Swimmers undefeated in section

Northgate-Avonworth swim team members, from left: Anastasia Wagner, Rebecca Volk, Ava Groll, Carrie Haney, Maura Scrabis, Nicholas Madey. The girls have qualified for WPIAL competition in the 200 free and 400 free relays, and Nick in the 100 fly. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

Undefeated in Section 6AA competition so far this year, the Northgate-Avonworth swim team is enjoying a season that already has several team members qualified for WPIAL competition in mid-February. Going into last night's South Fayette meet, the boys’ team stood at 4-0, and despite the girls' loss at one meet, the combined boys' and girls' points at that event pulled the overall team up to its 4-0 record.

With nearly 30 team members and only two of them seniors, those working with the program anticipate a bright future.

"The numbers will go up even more next year," coach Jessie McKelvey predicted. "I so look forward to helping build this program. I see its present potential in the kids that are coming up the pipeline and I think it's going to surprise a lot of people over the next few years."

In her first year as head coach of the team, McKelvey brings broad experience, having been involved in YMCA or USA swimming since 2008. "I head-coached Sewickley YMCA for three seasons, assistant-coached Baierl YMCA, 2011 to present, head-coaching the 2013-2014 fall season there after the former coach suddenly stepped down. I also worked with Northgate Aquatics Club for a season in 2012, assistant-coaching. I still currently teach private lessons and assistant-coach at Baierl also."

McKelvey said that she never intended to take on coaching a high school team. "But these are such good athletes and nice kids who work so well together. It was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up."

The support and camaraderie extend beyond the athletes this year. Tom Madey, father of freshman swimmer Nick Madey, joined with other parents to launch a swim team boosters club, which has been actively involved. "Support has been very strong," Madey said.

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