Bobeck picks up more gold medals
After winning District 11 gold medals in the 50- and 500-yard freestyle events a year ago, Sarah Bobeck looked at where she was and where she wanted to be as she prepared for her senior season of high school swimming. She knew her times in the two events were good, but she also knew that she wanted to swim competitively in college and to do so, she needed to make a couple of changes.
First, she needed to challenge herself. While she enjoyed the varying styles of the 50 and 500, she knew she had to focus on something different to make herself even more versatile in the pool.
“I looked at what I can improve and how can I push myself and get my times down,” explained Bobeck. “I was pretty happy with my 50 and 500 last year, but the 200 is the hardest race that I ever swam, so I wanted to push myself to get this.”
On Friday, she won gold in the 200-yard freestyle in districts and was the only girls swimmer in Class 2A to break the two-minute mark at districts with a time of 1:56.91, which put her a full five seconds ahead of Panther Valley’s Erika Zimmerman, who finished second.
On Saturday, Bobeck took her fourth gold in two years in four different events when she won the 100-yard freestyle, finishing just under two seconds ahead of Pottsville’s Kylie Tohill.
In addition to leaving her comfort zone as far as which events she was focusing on, Bobeck looked at herself physically and realized that she wasn’t blessed with a lot of height that would help her to compete. Funny thing about height, you either have it or you don’t, so there wasn’t anything to work on there.
Instead of throwing her hands in the air and saying ‘oh, well,’ she realized that she could compensate for the lack of height by getting stronger.
“Two days a week, my mom and I work out in the morning just for strength training, so that’s something that I’ve really focused on this year because I really wanted to get stronger,” said Bobeck. “I’ve learned that my height is not my advantage here, so if there’s something I can do to get stronger I the water and feel better in the water, it was to get stronger.”
The added strength has helped her in the water and she will be able to reach her goal of swimming at the collegiate level. Now all she has to do is decide where as she chooses between Loyola Maryland, Franklin and Marshall and Ursinus.
Bobeck also swam the anchor lap of the 200-yard freestyle relay with fellow seniors Cathryn Fitzsimmons and Madison Jewell joining with sophomore Julia Graver. The foursome took gold in the event with a time of 1:43.15, just .27 seconds ahead of a team from Allentown Central Catholic.
The same four girls hoped for more gold in the 400-yard freestyle, but had to settle for silver when a team from Blue Mountain High School grabbed gold just ahead of the Lady Falcons.
In the team competition, Salisbury’s girls team finished fourth with 209 points and the boys team finished ninth with 66 points. Blue Mountain swept the team gold with a score of 336.5 on the girls side and 366 on the boys side. Central Catholic and Pottsville finished ahead of Salisbury in the girls competition.
Bobeck will swim in both the 100 and 200-yard freestyle events at the PIAA Championships at Bucknell University next Wednesday and Thursday. She will also get to compete again with Fitzsimmons, Jewell and Graver in the 200-yard freestyle.
The four swimmers will also await word to see if their second-place finish will be good enough for a spot in the 400-freestyle relay.
The other Falcon girls relay team at district finished in seventh place. The foursome of freshman Krista Bonge and sophomores in Paige Gibbons, Eliza Wiener and Abigail Christman helped earn some team points in individual medley.
Fitzsimmons, a senior, earned some points with a sixth-place finish in butterfly. She also placed 11th in backstroke.
Graver, a sophomore, earned some team points with a seventh-place finish in individual medley and was one place away from earning points when she finished ninth in breaststroke.
Other Salisbury girls finishers include Wiener (ninth in individual medley; ninth in 500 free),
senior Madison Jewell (12th in 200 freestyle; 12th in backstroke) and Gibbons (14th in 50 free).
In boys events, Salisbury placed seventh in both the medley relay and 200 freestyle relay with the foursome of juniors Shane Artis and Nicholas Jones, sophomore Baxter Reihman and freshman Nick Jewell.
Shane Artis also took 13th place in 200 freestyle and 11th in 500 free. Reihman swam to 13th place in butterfly and 13th in 100 free.