Allegheny College Signs 16 For 2017-18 Season

The Allegheny College swimming and diving team will welcome 16 incoming student-athletes for the 2017-18 season. The 13 swimmers and three divers hail from a total of four states, including eight from Pennsylvania, five from Ohio, two from Texas, and one from Illinois.

Western Pennsylvania proved to be a hotbed this season for the team, as seven members of the newest recruiting class hail from Pittsburgh-area high schools including North Allegheny, Oakland Catholic, Shaler, Highlands, and Laurel Highlands. These seven student-athletes competed for clubs including Allegheny North, Fox Chapel, GPAC, and Pine Richland Aquatics. The Gators will also welcome three members from Columbus, Ohio area high schools including Whetstone, Gahanna Columbus Academy, and Worthington Kilbourne.

The incoming class also has strong family ties, as the Gators add two sets of twins, a sibling of a current team member, and the son of a current Allegheny assistant coach. Both sets of twins are local standouts, as Aimee andAnna Verardi hail from North Allegheny High School and the Allegheny North Swim Club, while Hunter andChelsea Pietrzycki are from Cleveland, Ohio and Parma High School. A Pittsburgh native and Oakland Catholic graduate, Megan Corletti joins her older brother Brian, a junior Breast/IM specialist and Allegheny team captain, while Douglas “D.J.” Merchbaker of Cochranton, Pennsylvania is the son of Christine Merchbaker, a former Virginia Tech standout and current volunteer assistant coach for the Gators.

“Both sides of incoming student-athletes are strong in the Breaststroke, Fly, and short IM,” said fourth-year Allegheny head coach Kirk Kumbier, “while the incoming women will also add solid depth in sprint and mid-distance events.”

Kumbier said that the Verardi sisters are solid in events 200 and under across the board, as Anna is sprint and backstroke oriented, while Aimee is strong in sprints, short axis, and the IM.

Emily Schaefer (Shaler High School/Pine Richland Aquatics) has excelled in Butterfly and IM, and also will look to be utilized for freestyle relays and the Breaststroke. “She has great toughness, and potential for high-end middle distance speed,” said Kumbier.

Coming off of a breakout senior season at perennial power Oakland Catholic, Corletti will look to make an impact in the Breaststroke, IM, and relays, while Texas native Claire Collier (Clear Falls/South Shore Sails) is expected to contribute in the Breastroke and as a mid-distance and distance specialist.

Another Texan, Amanda Pandola (Liberal Arts & Science Academy/Lost Creek Aquatics) is expected to compete in the splash and dash and relay events, while Kumbier also expects her to build strength in the short fly and potentially the 200 free.  Rachel Tobler (Libertyville, Ill./Lake Forest Swim Club) will specialize in the Butterfly and add depth in mid-distance, while Chelsea Pietrzycki, who competed with Cleveland Area Diving, is well-rounded on both boards, and adds to the already strong Gator female diving contingent.

While the women have added depth in the free and breast, the men’s incoming class features a pair of divers who will be looked upon to make an early impact, as the addition of newcomers Trey Serbin (North Allegheny) and Hunter Pietrzycki will also give the Gator men a trio of physics fighters.

Brandon Thomas (Laurel Highlands HS/Fox Chapel) brings all-around speed, as he has specialized in the fly while also having experience in sprints and IM.  Logan Indest (Worthington Kilbourne/Buckeye Swim Club) andBen Blackburn (Highlands HS/Fox Chapel) look to team up in the Breaststroke and IM, while Indest will also add talent to the Gators’ mid-distance and Butterfly group. Noting his size and strength, Kumbier also believes that Blackburn has potential to add sprint speed.

Two more Columbus natives, Tin Le (Gahanna Columbus Academy/Great Columbus Swim Team) and Mitchell Nottage (Whetstone/North Waves) will round out the short stroke and IM events. Both are Ohio High School State Championship participants and have solid background in all three strokes. Merchbaker has spent his high school career as a sprint/backstroke specialist, and spent a stint with the Virginia Gators in the summer following his freshman year.

“We are excited to see what this group of incoming Gators can do,” Kumbier said. “They have great potential.  We are looking forward to solid depth in-season, a chance to chase top-spots at Conference Championships, and a springboard to work towards more NCAA qualifying marks and invitations.”

The incoming Gators will look to make an immediate impact at the ultra-competitive North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Championships and push the team onto the Division III National scene.  Below are the eight men and eight women joining Allegheny next year:

Women High School/Club Events
Aimee Verardi North Allegheny/Allegheny North Swim Club, PA Sprint, Fly, Breast
Anna Verardi North Allegheny/Allegheny North Swim Club, PA Sprint, Back, IM
Amanda Pandola Liberal Arts & Science Academy/Lost Creek Aquatics, TX Sprint, Mid-D, Fly
Chelsea Pietrzycki Parma/Cleveland Area Diving, OH Diving
Claire Collier Clear Falls/South Shore Sails, TX Mid-D, Dist, Breast
Emily Schaefer Shaler Area/Pine Richland Aquatics, PA Fly, IM, Breast
Megan Corletti Oakland Catholic/Greater Pittsburgh Aquatic Club, PA Breast, IM
Rachel Tobler Libertyville/Lake Forrest Swim Club, IL Fly, Mid-D
Men High School/Club Events
Ben Blackburn Highlands/Fox Chapel, PA Breast, Sprint, IM
Brandon Thomas Laurel Highlands/Fox Chapel, Laurel Highlands YMCA, PA Sprint, Fly, IM
Douglas Merchbaker Franklin/(Virgina Gators), PA Sprint, Back
Hunter Pietrzycki Parma/Cleveland Area Diving, OH Diving
Logan Indest Worthington Kilbourne/Buckeye Swim Club, OH IM, Breast, Fly
Mitchell Nottage Whetstone/North Waves, OH Breast, Back, IM
Tin Le Gahana Columbus Academy/Greater Columbus ST, OH Sprint, Stroke, IM
Trey Serbin North Allegheny, PA Diving


Allegheny College Women – Class of 2021
Anna Verardi Aimee Verardi Claire Collier Emily Schaefer
50 FS 24.27 50 FS 24.74 50 FS 25.76 50 FS 25.61
100 FS 53.52 100 FS 53.19 100 FS 56.95 100 FS 54.44
200 FS 2:00.38 200 FS 2:04.76 200 FS 2:04.13 200 FS 2:00.83
100 BK 58.97 100 BK 59.92 500 FS 5:28.73 500 FS 5:21.59
200 BK 2:10.83 100 BR 1:07.44 1000 FS 11:35.31 1000 FS 11:24.85
100 BR 1:12.34 200 BR 2:26.52 100 BR 1:09.29 100 BR 1:10.27
100 FL 58.90 100 FL 58.01 200 BR 2:39.96 200 BR 2:34.76
200 IM 2:10.80 200 IM 2:09.09 200 IM 2:22.24 100 FL 58.93
200 FL 2:08.70
200 IM 2:10.17
400 IM 4:42.42
Megan Corletti Amanda Pandola Rachel Tobler Chelsea Pietrzycki
100 BR 1:07.85 50 FS 26.16 50 FS 27.99 1-mtr (6) 269.50
100 FL 2:34.97 100 FS 56.31 100 FS 59.58 1-mtr (11) 394.50
200 IM 2:23.24 200 FS 2:00.71 200 FS 2:10.11 3-mtr (6) Club Exp.
100 FL 1:06.38 500 FS 5:45.45 3-mtr (11) Club Exp.
100 FL 1:02.99 5-mtr Club Exp.
200 FL 2:20.66
200 IM 2:29.41
Allegheny College Men – Class of 2021
Benjamin Blackburn Brandon Thomas Douglas Merchbaker Hunter Pietrzycki
50 FS 23.28 50 FS 22.11 50 FS 22.46 1-mtr (6) 235.40
100 FS 51.73 100 FS 46.93 100 FS 50.48 1-mtr (11) 362.80
100 BR 1:00.24 200 FS 1:45.05 100 BK 58.88 3-mtr (6) Club Exp.
200 BR 2:11.32 500 FS 5:00.85 50 FL-R 25.68 3-mtr (11) Club Exp.
200 IM 2:03.63 200 BK 2:02.24 5-mtr Club Exp.
100 FL 50.30
200 FL 1:55.45
200 IM 1:57.54
400 IM 4:13.99
Logan Indest Mitchell Nottage Tin Le Trey Serbin
100 FS 51.34 100 BK 57.46 50 FS 22.40 1-mtr (6) 226.50
200 FS 1:50.90 100 BR 1:02.19 100 FS 49.70 1-mtr (11)
500 FS 4:54.11 100 FL 57.56 200 FS 1:51.58
100 BR 1:02.84 200 IM 2:06.75 100 BK 56.51
200 BR 2:11.51 200 BK 2:10.58
100 FL 53.58 100 BR 1:03.90
200 FL 1:57.01 100 FL 55.84
200 IM 2:00.36 200 IM 2:02.96

Press Release courtesy of Allegheny Athletics.

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