Swimmers must overcome losses
Whitehall head swimming coach Pete Rile knows his team has lost some key swimmers to graduation from last year's versatile squad, but the veteran coach also believes his returning core can continue the program's high standards.
"We should have a strong girls team coming back, and our boys program should also be competitive," said Rile. "We did lose a number of girls who went to states and who were a big part of our program over the past few years.
"But we have two girls back who went to states last year, and we also have a good underclassmen class that can fill those spots."
Rile expects Mina Feyrer and Alexus Merkert, both of whom went to states last season, to help set the early pace for the 19 girls in the program. They will also fill the void left by Brooke Gilson and Allison Emick, two consistent performers through the past three years who highlight a recently graduated 10-girl unit that was a benchmark for the program.
Kailyn Beil, the team's lone senior and diver, is back and should have another strong campaign this winter. Jess Marselles and Mariele Boyle are also projected to have solid seasons ahead. Autumn Kidulic has been a promising newcomer over the past few weeks.
"We only have one girl who is a senior, but we have a number of girls with experience," noted Rile. "We're a little younger than we were last season. The girls know they have some leaders on the team and we should fare pretty well again.
"We're looking to have good year."
On the boys' side, seniors Jonathan Boyd and Takwan Hargrove will look to provide some early leadership.
Other returnees include Felix Figueroa, Mike Haggerty and Anthony Fragnito, all of whom made an impact last season and will be among the 11 boys on the opening roster. Jack Yadush is among a budding group of freshmen who can soon become regular contributors.
"We have five boys back and others who are new to us," said Rile. "We're looking for our boys to work to lower their times and they should have a shot to win a few meets early for us. They are good bunch who will work hard."
Rile will get an initial reading on his club when they open with East Stroudsburg Tuesday and then Emmaus on Wednesday.
"We're looking to see what our newcomers can do," said Rile. "We know they will get a good test against Emmaus.
"Our girls should be right in the thick of things and our boys have potential."