a threat to post wins in multiple events. “We will throw her in sprints or occasionally the IM; wherever we want to put her that day.”
Caitlyn Kraynak, another junior, has been a sprinter for the past two years, but will also be moving around.
Senior captain Amanda Bialy is the team’s main breaststroker.
Sophomores Maria Pesta, Cassie Lockhart and Katy Dymond are among the other top returnees.
The most promising freshmen appear to be Lydia Bugelholl and Leah Moore, who both have experience from the Wilkes-Barre CYC program, and Claudia Waltz.