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Swimmers fall short against Kids

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

It was a raucous atmosphere inside Northampton’s Natatorium as the Zephyrs and Kids swim teams were locked in a tight league battle last Saturday.

The loud cheering was in full voice during the 100 yard backstroke as Stephanie Setar and Brynne Rockovits were virtually in a dead heat heading into the final lap. As both teams exhorted on their respective swimmers, Setar pulled ahead and won by a 13/100 of a second.

That was followed by the boys who similarly rallied their swimmer Michael Nguyen who took third place just ahead of Northampton’s Christy Benjamin. That gave Whitehall second and third place in a close meet up to that point.

Head coach Pete Rile said that it got even louder during the final event, the boys 400 yard freestyle relay. It was their best four swimmers against the Kids best freestylers, with everyone whooping and hollering as Whitehall won the event with a 3:34.67 mark. That group included Nikola Martinovic, Ziyad Khafagy, Sebastion Solarte and Daniel Jablonski.

The teams would trade wins throughout the meet, but in the end, the Kids came out on top in both the boys and girls competitions. The girls defeated Whitehall 99-81, while the boys lost 90-83.

The losses drop the girls to 4-6 overall, while the boys are now 3-6.

Rile said that not having diving teams played a part in the loss, noting that they were immediately down by ten points (girls) and six points (boys). Otherwise, he said it was just a matter of Northampton eking out some better finishes.

“It just came down to some touches,” said Rile.

Rile said it was good to have some strength at the end of the meet, but it just wasn’t enough to push the boys over the top.

Rile said that the meet between the two rivals had been delayed and postponed, and when the two finally met, it was a hotly contested match filled with a lot of enthusiasm on both sides. He said that’s what gets the kids motivated and it was on display Saturday afternoon.

“That’s what we were looking for, that kind of fun,” said Rile.

He said that both teams performed well, giving their rivals credit for swimming just a little bit better on that afternoon.

“For us, we swam really well, and they swam amazing,” said Rile. “You have to give them a lot of credit.”

Rile said that the added incentive of the Cement Bowl Trophy going to the winner of all the head-to-head matches between the two schools, heightens the atmosphere even more. He also liked the way his team came back on Saturday after getting down initially and hopes that will help propel them as they prepare for the upcoming week with matches against William Allen and Liberty this week.

Against the Kids, Jablonski was a multiple winner, taking first in the 200 yard freestyle and the 500 yard freestyle. He was also part of the 200 yard medley relay team, as well as the aforementioned 400 freestyle relay. Ziyad Khfagy was also part of those two winning relay teams, and he won the 10 yard freestyle as well. Martinovic and Solarte were also multiple winners as part of the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay races.