Upper St. Clair High School is scheduled to host the WPIAL swimming championships March 6-7.
“We are excited,” said USC athletic director Kevin Deitrick. “We are anxious to pull this off and thrilled to show off our facility. It is especially fantastic for our seniors to have this opportunity to end their careers in their own pool and own water.”
In 2019, USC approved construction of a multi-million dollar aquatics center. The swim team hosted its first meet Jan. 26, 2020. The Panthers swept Bethel Park in boys and girls competition.
USC’s swim center features an eight-lane, 25-yard competition pool plus a four-lane, 25-yard warm water special-use pool and diving well.
“At Upper St. Clair, we are blessed to have amazing facilities and a tremendous, supportive administration that enables us to do this,” said Deitrick.
Deitrick said the school’s size, location and capacity appealed to the WPIAL.
Because the school also houses two full-size gymnasiums, it will be able to use this additional space as a staging area for the swimmers. This will provide for proper social distancing and other parameters created by COVID-19 restrictions, Deitrick said.
No fans will be allowed to view the proceedings as the capacity in the swim area is 125 spectators under COVID-19 regulations. Only swimmers, coaches, officials and select media will be admitted.
“These days, I just deal with social distancing,” Dietrick said. “So it’s 96 for our gym and 125 for the pool.”
USC is set to host the Class AAA and AA championships. The WPIAL will iron out details of the meet, particularly starting times, during a meeting scheduled for Feb. 24.
Previously, the WPIAL conducted its swimming championships at Trees Pool but the University of Pittsburgh is not currently allowing outside groups to use the facility.
While it is uncertain whether a high school venue will produce record times, the meet will feature some of the premier swimmers in the state, if not the nation.
USC boasts it’s share of talent.
Josh Matheny already is qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials, which will determine the American swimmers that will participate in the Tokyo Summer Games. Matheny holds both the WPIAL and PIAA records for the 100-yard breaststroke event. The Indiana University recruit is a three-time champion in the race at the local and state level.
Taylor Connors, another senior, is the defending WPIAL champion in the 200-yard freestyle. She also has some of the top times in the WPIAL this season, including the best mark in the 100-yard backstroke.
The USC boys also have the top time in the WPIAL in the 200-medley relay thanks to Mantheny as well as Ganesh Sivaramakrishnan and Jason Zhang. The duo have top WPIAL times in the back and butterfly, respectively.
Besides Sivaramakrishnan, the USC boys feature some addition standout freestylers in Ethan Neal, Ryan Senchyshak and Daniel Wang.
North Allegheny, which the Panthers hosted in a dual meet over the weekend, is expected to dominated the competition. The Tigers have won the last 12 WPIAL girls team titles and the boys have 13 championships since 2006.
The USC boys won a WPIAL boys’ title in 2011. The Panthers girls team finished fifth in the team standings in 2020.
“Whether there will be new records I don’t know. I’m no expert,” said Deitrick. “There will be some great swimmers at the meet. I know though I’ll be pulling for the Panthers, hoping the top finishers are wearing USC suits and caps.”
The WPIAL diving championships will be held at North Allegheny High School. Class AA competition is set for Feb. 26. Class AAA action is scheduled to be held Feb. 27.