Boys swimmers earn first win
Due in large part to a low number of participants, the Salisbury boys swimming team had been winless for nearly six weeks to begin the season.
But that all changed in the Falcons' most recent meet over the weekend.
The boys (1-6) took first place in seven of the 11 events, as well as a first-place finish by Denny Bonner in 1-meter diving, to down Tamaqua 68-53 on Saturday afternoon. The girls (2-5) came up short in their meet by a final of 89-69.
"I think it's a real confidence builder for the guys, in particular we saw that our newer swimmers have really showed improvement," head coach Ken Vincent said.
Mahlon Reihman and Ben Wiener have been two of the top boys swimmers all season, and the two earned first-place finishes in each of their two individual events.
Reihman took first in the 50-yard freestyle (22.89) and 100-yard butterfly (39.79), while Wiener touched the wall first in the 200-yard individual medley (2:29.26) and 100-yard backstroke (1:04.24). The two were also members of the 200-yard relay and 200 free relay teams that took first place.
"They carried a lot of the meet," Vincent said, "But these other guys are the factors that make the difference. It's your guys that fill in the blocks solidly behind the leaders that make the difference on winning and losing on a team."
While Reihman and Wiener have been consistent pieces atop the boys' finishers all season, a number of newcomers have been providing plenty of depth.
Tyler Sechler-Stone (first in 100-yard breaststroke) and Nicholas Sikora are both first-year swimmers that have grown with each passing week.
"We're working through the basics of swimming, such as flip turns, dives and things like that," Vincent said. "But as far as their athletic ability in the pool it's really coming to shine through as they start to get the technique. We're looking for great stuff to come in the future."
Danny Bonge and Gavin Carey have been midseason additions to the squad. Those two, along with Reihman, Wiener and all three divers (Bonner, Daniel Bujcs and Tyler Keller) have qualified for districts as well.
Bonner's score of 323.25 at Tamaqua broke yet another pool record. It's the third time he has set a new pool record this season, and the senior now holds the top score in every pool he's participated in this season.
"Every pool that he's been in, he has set the pool record," Vincent said. "He's a very talented athlete and a very great teammate for the other kids."
Kaleigh Bobeck was the lone Falcon on the girls' side to take first in an individual event, finishing the 100-yard freestyle in 1:02.92. She is one of a number of Falcon girls that have already posted district-qualifying times. Rachel Costantini, Sierra Mamay, Zoe Peckelun, Brooke Rogers and Taylar Velten have posted similar times or are nearing district-qualifying times as well.
"The girls are steadily improving individually and now also as a team," Vincent said. "We have 13 girls on our roster, and we're seeing that incrementally every week they are doing better. There is a lot of competition out there. These girls are going in facing a lot of competition, but at the same time they are doing better each and every week."
Costantini, Rogers, Velten and Bobeck anchored the 400-yard freestyle relay team that took first against Tamaqua.
With the district tournament set for next month, the Falcon swimmers are starting to focus more on their individual events in the upcoming weeks. The meet against Tamaqua started that transition phase.
"We're now focusing our swimmers on their strengths," Vincent said. "We're getting them down to two, three or maybe four events that are their strong events.
"We are going to focus on those, both in practice and in the meets remaining, so they can get their best qualifying times going into districts and their best opportunities for states."
Results from Tuesday's meet at Whitehall were not available at time of press. The Falcons host Saucon Valley on Friday at Kids Peace Bethlehem at 4 p.m.