Reihman earns three gold medals
With just one event left at last weekend's District 11 championships, Salisbury still had just one swimmer qualified for the state meet.
Thanks to a big finish in that last event, four Falcons will make the trip to Bucknell University next week instead of one.
Salisbury's Danny Bonge, Ben Wiener, Gavin Carey and Mahlon Reihman teamed up to win the 400-meter freestyle relay Saturday afternoon at Parkland High School. They dropped almost 15 seconds off their seed time to finish in 3:25.60.
"We put in a lot of work over the past season," said Gavin Carey, the only senior in the foursome. "We knew that all of us have athletic ability and a competitive mind. We had to worry about our own leg and swim our hardest."
Bonge got the team off to a good start. Wiener then swam the fastest 100 yards of anyone outside of the anchor legs, 51.87 seconds to take the lead. Carey kept the team in front and Reihman, who earned gold medals 100 and 200 freestyle, brought it home with the fastest split in the field at 47.54.
"The guys, I'm shocked," said Salisbury head coach Ken Vincent. "We did not expect that. That relay was the most exciting part of this day. My hat is off."
The relay team includes three sophomores and two swimmers who competed in two sports this season. Bonge was part of Salisbury's boys basketball team that won 21 games. Carey played varsity ice hockey all winter. He had not swum on the high school team in two years until just a few months ago.
"I started swimming when I was three years old," said Carey, who along with champion diver Denny Bonner were the only Falcon seniors to compete at districts. "I trained year round in middle school but stopped to focus on hockey.
"I've had a lot of long nights, but in the end its worth it."
Reihman, who helped Salisbury's 200-yard freestyle relay team to a third-place finish, left the meet with three gold medals and a bronze.
He won Friday's 200 freestyle, beating defending champ Trey Shackleton by a fraction of a second, 1:43.46 to 1:43.75.
He returned Saturday and won the 100 freestyle in 47.87.
Last year he competed in the 200 and 500, but decided to go with shorter races this year.
"I never thought the 500 fit for me," said Reihman. "I could never stay mentally focused. Frankly, I just hated the 500. It's too long of an event. This whole season I've been training for more sprint-based events. It was definitely a big transition from last year."
Reihman anchored Salisbury's state champion 200-yard relay team last year. He's hoping for even more success at this year's meet, which take place March 11-12 at Bucknell University.
He made consolation finals last year, taking 10th in the 200 and 15th in the 500. This year he's hoping to make it to the championship finals.
"I didn't taper or shave for this meet so I'm expecting bigger drops at Bucknell," he said.
Salisbury's boys team earned a fourth-place team finish. Divers Bonner, Tyler Keller and Danny Bujcs got the team off to a good start by going 1-2-3 at the diving championships.
A few other swimmers also competed at districts, some of which earned a few team points in the process.
Wiener got sixth in the 100 backstroke in 1:01.33 and was also sixth in the 200 freestyle at 1:54.40.
Carey placed sixth in the 200 individual medley in 2:13.75. He also was ninth in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:08.41.
Bonge was eighth in the 100 butterfly at 1:00.76 and 12th in the 100 freestyle in 53.57.
Freshman Timothy Sechler-Stone, who just took up competitive swimming this season, was 21st in the 500 freestyle in 6:20.11
The bronze-medal winning freestyle relay team included Reihman, who opened the race and swam the fastest 50-yard split of anyone in Class AA, along with Carey, Wiener and Bonge achoring.
All district champs earn automatic qualification to states. The rest of the state field in each event is made of the fastest times from district meets around the state, so second- and third-place finishers could still earn a berth to Bucknell.
Salisbury's girls team, which is a little bit younger and shorter on numbers, also had some solid performances at districts.
Junior Rachel Costantini took eighth in the 200 freestyle (2:13.00) and 13th in the 100 free (1:00.73).
Junior Kaleigh Bobeck, who swam two individual events and one relay on Saturday, placed 11th in the 100 freestyle (59.94) and 16th in the 100 breaststroke (1:18.79).
Sophomore Taylar Velten was 12th in the 100 freestyle (1:0013) and 14th in the 50 freestyle (27.05).
Sophmore Brooke Rogers, who competed in two individual events and one relay on Friday, 15th in the 50 freestyle (27.12) and 16th in the 100 butterfly (1:11.32).
Freshman Madaket Chassard placed 12th in the 500 freestyle (6:10.73) and 12th in the 200 freestyle (2:13.33).
Mackenzie Sikora was 21st in the 500 freestyle at 1:15.43.
The foursome of Velten, Costantini, Bobeck and Rogers took fourth place in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:47.44. That foursome in a different order placed fifth in the 400 free relay as Bobeck led off, followed by Rogers, Velten and Costantini.
"The boys and the girls have competed exceptionally well," said Vincent. "They are relatively green when it comes to competition, but they have absolutely and utterly amazed me. The girls have had their best swims of the year. The girls have been struggling through practices and it's all comes together now."