Bobeck focuses on a return trip to Bucknell
Salisbury junior Sarah Bobeck fully dedicated her future to swimming prior to her sophomore year. And since then, she’s become one of the area’s most consistent high school swimmers.
Bobeck, after earning two top-four finishes at districts as a freshman, took leaps in her second season. She won the 500-yard freestyle as a sophomore at districts and placed in the top 25 swimmers in two events at the PIAA Class 2A Championships last winter.
Much of that credit goes to her full attention that she has given to swimming over the past couple of years.
“I started to take it more seriously around the age of 10 for [Emmaus Aquatics Club], but I was still involved in multiple sports at the time,” said Bobeck, who also played soccer and field hockey. “I fully committed my time to swimming my sophomore year of high school to achieve my goal of qualifying for states and joined Parkland Area Aquatic Club.”
For a girl who started swimming at the Trident Swim Club at five years old largely because of the cookie dough she enjoyed so much, Bobeck has come a long way a decade later.
She won the 500-yard freestyle in 5:20.15 to capture that district gold medal, nearly three seconds faster than Notre Dame of East Stroudsburg’s Paige Jackett. She also placed second in the 200-yard freestyle, just .20 seconds behind the winner.
“This year I wanted to focus mostly on my under water swims and techniques,” Bobeck said. “I have already seen improvement in my freestyle events. Working on this has allowed me to drop time in events I’ve had a hard time dropping in past years.”
And Bobeck has seen results immediately. At the Bucknell Invitational earlier this winter, she thrived against some of the state’s top competition. She broke Salisbury’s 50-yard freestyle record, finishing in 24.76 seconds and placing third. She also set personal bests in both the 500-yard freestyle (5:18.31) and 100-yard breaststroke.
“Starting off with getting a personal record and school record was an unexpected surprise and has me motivated to break my school and other records,” Bobeck said. “It’s still pretty early in the season, and I am undecided what I want to work on for districts. But my hope is to be successful.”
When districts get underway on March 2 and 3, Bobeck hopes to once again leave Parkland High School with a gold medal around her neck in an individual event. But she’d also like to lead a relay team into state competition after being the only Salisbury female competing in the state championship meet last year.
“Not having your team that you’ve trained with the entire year there to cheer you on made the experience nerve-wracking,” Bobeck said. “This year I hope that I can bring my team to states and top last year’s performances in my individual events.”
With a year of swimming at PAAC under her belt and another high school season to prepare her for postseason swimming, Bobeck has no fears should she qualify for states again.
“I know what to expect this year, such as the amount of people and the environment that I will be entering,” Bobeck said. “People are fully prepared, shaved and tapered, and everyone there has their own goals set that they are ready to achieve.”
With the way she is swimming, a trip back to Bucknell’s Kinney Natatorium come March seems likely.