All in the family
Deemer brothers continually shine for Butler swimming

By Derek Pyda 
Eagle Staff Writer 

BUTLER TWP — For Joey and Alex Deemer, swimming is a family affair. 
A junior and freshman, respectively, on Butler's boys team, the two followed in the footsteps of older brother Ryan, a 2014 graduate. A fourth sibling, Sam, is in the seventh grade and swimming for the Butler YMCA. 
“After Ryan started swimming, we all just kind of fell into it,” Alex said. “I also played football and soccer growing up, but I gave them up to focus on swimming. It was my best sport and the one I had the best chance of really doing something in.” 
Alex has qualified for March's WPIAL Class AAA championship meet in the 100, 200 and 500 freestyles while Joey has done so in the 100 and 200 freestyles and 100 butterfly. Both have had a hand in helping all three of Butler's relay teams make the district cut. 
In Tuesday's 97-71 loss to North Allegheny, Joey Deemer won the butterfly event in 55.6 seconds and Alex was runner-up in the 200 freestyle. 
“Joey has been with me for a while and has more technique under him,” said Butler coach Dave Bocci. “He's acclimated to the sport at this level and has tremendous spirit and fight. Alex is only a freshman and is still learning the strategy, but has a tremendous feel for the water.”  
Joey will soon be making his third appearance at the WPIAL meet in as many years. 
“I like the competition you get in swimming,” he said. “Once you start, it's hard to give it up.” 
Ryan Deemer is now a sophomore swimmer at Ashland (Ohio) University. Bocci believes his younger brothers share an enviable trait with him. 
“All of them are very, very competitive,” he said. “When you have a competitive nature, it's a huge advantage in swimming. This is not a passive activity.” 
While meeting the challenges of collegiate academics and swimming, Ryan does what he can to support his brothers. 
“We talk about his times, his sets and how he is doing and vice versa,” Joey said. “He definitely takes an interest in our swimming.” 
In the girls' meet, Butler's Jillian McElhaney won the 50 freestyle (25.72) and 100 backstroke (1:03.2), but the Golden Tornado dropped a 95-67 decision to the Tigers.