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Zephs aim to get their flips back on track

Thursday, February 1, 2018 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

Flipping is an important aspect in swimming as swimmers who execute a precise flip turn have set themselves up for a competitive edge, but in Thursday’s meet against Nazareth, flipping became synonymous with missed opportunities in close races against the Blue Eagles.

Head coach Pete Rile was looking over the results from their meet against the Blue Eagles in which the girls lost by 20 points, 95-75. The girls won four events, and as Rile perused the times, he felt that total could have been much higher.

Those numbers indicated that out of the 20-point differential, 18 of those points were decided by 1.3 seconds.

“And that’s disheartening to be on the bad end of 1.3 seconds,” said Rile. “That hurts.”

Rile said that in the races that were “touch races,” in other words, races that were decided by mere hundredths of a second, Nazareth gained the advantage in nearly all of them. That amounts to a two-point swing between first and second place, and that helped the Blue Eagles walk away with the win.

Riles said that 18 of those points could have been flipped the other way, if they would have come out on top in those touch races.

It was that close. They needed to flip those 18 points. Just 1.3 seconds separated the two teams in those tight races, leading to those 18 points that swung the meet in favor of the Blue Eagles.

“We still haven’t learned to swim well yet,” said Rile.

A number of factors can be the difference in those bang-bang touch races, and one is getting off the blocks on time. Rile said that in relay start the leadoff swimmer has to remain motionless until the horn sounds, but the following swimmers have the freedom to move and jump around in preparation of the touch.

“When the other swimmers coming in, their job is to start moving and anticipate when they’ll hit the wall,” said Rile. “We’re still sitting on the block waiting to seem them hit, and then we’re going, and that’s costing us a second or a half-a-second.”

Rile said that all adds up and that can make the difference in a meet.

The girls took four races as Martha Gillette won the 200 freestyle in 2:09.19. Stephanie Setar won two races, claiming first in the 100 butterfly with a 1:03.08 mark, and the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:43.16. Lindsay Soldericth was their other first-place finisher as she won the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:17.30.

Rile said that Solderitch swam a fantastic race, dropping two seconds.

“It was unbelievable,” he said. “I never expected that. I knew she could, but I didn’t expect it today, and she just nailed it. That was an outstanding swim.”

The boys lost 115-51 as Nazareth won every event, setting a pool record in the process as Blake Nesbitt went 54.47 in the 200 yard backstroke.

Still, they had some highlights. Rile said that Michael Nguyen shaved off eight seconds in the 200 IM.

“That was outstanding,” said Rile.

He said that the boys had some outstanding individual performances, but not enough to swing the match against a strong Nazareth team.

The boys team leans heavily on Daniel Jablonski. He’s a returning district qualifier and has been a consistent winner in his individual events all season. In the meet against Nazareth, he had two second-place finishes. He was second in the 100 butterfly with a 58.65 mark, and second in the 200 freestyle with a 1:51.48 finish.

Jablonski said that he’s qualified for the district meet in all his events, including the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke and the 200 IM.

The boys are currently 4-8 and Jablonski said that it’s been a tough year, some of it due to the absence of one of their seniors who could fill in some of the gaps where depth is an issue. Still, he said that they’re improving, and will continue to make strides as they roll into the postseason.

Jablonski said that some of the more inexperienced swimmers are starting to make an impact, acknowledging the improvement of Freddie Tirado who’s gotten very good at breaststroke. He’s just one of the swimmers whose future is bright.

“I think that if they commit to practice and commit to swimming, they can definitely fill the gaps that we’re missing,” said Jablonksi.

Jablonski has swam the 500 free and 200 free every year he’s qualified for districts. He said he intends to do that again this year. He’s now aiming at a gold medal at the D-11 event.

“This year I want to win the 500 free and hope to get at least third or second in the 200,” said Jablonski.

Jablonski said that he knows who has the best times in those races, and while that will certainly get his attention, but it all boils down to times, and a good time could open the door to states.

“For me, it will be focusing on times, and trying to get the best times,” said Jablonski.