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Bobeck leads strong girls team

Head coach Patrick O’Conor took over to lead the Salisbury swimming team in 2015. This winter might be the season in which his most talented girls’ unit comes to fruition.

Leading that group is senior Sarah Bobeck, a 10th-place finisher at states in the 500-yard freestyle (5:14.36). Bobeck was also a two-time gold medalist in her individual events at districts last winter, winning both the 500- and 50-yard freestyles.

“The girls’ squad looks deeper than ever,” O’Connor said. “I feel that we can possibly podium at districts with our girls and hopefully get two relay teams and a few swimmers qualifying individually.”

Bobeck cruised to her 500-yard freestyle win at districts, swimming a 5:47.24. Her 50-yard freestyle win was a bit more dramatic, beating out Central Catholic’s Angela Castano by one-tenth of a second for gold.

O’Connor fully expects Bobeck to return to states, and potentially bring a relay team or two along with after two medaled at districts a season ago. The 400-yard freestyle relay team came in first at districts last season, while the 200-yard freestyle relay placed second.

The girls’ unit will have to replace a number of graduates, including Madaket Chassard. She placed fourth at districts in the 200-yard freestyle (2:05.83) and seventh in the 500-yard freestyle (5:47.24).

But plenty of talent returns for O’Connor. Madison Jewell is back after placing sixth in the 200-yard freestyle (2:17.72), and Julia Graver returns after an eighth-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke. Kerry Seiler and Cathryn Fitzsimmons also provide depth on the girls’ side.

“The biggest adjustment to make from last year is working with a very thin boys’ squad,” O’Connor said. “We are carrying only five boys at the moment. On the girls side it is replacing our distance specialist, Madaket Chassard.”

The Sechler-Stone brothers, Tim and Tyler, have graduated on the boys’ front and leave voids in a number of events. Tim placed fourth in the 100-yard backstroke (58.46) and seventh in the 200-yard freestyle (1:54.16) at districts last season.

Cole Warmkessel and Eric Fonseca are two other graduates that O’Connor must replace.

Leading the way for the boys’ returnees is Baxter Reihman, who placed eighth at districts in the 100-yard butterfly (1:00.58).

“Our goals for the season, as in all our past seasons, is to look towards districts and get a few state qualifiers,” O’Connor said. “And for all our swimmers to qualify for districts and attain personal best times in their events. Record-wise, the girls have a real shot at a winning record.”

Salisbury begins its season on Monday at home against Moravian Academy. Meet time is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Broadway KidsPeace.

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZSenior Sarah Bobeck earned a 10th-place finish at states last year and returns to lead a Falcon girls swim team with high expectations for the 2018-19 season.