Truckee girl swimmers remain unbeaten; Pittenger to swim for UNLV
With a 154-111 victory over the Incline Highlanders on April 27, the Truckee girls swim team improved its record to 6-0.
Greta Pittenger, Haley Long, Kat Altieri and Kara LaPoint all won individual competitions as the Wolverines girls swept the 200 Medley Relay and the 200 and 400 Freestyle Relays to continue their undefeated season at Truckee Donner Community Swimming Pool.
“We’re swimming pretty fast at this point,” said first-year head coach Carey Parlette, in her fourth year overall as a Truckee swim coach. “I think our sprint work and cross training with water polo has improved our overall conditioning.”
Parlette also added that she is satisfied with her team’s work ethic, general positive attitude and unwavering focus. These characteristics are no surprise from a Truckee swim team that has created quite a legacy in recent years; especially the girls, who have been division champions every year since Parlette joined the program, she said.
“We have a tradition of a strong girls team, especially compared to other schools our size,” Parlette said.
On Tuesday, Pittenger took first in the 200 Freestyle with a time of 2:13.80. Long won the 200 Individual Medley (2:57.84), and Altieri won the 100 Freestyle.
LaPoint, a senior, took first in the 100 Backstroke with a time of 1:07.36, knocking out previously undefeated Incline swimmer Michelle Dreyer in that discipline.
A successful Nordic skier and former three-year tennis player, LaPoint said she has been swimming since fifth grade. She has spent four years on the high school swim team as a way to stay in shape in the skiing offseason.
“Now I do it mostly for conditioning for skiing,” she said, “but I work really hard at it for the team. All the practices are really intense in swimming.”
Along with Pittenger, Silvas and junior Joelle Comeaux, LaPoint was part of the first-place 200 Medley Relay on Tuesday. LaPoint will attend the University of Denver on a Nordic skiing scholarship next year, she said.
The other Truckee girls swimmers are freshmen Erin Gamet and Nissa Krider, sophomore Mary Silvas, juniors Nichole Achey, Haley Howell, Keema Kelly and Alex Prodanuik, and senior Kate Rose. Gamet, Silvas, Kelly, Howell and Rose all had second-place performances on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the boys team lost its second match in a row to Incline, 71-63, after starting the season 4-0. Its 4-2 record is still pretty impressive for a team that is only four strong Ð seniors John Pittenger and Aaron Browning and sophomores Colin Shane and Blake Heckendorn.
On Tuesday, Heckendorn took first in the 200 Freestyle (2:36.66), Browning had the best time in the 200 Individual Medley (2:37.18) and the 100 Backstroke (1:13.25), and all four boys combined to win the 400 Freestyle Relay.
Truckee has two meets left before the Regional (Zone) Championships at the University of Nevada, Reno on May 14-15. On Saturday, May 1, it takes on Bishop Manogue at Reno’s Northwest Pool at 2 p.m. On Friday, May 7, it hosts Wooster at 2 p.m.
Swimming is life for John Pittenger
Even though the Truckee boys’ swim team is undermanned, senior John Pittenger has done more than just win, he has amazed on the individual front as the zone and state competitions approach.
He won the 500 Freestyle (4:59.17) and 100 Breaststroke (1:13.70) by lopsided margins on Tuesday. His 500 Freestyle time annihilated the Zone qualifying time of 7 minutes and 28 seconds, making him a strong favorite to contend at the state meet.
Pittenger came to Truckee from Eagan, Minn., before his sophomore year. After swimming for Truckee for only two years, he signed a scholarship last November to swim for the University of Nevada-Las Vegas swim team, he said.
In individual terms, Pittenger has excelled in a sport that doesn’t get much notoriety from the public, including his peers.
“I don’t think people really know about it much,” the 18-year-old senior said before Tuesday’s races got underway. “I don’t think people really care about it.”
But Pittenger, who has been swimming competitively for seven years, is OK with the lack of attention, emphasizing that he’s not bothered by it. Because of the strenuous nature of the sport, he is proud to be a swimmer.
“I think we train harder than most other teams,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know how to swim in the first place. It’s a whole other thing to swim fast in a pool for 2 1/2 hours.”
Pittenger thought about quitting the sport before high school, he said, but his parents urged him to stick with it and the choice has been favorable, but also a lot of hard work.
The high school season that lasts from February to May is just a glitch in Pittenger’s swimming commitments. He swims year-round for Reno Aquatic Club and commutes to Reno, “eight times a week, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and every other day except Sunday,” he grins, almost like its rehearsed. “It’s tough.”
Pittenger has dedicated a lot of his young life to swimming and will continue to do so in college.
“I wish I could play other sports,” he said, “but there’s really not enough time in my life.”
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