Girls are ready for another season
It’s the dawn of another swimming season, and the Whitehall girls will be primed for another strong year as they return a number of district participants.
That roster of returning district swimmers includes Trish Bartosh, Madelyn Kutney, Kallie Lyle, Rachel Alulis and Martha Giletto. They’re part of a team that will have 30 swimmers among their ranks this season.
Head coach Pete Rile, who begins his 30th season at the helm, said that they’ll have a lot of girls to pull from, and that depth allows them to plug in swimmers from a good range of talent.
“We can field a pretty solid team,” he said.
While that sounds like a good situation, Rile said that it means that some swimmers may see limited action, but he plans to offset that by picking up extra meets. He said that their schedule gives them flexibility this season, specifically pointing to the Pottsville Invitational on Dec. 29 that allows them to enter multiple swimmers in each event. It’s an occasion where everyone gets to swim.
Rile said that they’re still in the process of evaluating what they have since they’ve haven’t spent a lot of time in the water, but believes once they get organized that depth will be a valuable asset.
“With our numbers we have a lot of ability to plug in swimmers so we can fill in a lot of holes that we lost to graduation,” said Rile.
The Zephyrs finished 9-7 last season and had seven swimmers qualify for districts. Five of those swimmers return, and all are seniors, save Kutney. Lyle, Bartosh and Kutney were part of their 200 Medley Relay team, finishing sixth. They also teamed up for a seventh-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay, and ninth in the 200 freestyle relay. Stephanie Setar was the fourth member of that team.
Rile said that his senior class not only brings plenty of experience, but also an excellent attitude.
“They’re competitive and looking out for the whole team,” said Rile. “They’re looking out for the best of everyone. It’s a real positive outlook.”
The Zephs will feature some newcomers who are expected to make a splash. Rachel Dolan is one of those swimmers, and Rile said she’s one of the swimmers who has come up through the ranks of the Whitehall Waves program.
Also looking to make a contribution this season are Eve Amaturo, Ariana Antero, Ava Frederick, Emily Haggerty, Ella Holmes, Sabrina Kidulic, Hannah Miller, Kayla Yandrasitz, Scarlet Abreu, Emilia Barrionuevo, Alexis Bartosh, Erica Croughn, Allison Gallardo, Yasier Herrera, Brihana Raub, Lindsay Solderitch, Peyton Szoke, Emily Thomas, Daisha Hamilton, Valeri Martinez, Sandra Neamah, Alexandria Prentice, Giovanna Salloum and Grace Urick.
Rile said that they have a lot of raw talent and it’s now a matter of developing it and refining it. They’ll get tested right out of the gate as they’ll begin the season with a meet against Liberty who finished 13-1 last season. Rile said it will be a good barometer for his team, letting them “see what they’ve got.”
The girls have someone who’s expressed interest in diving. Since Whitehall’s pool can’t accommodate a diving team, they must coordinate with other schools to allow them to compete. Rile said that it’s something they’ll initiate once that desire becomes a reality. That also holds true for the boys as a similar interest has been expressed.
Every year one of their big emphases is getting as many swimmers qualified for the district tourney as possible. Rile also fell it’s important to keep focus on each individual meet as they look to maintain their winning tradition. They may struggle against the upper tier of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, but he’s eager to see how they respond to the challenge of swimming against quality teams throughout the league.
“We’re real competitive with most of the league, and we’ll see how we’ll handle the pressure,” said Rile.