Somewhat improbably, within the first week of the winter season, we have swim previews ready to go. For this year’s outlook, I touched base with the youthful but talented ranks of Haverford School, led by Matt Haigh’s stellar summer. You can read all about them here, and I also pondered for print five of the biggest questions I’ll be looking to see answered this swim season. Expect an expanded Super 7 early next week.
Beyond the print package, here’s a look at the prospects of each team in the county and some important names to watch.
Radnor will have three major contributors to replace from last year’s squad, but they return three-quarters of the PIAA-qualifying 200 freestyle relay in Tim Caulfied, Steve Giannella and Brian McKeon. That group doesn’t include arguably their best all-around swimmer in Eli Avart, who made states in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke last year, qualifying for the B final in the former. With Avart’s stroke prowess, Giannelli’s versatility and senior breaststroker Eun Soo Park, the Raiders could make a potent case for two relays at states.
The dual-meet depth will be provided by distance specialists Rich Patten and Stefan Floeter, both seniors on a veteran squad. Freestyler Clayton Bowes will also be in the sprint mix, while Keenen Doyle will push Park for the breaststroke relay spot.
The senior class that Haverford has just bid farewell to, one that included two-time All-Delco distance specialist Connor Hart and state-qualifying backstroker Brendan Ryan, will be difficult to replace.
But coach Matt Stewart is hopeful that the next generation is ready.
Senior Jimmy Turley (distance free), Kevin Martin (sprint free/fly) and Zack Nelson (IM/breast) will be called upon to lead, while junior mid-distance freestyler Dan Lawrey and versatile sophomore Matt Phillips will each assume larger roles. The Fords also have a potent diving pairing in Steve Szathmary and Will Canny.
Garnet Valley coach Clark Bickling has the luxury of tailoring his plan this season around a pair of states qualifiers in sprinter Andrew Woerth and distance specialist and Seton Hall signee Ivan Michalovic. Joe Sacht will provide depth to a team with excellent top-end talent, and newcomers Alex Mitchell (IMer) and Shane Scudder (free) help swell the ranks.
One weapon for the Jaguars this year is a deep diving contingent that includes 10 boys, headlined by districts qualifier Dean Allred and fellow seniors Nigel Moore and Gray McKee.
Penncrest also returns a sturdy core, paced by All-Delco Philip Nawn, a West Chester signee. Along with juniors Daniel Rosenberger, Liam Nawn and Mike Paul, the Lions have threats at just about every event, including multiple IMers and the 1-2 distance punch from the Nawns.
Rebuilding is the mantra at Ridley, where 12 seniors depart, foremost among them states qualifier Joe Vannucci (Scranton). With the return of former girls coach Kevin Pierce to head the boys program, the hope is that new talents will emerge quickly.
Senior captains Nick Foltz and James McTighe will help fill the leadership void, while sophomore all-arounder Donnie Taziole is one of the names to watch. Juniors Brian Sylvestri and Brett Korn will be in the thick of things for the Green Raiders, and they boast proven divers in Gene Gibbons and Ricky VanValdricken.
Strath Haven’s boys might not possess the type of firepower as the girls team, but it contains enough steady swimmers to win meets and rise to the middle of the Central League pack.
The most talent might be in the sophomore class, which features Oliver Yancey, distance specialist Colin Brennan and sprinter Michael Scott. Freshmen Sean Adams and Jacob Booth are also part of the promising underclassmen contingent.
Those youthful talents will buoy a solid senior class, including Ben Wolters, Nick Pappas, Dalton Leach and Andrew Restrepo.
Marple Newtown hopes to have a new direction under first-year coach and alum Tom Keer, who returns home after 20 years of coaching experience in Florida. Despite losing 12 seniors, there are plenty of pieces back from a 3-8 run through the Central League last season.
Among the returnees are junior states hopeful Johnny Truax and senior captains Kyle Bohn and Luke Megonigal. Ron Feinberg, Eric Barnes, Tommy Peel and Tad Lyon are also in the fold, while junior distance specialist Dylan Keer and freshman backstroker Vahan Hovanessian will also chip in.
Upper Darby will once again be a young team. They boast only two seniors, among them freestyler Andrew Karsh, while Caleb Lehman is the most notable name in the junior class.
The contributions will skew toward the younger side, with sophomores Will Olmstead and Joey Vizzarri and promising freshmen Jack McConnell, Malachi Lehman and Jake Muldoon.
The main thrust of Springfield’s success will come from a varied sophomore class. IMer Dave Hentnick, sprinter Ryan Smith and backstroker Jack Booth will be among the main contributors for the Cougars, complementing the abilities of senior Wil Seifried.
Episcopal Academy has a potent 1-2 punch in senior Waylon Jin and junior All-Delco Ben Baturka. Between them, the Churchmen have the versatility to cover the sprints, all four strokes and the IM.
The Churchmen also possess two of the better divers in the state, with three-time All-Delco and Duke-bound senior Josh Owsiany and his younger brother, Andrew, a junior.
Defections are few and far between for Chichester, which returns both Reimers brothers, Adrian and John, as well as Zach SantaMaria, Joe Kok and Jake Lancianese.
Freestyler Grant Michaels will be a name to watch for Sun Valley this season, with also returns sophomore Brendan Skwirut.
Despite losing states qualifier Dave Ciavarelli, there are plenty of veterans who return for Cardinal O’Hara, especially on the sprint side. Jack Gibson, Conor Hassard and Cullen Boyle give O’Hara the core of some solid relays.
Danny Dwyer and Jack Ellis compose the veteran core for Bonner-Prendergast. They’ll hope to augment that with freestyler Alec Lynch, IMer Theo Greiner and breaststroker Tom Lusch.
The numbers are down for Archbishop Carroll’s boys team this season, but there’s some youthful talent to keep an eye on. Freshmen Daniel Kline and Sincere Gibbs, plus sophomores Thomas Patota and Anthony Sabol will look to build beyond just this season.