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Zephs hope to get more district simmers

The Whitehall High School swim team made a big splash last week, sweeping a virtual meet that featured four opponents.

Head coach Pete Rile said that both the girls and boys teams defeated the quartet of Moravian Academy, Allentown Central Catholic, Dieruff, and William Allen.

He believed that going into the match that they would perform very well, and when the girls pulled out the victory over a talented Moravian squad, it signified a strong collaborative effort from all their swimmers. In that meet against the Lions, the boys won 92-78, while the girls prevailed 100-70.

“That was a good night,” said Rile.

That good night against Moravian featured a number of first-place finishes for the Zephyrs.

In the 200 freestyle, Emily Thomas took top honors, finishing in 2:21.13, while Aaron Stinner followed for a win for the boys in the 200, touching the wall in 1:53.03.

In the 200 individual medley, Rachel Dolan took first with a 2:30.64 mark, while Lexi Prentice notched the victory in the 50 freestyle, finishing in 29.47.

Dolan and Stinner became multiple winners as both were tops in the 100 butterfly with Dolan touching in 1:07.96, while Stinner finished in 57.69.

Lindsay Solderitch claimed first in the 100 freestyle with a 59.72 mark, and was also tops in the 100 butterfly, touching in 1:15.18.

Ian Thomas won the boys 100 breaststroke in 1:06.82.

While that was good news, Rile said that they were also the recipients of some bad news last week. The teams were informed that the district qualifying times have been changed, and that change has disqualified some swimmers who had secured a spot under the old qualifying times. With the lowering of the qualifying times, only Aaron Stinner’s spot in the 500 freestyle is still secure.

That recent news left a lot of disappointed swimmers who thought they punched their tickets to the postseason. That new hurdle, combined with the district only accepting eight competitors per event, has really limited the number of opportunities for the swimmers.

Additionally, in the past format at the district championships, Rile said that any school who’s registered with the district “as a team” were guaranteed one relay spot. That has now been whittled down to just the top eight squads in those races.

Rile said that Stinner has a shot to qualify for the 200 freestyle as well. In the current rankings compiled by a fellow coach, Stinner sits in the sixth spot in that race. Other swimmers are close, including Lindsay Solderitch in the 100 butterfly, and they still have a few meets to get them into the mix.

He said that this season has been marked by constant change, and that’s just anyone area that’s made it rough on everyone.

They also completed a virtual meet versus Saucon Valley last week, and Rile said on Monday afternoon that he still couldn’t determine if the girls won. He said they were trying to follow along with the livestream, but the Panthers had fallen behind in the order of events, so it was hard to tell exactly what transpired. He’s still waiting for the official results.

“It’s getting difficult to get results in a timely fashion,” said Rile, acknowledging another aspect of this unprecedented winter season.

He said that they competed in five meets in the last four days. While that’s been a heavy workload, he said that it’s also produced a lot of best races among his swimmers, and a number of personal bests.

Since filing the results vary among the different schools, Rile said that to his best estimate that the girls are 8-6 this season, while the boys are 9-5. Both squads are on track for consecutive winning seasons. The focus is now going to be trying to qualify as many swimmers as possible.