Boys Swimming: Strath Haven’s relay achieves goal in big way

In the interest of full disclosure, the win by the Strath Haven boys 200 freestyle relay was in line to be the lede to my coverage of the Central League Championships Saturday. Then the girls team went and did this. So most of this didn’t see the light of day. But there are some intriguing storylines behind the team that bear further mention:

Tom Platt's sprinting punch is vital to Strath Haven's relay plans. (Times Staff / JULIA WILKINSON)

Tom Platt’s sprinting punch is vital to Strath Haven’s relay plans. (Times Staff / JULIA WILKINSON)

All season, the Strath Haven boys 200 freestyle relay had been chasing an automatic cut for the District One Championships.

Entering Saturday, they were hovering just over three tenths outside of the mark. The time drop they used to get there, though, exceeded even their hopes.

The team of Ben Wolters, Bailey Williamson, Tom Platt and Clay Resweber not only got under the districts standard, but they ended up with an upset win in a time of 1:29.88 (video of the race is here).

Resweber got his hand to the wall ahead of a crowd, with Haverford (1:29.99), Radnor (1:30.84) and Upper Darby (1:30.95) all in hot pursuit.

Keying the victory was Wolters, who started out with a personal-best split of 22.97 seconds that Platt admitted “set the tone” for the team. Williamson followed with a 23.20, and next was Platt, a sprinter by trade who took third in the 50 and second in the 100, with a 22.16.

Already on pace for their time goal, the win was booked by Resweber on the anchor leg and his sprint of 21.55 seconds, not bad for someone who’s used to competing over longer distances.

“It’s definitely a bigger-kid event,” Resweber said. “It’s kind of hard for me to get up and swim with some of the bigger, stronger kids. I know I’ve just got to get up there, get going immediately, so I just don’t hold anything back and I’m just trying to attack it from the front. It’s just two laps of all-out sprinting.”

There’s still work to be done for the Panthers as they head toward districts. Wolters likely did enough to solidify his spot, but the audition is open for the fourth and final spot. Though Williamson acquitted himself well, teammate Ellis Driscoll turned in a markedly faster split (22.84) off the end of Haven’s “B” medley relay.

That uncertainty puts the onus on Platt and Resweber on the back-half, but it’s something they’re used to. And by the looks of it, that brings out the best in them.

“Basically, it’s just trying our hardest,” Platt said. “Every time we swam, we’re basically trying to go best times. Clay is definitely a huge help. He changes things, and then it’s just going as hard as you can the rest of the relay.”

As for the winners’ trophy, that’s just an added boost.

“It’s big,” Resweber said. “The Central League, there’s a lot of good teams that can put up a lot of good relays. To be able to take one home like that means we have a really good team, the kids all worked hard and that we all have really good speed.”

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