Whitehall-Coplay Press

Thursday, February 27, 2020
Sebastian Solarte returns for his senior season this year. Copyright - DIGITAL_MEDIA_MAGIC_LLC Sebastian Solarte returns for his senior season this year. Copyright - DIGITAL_MEDIA_MAGIC_LLC

Numbers improve for WHS boys

Thursday, December 5, 2019 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

For most of his tenure, head coach Pete Rile has been tasked with molding a boys swim team with limited numbers at his disposal.

That’s not the case this year, and the explosion of willing participants to dive into the sport has swelled to possibly 25 swimmers. Rile said that in prior years, the most they’ve ever had was 12, and by the end of the swimming season, that number got whittled down to eight.

As they’ve begun to prepare for the upcoming season, he said that 16 boys are currently on the active roster with the potential to reach that targeted 25.

“Our numbers are phenomenal, and the increase is excellent,” said Rile.

He described the current crop as athletes and not purely swimmers.

He credits the enthusiasm of junior Brandon Deutsch, a returning swimmer and district participant in last year’s 200 freestyle relay, for recruiting “other sports kids.” Rile said that his effort has given them a huge bump of junior swimmers, and along with some incoming freshmen, as well as their returning group of established vets, Rile said that it’s going to be a very interesting year for the boys.

Those returning vets include seniors Nic Martinovic, Sebastian Solarte and Ahmed Hamada. That trio, along with juniors Deutsch and Connor Barnes, will give them a lot of experience and form the basis of their success this season. In addition to Deutsch, Hamada competed in the 200 freestyle relay at last year’s D-11 meet.

Solarte excelled in the shorter races, particular the 100 butterfly where his strength and stamina made him a point producer all season. Martinovic, whose times in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke, qualified him for the last year’s postseason championships, will once again be solid performer for the Zephs, a swimmer who’ll be counted on to capture points this season.

Riles said he’s counting on them to hold this group of novice swimmers together. And that team could be something to watch given the amount of boys competing for the maroon and gold.

“The numbers is the big improvement,” said Rile.

Those who look to contribute this season will be senior Alberto Cervoni, along with juniors Peter Busch, Jacob Busch, Matthew Hilbert, Justin Lesperance, Jakob Schlosser and Abraham Tabarini. Freshmen looking to make waves include Kenny Dai, Joseph Marucci, Billy Stergianopoulos and Wayne Streat.

While they may be raw in the fundamentals, Rile said that their athleticism gives them a good base upon which to work.

“We believe they’re athletes, and we believe we can teach them swimming,” Rile said.

He said that their goal is to be competitive and fill every event. That’s something he believes they’re capable of at this stage of their preparation for the upcoming season.

He said district qualifiers and school records are on the back burner as they look to develop this large pool of swimmers.

“That’s what I’m thinking,” he said.