PARKERSBURG - When swimming gets underway come noon today at the Boys and Girls Club for the Frank Burton Invitational, Parkersburg South head coach Steve Lutz is going to be happy just to see his kids get back in the competitive waters.
"We were supposed to swim last weekend at Wheeling Park, but they canceled the meet early (last) Friday," said Lutz, whose squad last competed two weeks ago at Morgantown's Mohawk Invitational.
The Big Reds of Parkersburg head coach Linda Alt also competed at the Mohawk Invitational, but got competitive swim time in this week. PHS swept the team titles Tuesday night at the Hurricane Invitational.
"It will not be a large meet, but it will be a quality meet," Lutz said of the expected five-team field today, which originally had several other Ohio Valley Athletic Conference programs in it.
"We've got Parkersburg, Hurricane, Philip Barbour and us. And Williamstown, for a small school, has quality swimmers. (Head coach) Shannon (McCale) does a great job with them and they are always pretty good. They are just small (in numbers)."
Parkersburg had numerous winning efforts at the Hurricane Invitational. Sean Snider (200 and 500 freestyle) and Preston Padden (100 freestyle, 200 individual medley) were double winners. The Big Red girls got two titles apiece from Hannah Wareheim (100 breaststroke, 200 IM) and Tara Foster (50 freestyle, 100 butterfly) while Jen Standley topped the field in the 100 freestyle.
Parkersburg South is expected to have Garrett Fink back today as coach Lutz noted "Garrett didn't make the trip (to Morgantown) with the flu. We (PHS and South) were both without some of our top talent." Fink is likely to compete in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly this afternoon.
The Patriot boys won the Mohawk Invitational while the Big Reds finished third.
Garrett Depergola had a winning effort in the 100 breatstroke and teammate Stephen Cottrell was the runner-up. Joe Miller was runner-up in both the 200 and 500 freestyle swims.
"I think the 500 freestyle is going to be really interesting with Sean (Snider) in it," Lutz added. "And we've got Joe Miller and Kinzie Bailey continually improving their time. They are moving up on him. I'm not going to say they are ready to challenge him, but they've been doing real well."
Coach Lutz is also pleased with the work the Patriot girls are accomplishing. In Morgantown, the PSHS girls were third and PHS won the crown.
"Our boys are just more experienced," added the coach. "The girls are better than they were last year because we didn't graduate any seniors and we've added a few good freshmen who are doing a nice job.
"But they are kind of progressing a little slower than the boys right now, although they are coming along nicely."
The PSHS girls were led individually in Morgantown by Emily Gersper (3rd, 200 IM; 4th, 100 breast), Anna Pasternak (4th, 100 free; 5th, 200 free) and Rachel Kirk (7th in both 200 IM and 100 back).