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Team leaders and member turnout gear boys’ swim team toward successful season

LAUNCH+-+At+the+start+of+the+boys%E2%80%99+400+free+relay%2C+senior+Josh+Zelinsky%2C+middle%2C+dives+into+the+pool.+The+relay+team+of+Zelinsky%2C+juniors+Zach+Turnitza+and+Jordan+Young+and+freshman+Zaidian+Vanorden+set+the+record+with+a+time+of+3%3A28.8+at+the+Schuylkill+Sprint+meet+held+January+6+at+the+Ned+Hampford+Natatorium.+%E2%80%9CWe+are+using+setting+the+record+to+drive+us+to+win+districts.+We+all+have+been+working+very+hard+to+get+this%2C%E2%80%9D+Zelinsky+said.+%E2%80%9CThese+accomplishments+aren%E2%80%99t+just+for+us+-+they%E2%80%99re+for+Coach+Ned+Hampford+as+well.+He+is+the+real+motivation+for+our+success.%E2%80%9D%0A
LAUNCH - At the start of the boys’ 400 free relay, senior Josh Zelinsky, middle, dives into the pool. The relay team of Zelinsky, juniors Zach Turnitza and Jordan Young and freshman Zaidian Vanorden set the record with a time of 3:28.8 at the Schuylkill Sprint meet held January 6 at the Ned Hampford Natatorium. “We are using setting the record to drive us to win districts. We all have been working very hard to get this,” Zelinsky said. “These accomplishments aren’t just for us - they’re for Coach Ned Hampford as well. He is the real motivation for our success.”

LAUNCH - At the start of the boys’ 400 free relay, senior Josh Zelinsky, middle, dives into the pool. The relay team of Zelinsky, juniors Zach Turnitza and Jordan Young and freshman Zaidian Vanorden set the record with a time of 3:28.8 at the Schuylkill Sprint meet held January 6 at the Ned Hampford Natatorium. “We are using setting the record to drive us to win districts. We all have been working very hard to get this,” Zelinsky said. “These accomplishments aren’t just for us - they’re for Coach Ned Hampford as well. He is the real motivation for our success.”

Max Kelly

Max Kelly

LAUNCH - At the start of the boys’ 400 free relay, senior Josh Zelinsky, middle, dives into the pool. The relay team of Zelinsky, juniors Zach Turnitza and Jordan Young and freshman Zaidian Vanorden set the record with a time of 3:28.8 at the Schuylkill Sprint meet held January 6 at the Ned Hampford Natatorium. “We are using setting the record to drive us to win districts. We all have been working very hard to get this,” Zelinsky said. “These accomplishments aren’t just for us - they’re for Coach Ned Hampford as well. He is the real motivation for our success.”

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The end of the 2017 swim season brought some negatives for the boys’ swim team: sharing the Schuylkill League Championship title with rival Blue Mountain and losing of one of the most talented swim team members in Mike Smerlick, a 2017 graduate, among others. But now, the team has something up its sleeves, and it is something that makes them practically unbeatable.

The boys’ team is stacked with members, both newcomers and returning swimmers, and started this season with one of the largest rosters the team has ever seen. Although newcomers often take time to adapt to the sport and “find their stroke,” they still play a crucial role in filling the three lanes each team is alloted in a race, and some like freshman Danny Albertini have been able to get a couple of points up on the board for the team. When there is a big meet, like the one against Blue Mountain January 22, which resulted in a 100-86 win for the boys, every point counts.

“What I’ve taken from the experience [of swimming] is that I actually enjoy the sport. When I joined, I didn’t know if I would or not. I have also made a lot of new friends,” Albertini said. “I hope to improve for next year by dropping my times and making it to Districts.”

The team has really been relying on its returning members to get the big point values up on the board, and these returnees bring a lot of talent to the table. Of the 17 returning members, 12 have already qualified for the District XI meet held in March. The returning members have been working together to get more people into the weight room to build strength outside of the water and have been emphasizing the importance of 6 a.m. optional practices, all while focusing on their own personal improvements and winning the league title.

Junior Zach Turnitza, a three-time district qualifier for the boys’ team, rarely misses an optional practice and shared how the boys have had a fairly significant turnaround since last season in regards to practicing and overall effort.

“This year, [some] of the guys started to include more volumes in their training with extra sets after meets or practices and going to morning workouts. With the extra work, many of those guys started to swim better times, and with better times and more team members than last year, we have won every meet so far,” Turnitza said.

One accomplishment that the boys’ team has this season is breaking the Schuylkill Sprint Meet record January 6. The relay team of senior Josh Zelinsky, juniors Zach Turnitza and Jordan Young and freshman Zaidian Vanorden was able to break the 400 free relay record with a time of 3:28.8. Turnitza recounts being happy the day the record was broken, but being sad to not have gotten another record that day like they were hoping to due to a disqualification. Each of these members also played a key role in contributing to an undefeated season.

Even though the regular swim season is over, the boys are not done working hard. They are spending a lot of time in the water doing faster and higher-intensity workouts and a significant amount of time out of water focusing on lifting and building their strength. They have high expectations for the District XI meet held March 2 and 3 at Parkland High School and are projected to have an overall very successful meet filled with lots of individual and relay medals.

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