Swim teams feature depth
The season may feel like it has just started for the Salisbury swimming team, but head coach Patrick O’Connor has been impressed with the Falcons’ start in 2017.
The team most recently competed against Dieruff, with girls capturing a victory while the boys fell to 0-4 with the loss. A number of Falcons also recently participated in the Bucknell Invitational in early December.
One of the biggest surprises to O’Connor has been the depth on the girls team, which is 2-2 this season.
“Early on I am really liking the performances of our girls squad from top to bottom,” O’Connor said. “We are deep with both experience and new talent on the girls side, and have a few newcomers on the boys side that are tremendously hard workers in training.”
The most notable returning name on the girls’ side is Sarah Bobeck, a state-qualifier from last season. She’s taken even greater strides this winter.
Bobeck took third place in the 50-yard freestyle at Bucknell with a personal best time of 24.76. She also placed second in the 500-yard freestyle in 5:18.31, another personal record.
To go with Bobeck’s run at Bucknell, Madaket Chassard placed 11th in the 200-yard freestyle in a personal-best 2:07.79. Those two, along with Madison Jewell and Julia Graver, placed eighth as a group in the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:59.27).
Then, a strong group of freshman swimmers round out this talented team. Julia Graver, Eliza Wiener, Kerry Seiler, Paige Gibbons and Laura Talaber all have impressed O’Connor thus far.
“Our freshmen girls have really stood out as opening my eyes to a great surprise,” O’Connor said. “They have given us immediate depth and are starting to take a few wins every meet. I am very bright on their future and the future of this team.”
The boys side also has a sold mix of returning talent and impressive newcomers. Tim Sechler-Stone and Tyler Sechler-Stone played key roles last season for O’Connor and have picked up where they left off this winter. Tim has been swimming well and has transitioned into a leadership role for this younger group.
“Having learned how to lead from guys like Mahlon Reihman, Daniel Bonge and Ben Wiener, he is doing a fantastic job with an inexperienced and limited-in-numbers squad,” O’Connor said.
He’s helping a number of first-year swimmers get accustomed to the high school stage. Baxter Reihman, Mahlon’s brother, is following in his family’s footsteps a bit. And Cole Warmkessel and Shane Artis, two first-year swimmers who ran cross-country in fall, are looking like district qualifiers already.
“These are the guys that are going 100 percent day in and day out,” O’Connor said. “Their times are dropping in every meet. Baxter has only ever competed in summer swim league, and the other two have never swam competitively ever.
“They decided to swim to stay fit over the winter, and these guys will certainly be letter-winners and district qualifiers in their first ever years of swimming. Baxter is, of course, Mahlon’s younger brother and shows as much promise.”
Salisbury next faces Central Catholic on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Kidspeace Broadway.