Gateway Class of 1984
Cindy DiNunzio (Rose) grew up in a swimming family. Al Rose, her dad, was Head Coach of the JCC Sailfish USA swim team and her siblings, Margie, Mindy and Allan all swam on summer swim clubs including Park Swim club, Haymaker swim club, Gateway Gators (H.S.) or the year round program on the JCC Sailfish USA team. As a child, Cindy would go to many swim practices/meets and watch her sisters swim lap after lap and she couldn’t wait to be in the pool where her dad was coaching. Cindy’s mom, Elaine, would tell her “Cindy, your not old enough yet, your time will come”. When she was seven years old, it was finally her time and she was ready to show her dad what she was waiting for; to be a great swimmer.
Cindy’s Dad had a big influence on her swimming career. He never pushed any of his children to swim, but to do what made them happy. He taught with encouragement, provided them with an understanding of goal setting, and about time management. He knew that his swimmers were teenagers and still wanted to go to those Friday night football games! Her parents were always there to help Cindy to achieve her goals in swimming. Through Junior High School, her parents let her take dance lessons and run track, but in ninth grade her Dad said, “It’s time think about what sport you want to focus on and take to the next level.” In the back of her mind, the next level was going to PIAA Swimming Championships.
In her freshman year of High School, she was ready to participate on the Gateway swim team and swim in the famous “swamp” pool! She was already going to nine practices a week, and now she had to add in two swim meets during the week. Cindy was lucky, she had her older sister Mindy to look up to because she was a senior on the swim team. Besides giving her a ride to 5:30 am practices, Mindy was able to help her make a smooth transition to high school swimming. Cindy turned out to be the one of the fastest sprinters on the team, which earned her a spot on the 200-medley relay (freestyle leg). The 200-medley relay of Kristen Johnson, Renee Caldwell, Sue Connors went on to win and break the record at WPIAL’s in 1981! They didn’t stop there…2 weeks later they had the thrill of becoming PIAA State Champions in the 200-medley relay!
During Cindy’s sophomore and junior year she went on to place in the top 6 at the PIAA State Championships in the 50 and 100 freestyle. Her greatest success in High School Swimming came her senior year. She placed 4th in the 50 freestyle, 3rd in the 100 freestyle, and 3rd place finish in the 400 freestyle relay with Donna Ledgerwood, Celeste Makiel and Michelle Chow. The Lady Gators also finished 3rd overall in the state. She was also selected as Co-Captain with Chris Kale. As Co-captains they helped lead the team to a
14 –2 record that season, but their biggest victory was their last meet of the season with a win over Penn Hills. The meet came down to the last relay and Coach Brown wanted this victory as much as the team. Don split the four fastest girls up into two teams so we would get first and second. It was a chance he was willing to take because he knew it was the only way to win. Coach Brown always made the right decisions for the team and this was no exception! There was no better way to end the season and senior night with a win over Penn Hills!
Cindy did have the privilege of being coached by her Dad at the JCC Sailfish swim team. He gave her the tools to be a great swimmer, but it was up to her to do something with those tools. Her parents drove many miles up and down the highway to practice and meets. Family vacations were staying an extra day at a meet out of town. Her parents always made sure she had her “favorite” pair of goggles to use and spent the money necessary on replacement swim suits that would fade or rip after being in the chlorinated water for hours. After each successful high school swim season during her sophomore, junior, and senior year, Cindy qualified for Junior Nationals. This is a meet where you swim against the best 18 and under swimmers in the country. In her last year at Junior Nationals, she was able to stand on the winners podium for her achievements in the 50 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay.
- 1981- 1984 Varsity swimmer and letter winner
- 4 year WPIAL qualifier, placing in the top 6 as an individual & winner in the 200 Medley Relay
- 4 year PIAA State qualifier, placing in the top 8 as an individual & winner in the 200 Medley Relay
- Co-Captain senior year
- 4 year NISCA All American and PHSSCA All State
- Post–Gazette Athlete of the week
- Junior National Qualifier 1982-1984
- 1984 Junior Nationals – 8th 50 freestyle & 5th 400 Freestyle Relay
- Gateway Gators Mel Nash award
- Full swimming scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh
During Cindy’s senior year, she was recruited by the University of Pittsburgh on a full swimming scholarship. The success she had with Gateway and JCC Sailfish carried on with the Pitt Panthers.
- 1985-1988 Big East Champion in the 200 & 400 Freestyle Relays
- 1985 & 1987 Team record in the 200 Freestyle Relay
- 1985-1988 Big East top 6 finisher in the 50 & 100 freestyle
- 1985-1988 team won Big East Championships
- 1985-1987 Team goes undefeated
- Co-Captain senior year
- 1985-1987 NCAA Qualifier
- 1987 NCAA All-American and 8th place finisher in the 200 freestyle relay
After graduating college and working full-time in retail mgt. and banking for 15 years, her decision to get into coaching was an easy one. She knew the sport, received great coaching, and learned how to manage her schoolwork and swimming. Cindy wanted to pass along these qualities to other young swimmers, so they could understand the discipline an athlete needs to achieve goals. Cindy is currently the Head Swimming Coach for the Marlins Swim Team in Rochester New York. Cindy currently lives in Rochester New York with her husband Bob, her son Matthew, and daughter Laura.
Cindy would like to thank her parents, sisters, brother, and all of her coaches for all their support and guidance throughout her swimming career. Congratulations to her fellow Hall of Fame inductees and Gateway Sports Hall of Fame committees that made this possible.