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Boys have strong team for 2021 season

In the wake of a successful season that saw the Whitehall boys swimming team post a winning record, their second such feat in the history of the program, the boys will be looking to build on that accomplishment.

The boys finished last season 9-6-1, advancing seven swimmers to the district championships. Of those seven, three return this season giving the Zephyrs a solid foundation heading into the upcoming season.

Senior Connor Barnes is among that group, and he should once again put his stamp on the long distance races for the Zephs. He competed in the 500 and 200 freestyle races, along with the 200 freestyle relay at districts last February, and head coach Pete Rile envisions him once again being a strong force in those races.

The returning district qualifiers also include seniors Brandon Deutsch and Matthew Hilbert. Deutsch competed in three relays at the D-11 championships last season, while Hilbert swam the 200 freestyle relay.

Rile said that Brandon Deutsch is someone who can help galvanize a team.

“He’s a strong swimmer who’s a good kid and a good leader,” said Rile.

They’ll also rely on seniors Jacob Busch, Peter Busch, Jakob Schlosser, Vasilios Stergianopoulos, and Abraham Tabarani. All five have varsity experience and should be valuable swimmers to plug into spots where they can shine.

Those eight seniors will form the backbone of this year’s squad, and will the main driving force behind the push to have another successful season.

They’ll also feature sophomore Kenny Dai, another returning varsity swimmer who should give them valuable points in his events. Additionally, sophomores Joseph Marucci and Wayne Streat, both of whom return this season, should provide some solid depth for the Zephyrs.

Rile also said that they’ll feature three freshman this season, rounding out the squad. He’s excited about the newcomers. He said that while they essentially replace the four swimmers they lost to graduation, they’ll also help stem the tide of losing their top two individual scorers last season.

Rile said that Andrew Deutsch, Aaron Stinner and Ian Thomas have strong credentials, notably extensive experience club swimming which should make them valuable assets.

He believes Stinner can make a big splash. He’s adept at the butterfly and the long distance freestyle races, but since they’re relatively close events during a meet, Rile said that they’ll be looking how to best utilize him.

“We’re hopeful he can be a really big addition for us,” said Rile.

He said that it may take them a while to hit their stride, well in this case their stroke, but he sees the potential.

“We’ll be pretty solid later in the year,” said Rile.

With 14 swimmers in the fold, Rile said they’re entering 2021 as a stronger team than last year. While last year’s squad may have boasted swimmers who achieved individual success, he feels this team’s overall strength is the consistency up and down their lineup.

“They’re a solid team that’s been around for a while,” said Rile.

They’ll jump back in the pool next week after a lengthy layoff, and Rile is eager to get them ready for their first meet which is scheduled for Jan. 12.

Connor Barnes is back for the Whitehall boys for the 2021 swim season.