Swimmers split meet
After their meet against Saucon Valley on Saturday, head coach Pete Rile believes that his team is rounding into shape as they’re approaching the halfway point of the season.
Whitehall split the meet with the girls winning 101-69, while the boys lost 93-77 to the visiting Panthers.
Rile said he believed that the girls had more strength and depth than their Colonial League counterparts and that proved true as they earned their fourth win of the season.
“We went in kind of mixing things, trying to find some new stuff, and use some strengths that we didn’t know we had,” said Rile.
As for the boys, he knew it was going to be a close meet. While they lost by 16 points, Rile said it was much more competitive than that score would indicate.
“There were a lot of touch races,” said Rile. “And that’s a pure example of having enough guns and not enough bullets. We just ran out of some things; they outnumber and have a little more strength in depth, but just a little, just enough.”
With the loss, the boys are currently 2-4 on the season.
In Saturday’s meet, Rile said that they were able to log 30 of their personal best times, something they strive for every time they get into the pool.
He also thought they performed well given the early Saturday start time (10 a.m.), as well as having two days off because of the snow and cold.
He said that they’ve seen a lot of personal improvement, the concentration of that coming from their “midline” swimmers. He also said that their top swimmers are coming around, but feels they’re currently not in the shape they want to be in.
“We put that on us, the coaches,” said Rile.
He said they’re constantly looking to improve, and Saturday’s meet was no different. He also said that they’re looking to build on the tools that they have, hoping to always “build a bigger toolbox.”
As they navigate the rest of the season, there will be meets where they’ll compete in every event, and there will be meets where they get “to play” since the depth of schools like Parkland and Liberty simply overwhelm them.
He said that as they enter this phase of their season, they’ll be looking at meets as well as the upcoming district tournament.
Senior Stephanie Setar is one of those swimmers who have qualified for districts. Setar competes in the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke. In the Saucon meet, she won the 200 freestyle with a district qualifying time of 2:06.71. Ziyad Khafagy (50, 100 free) and Daniel Jablonski (500 fee, 200 IM) also earned qualifying times for the boys.
Setar believes that the 100 butterfly is her best event.
“I feel like I can really go out and swim well in it,” said Setar.
In Saturday’s meet, Setar gave credit to the boys who weren’t expected to hang with the Panthers, but were tied for most of the meet.
“I thought they did great and swam so well,” said Setar.
As for the girls, she believed that they had the upper hand, but they were still able to drop times. She also said that they made great comebacks, notably Caroline Martin the 200 I.M.
Setar said that the season has been going well, even though they had an unexpected loss to Salisbury.
Setar has qualified for districts in a number of events, and is looking to pad her D-11 résumé with the I.M.
Her goal is to help the team moving forward, staring with their meet this week against Southern Lehigh. She said the rest of the season their objective is to get as many swimmers into districts as possible, which is sometimes hampered by getting enough opportunities to lower those times.
“We’re probably going to work on people dropping more time,” said Setar.
She said the key to achieving that goal is simply wanting to be there which means you’re willing to put in the effort.
Setar’s day starts early as she attends classes, and then it’s off to practice or a meet (which usually entails some warming up before the contest), and on some days her evening includes another practice as she also swims for the Parkland Aquatic Club. While all that swimming is still taxing, she’s gotten use to the routine.
“When I first did it as a freshman, it was so hard,” said Setar. “And then you kind of get used to it, and you’re used to being tired a lot, your body, but then when you taper and relax after a while, it will show in your times when you go to districts.”
Setar said that there’s not one swimmer who’s she looking to beat; instead, it comes down to shaving seconds off her own races.
“You want to beat yourself, and sometimes there’s people that you’ll say, ‘Oh, I always wanted to beat this person,’ but mainly if they beat you and you still drop time, it’s still a good feeling,” said Setar.