For Josh Matheny, the WPIAL and PIAA swimming championships may just be a step along the way to the U.S. Olympic trials.
The Upper St. Clair junior still made a splash at the WPIAL championships held Feb. 28 at University of Pittsburgh’s Trees Pool.
Matheny smashed his own district record in winning the 100-yard breaststroke. He lowered his previous mark by 12 hundreds of a second, finishing in 54.43.
“Josh is a competitor,” said USC head coach Dave Schraven.
“When he throws on a fast suit and gets in this environment he is going to go fast no matter what.”
“It doesn’t matter if you are rested or if you feel amazing or you don’t feel good, it’s all about getting up and getting to race and getting that experience,” he said. “It’s always best to get up and race, honestly.”
Matheny will race again in the PIAA championships set for March 11-14 at Bucknell University. In addition to the breaststroke, he is also qualified in the 200 individual medley an event in which he finished runner-up to Stanford recruit Rick Mihm from North Allegheny.
last year, Matheny set the state and national federation of high school swimming record in the 100-yardbreaststroke with a gold-medal swim of 52.52.
“Actually, I’m just swimming through to get ready for Olympic Trials,” he said. “It’s just kind of building up for that. That’s my big meet of the year.”
Matheny, who is already a member of the U.S. National Team and is a Junior World Champion, regards any meet that helps him advance toward his goals to be beneficial. He said winning a WPIAL title gives him a gauge on his progress.
“There is no denying it, it always feels good to win,” he said, “and it’s nice that I broke my own record but it’s always good to know that you are faster than you were last year. It’s just little steps now so. It’s just perfecting walls and other things.”
Schraven said the WPIAL meet demonstrated Matheny’s work ethic.
“Josh had a solid swim,” Schraven said. “He has been working really hard compared to last year. He is well ahead of where he was last year because of all the hard work leading up to this meet.”
Matheny also paced the medley relay team of Ganesh Sivaramakrishnan, Jason Zhang and Ryan Senchyshak to a third-place showing behind North Allegheny and Seneca Valley. He also anchored the 400 free relay team of Senchyshak, Zhang and Etahn Neal to a fifth-place finish.
Several other area swimmers earned spots on the podium. They included:
- Medley relay team – Bethel Park’s Dom Cortopassi, Apostoli Kallaur, Eamon Anderson, Lenny DeMartino, seventh place;
- 50 freestyle – USC’s Senchyshak, fourth; Ryan Rose from Peters Township, fifth;
- 100 butterfly – USC’s Zhang, eighth;
- 200 free relay team – Peters Township’s Aidan Dowdall, Justin Manhollan, Alec Haag and Ryan Rose, third;
- 100 backstroke – Max Orlowski from Canon-McMillan, fourth;
- 100 breast – BP’s Apostoli Kallaur, fourth;
- 500 free – Caden Smith from Mt. Lebanon, third; USC’s Neal, sixth;
- 400 free relay team– Lebo’s Caden Smith, Andrew Klepchick, Andrew Chiappetta and Frank Connor, eighth;
NA won the boys title with 380 points. Seneca Valley was second with 25. USC finished fourth with a score of 17.