Home Local Sports Salesianum School keeps DIAA boys swimming championship, with Saint Mark’s High School...

Salesianum School keeps DIAA boys swimming championship, with Saint Mark’s High School taking second: Photo gallery

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Salesianum's Tim Hanway swims to victory in the 500-yard freestyle. The Sals won the title for the eighth straight season. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

NEWARK — The road to the championship may have looked a little different, but for the Salesianum swimming team, the destination was the same. The Sals used their superior depth to build an insurmountable lead as they captured their eighth straight Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association title on Feb. 24 at Rawstrom Natatorium at the University of Delaware.

Salesianum outdistanced Saint Mark’s, and Sanford came in third. For the Sals, it was the program’s 40th state championship.

Of the 18 Salesianum swimmers who competed in the preliminary meet a few days before the final, 14 advanced to the championship, Sallies coach Chip Hannig said. The Sals had three teams in the “A” relay finals, which include the top eight qualifiers from preliminaries. The 14 swimmers who advanced filled 12 slots in the A finals in the individual events, while 14 competed in the “B” finals, which is the second set of eight from the prelims. All 16 positions earn points toward the team score.

“That’s where the depth shows up,” Hannig said. “We kept racking up all those little points, and they just keep adding up.”

Senior Bryce Patterson said the current Sals encourage up-and-coming swimmers to join them by explaining how important each member of the team is. Salesianum had just two wins in the final, one in the first event, the 200-yard medley relay, and the other from Tim Hanway in the 500-yard freestyle.

“Some guys know what we’re about. It helps with people that we know in club swimming and all that to encourage them to come with us so our depth gets better and better,” said Patterson, who swam a leg of the medley relay and came in second in the 100-yard backstroke.

“It really matters who we have in those B finals, those A finals. It really doesn’t matter about winning (individual events).”

Besides the two winning efforts and Patterson’s runner-up finish, Hanway came in third in the 200 free. The 200-yard free relay team of Dylan Ristenbatt, Nate Miller, Sebastian Hess and Alex Tsakumis was third, and the 400 free relay team — which includes the same four swimmers in the same order — was second.

Saint Mark’s has been building up some depth of its own the past few years, and the Spartans capitalized with a runner-up showing that included a state record in the 200-yard freestyle relay. That team, which finished in 1:26.50, consisted of Cameron Byrd, Nick Lennon, Sean Kemske and Kevin Waldron.

“We wanted that. That’s what we came for,” said Waldron, a senior.

The Spartans knew coming in that taking the team title would be a big ask. But there was no hanging of heads among the group that qualified for the championship meet.

“We wanted first place, but Sallies just had too much depth. I think we did great considering our odds,” Waldron said.

Saint Mark’s coach Rob Maegerle has watched his team grow through some lean years, and he was all smiles as coaches and swimmers from other schools stopped to offer their congratulations.

Waldron was second in the 50-yard freestyle, a mere .05 behind M.J. Hoban of Sanford. Byrd took second in the 100-yard butterfly.

“We brought 10 guys to this dance, and they all swam their hearts out,” Maegerle said. “We had goals at the beginning of the year, and we really worked. We wanted those relays. Hats off to the kids. I’m so happy for all they accomplished. Eighteen swimmers on the team, we brought 10 to the states.”

Most of the team will be returning next season, and Maegerle is optimistic.

“We’ve got a great future. Got a lot of guys who stepped up. As long as we keep bringing in pieces, I don’t see us going anywhere,” he said.

The Sals’ Patterson said he likes having Saint Mark’s as a contender in swimming. Having them in the next lane “gave me more energy. It showed in the pool.”

Archmere placed 15th overall. Logan Bustard came in sixth in the 50 free and seventh in the 100 free.

Photos by Mike Lang.