Salisbury Press

Sunday, February 23, 2020
NANCY SCHOLZ/THE PRESS The Salisbury boys celebrate with the state championship trophy. NANCY SCHOLZ/THE PRESS The Salisbury boys celebrate with the state championship trophy.
NANCY SCHOLZ/THE PRESS Eric Tatum was second in the 100 fly by just one hundredth of a second. He was third in the 100 free. NANCY SCHOLZ/THE PRESS Eric Tatum was second in the 100 fly by just one hundredth of a second. He was third in the 100 free.
NANCY SCHOLZ/THE PRESS Dennis Bonner earned key points, taking eighth in diving. NANCY SCHOLZ/THE PRESS Dennis Bonner earned key points, taking eighth in diving.
NANCY SCHOLZ/THE PRESS Jon Anderson won a pair of individual medals, placing fifth in the 100 free and eighth in the 200 free. NANCY SCHOLZ/THE PRESS Jon Anderson won a pair of individual medals, placing fifth in the 100 free and eighth in the 200 free.

State champs!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 by MIKE HAINES mhaines@tnonline.com in HS Sports

Salisbury's boys swim team went to states with realistic intentions of winning the overall team title.

But even after the Falcons secured victory and were handed the trophy, they needed some time to let the feeling soak in.

"It's surreal," said junior Tim Costantini, who helped two relay teams earn medals, including the title-clinching 400 freestyle relay team which won the meet's final event. "I still can't wrap my mind around it. My freshman year I was just happy to be on this deck."

It wasn't long ago that most of this year's group was satisfied just to qualify for states and happy just to compete against the rest of the state's best at Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium.

That feeling ended last year, when Salisbury earned fourth place with a team that would return all of its best swimmers.

"I got to be here as a freshman," said senior Eric Tatum, who earned three medals during the two-day state meet, held last Wednesday and Thursday. "That [2010] team with Keagan [Collins] and my brother [Sam Tatum], I never thought we were going to be as good as those guys were.

"Two years later when I was a junior, I finally hit the realization that we became better than that team. I didn't think that would be possible. It's amazing to think of how far you got."

Tatum swam to a silver medal in the 100 butterfly and a bronze in 100 freestyle. He was also part of the medley relay team that took 10th place and anchored the gold medal 400 freestyle relay team.

He nearly had gold in the butterfly, which he swam in 49.99 seconds. Robert Sikatzki (Fairview) won the event in 49.98. Tatum came back and put in two good swims the next day. In two days he earned 33 points individually and was part of two relays that brought in another 54 team points.

"You have to be able to rebound from things that don't go your way," said Reinhard. "Eric got touched out [Wednesday] night, but he didn't let that ruin him. He just said 'I did great, I lost by a little bit.' And he moved on."

Jon Anderson and diver Dennis Bonner also earned individual medals for Salisbury.

Anderson, a junior, took fifth in the 100 freestyle and eighth in the 200 free. Bonner, a sophomore, placed eighth in diving.

Most of the 151 team points accumulated by Salisbury came via the three relays, which earn double points for the team. The Falcons beat second-place Franklin Area by eight points, 151-143.

Joining Tatum and Costantini on the winning 400 freestyle relay team were Garrett Collins and Anderson.

The Falcon 200 freestyle relay of Anderson, Dylan Bonge, Costantini and Tyler Lesko, took fifth place and kept the Falcons among the leaders for the team title.

The boys 200 medley relay team of Connor Harrison, Joe Skibbens, Eric Tatum and Bonge took 10th place.

It takes a lot of talent for a team to bring home three top-10 finishes in Class AA relay races.

"We knew we returned everybody from last year," said Salisbury head coach Jason Reinhard. "People started stepping up during the season. It was a goal at the beginning of the season and it became more real as the season went on and we saw how we were progressing."

The Falcons had five swimmers and two divers compete in individual events at states.

Collins, a senior three-sport athlete, took 20th in the 200 freestyle. Costantini swam in two individual events, placing 21st in the 200 individual medley and 24th in 500 freestyle.

Harrison was 31st in backstroke and freshman Daniel Bujcs took 26th in diving.

While the divers have two years of eligibility left, all of the swimmers on Salisbury's 2013 state team are juniors or seniors. All of them were influenced by Falcon swimmers who helped build up the program and put this group in a position to contend with the state's top teams.

"My brother [Keagan] swam before me," said Garrett Collins. "He's the one who got me into this sport. Back then we were close to as strong as we are now, we just didn't have as much depth as we do now.

"I'm going to talk to my brother and he's going to see how much he's shaped me as an individual and us as a team."

The state title is the first for any Salisbury team in the history of the school. It will bring pride not only to this year's group of swimmers, but all who have been part of the program and many others in the Salisbury community.

Although it might take some time to sink in.

"It's surreal," said Garrett Collins. "It really is. Two years back, just in the 400 relay, we came in and didn't even make it back in consolations. To come here two years later and win as a team, it feels great."

The Falcons had one girls swimmer compete at states.

Danielle Guttman qualified for two events at states. She placed 23rd in the 500 freestyle and 24th in the 200 freestyle.