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DLN boys swimming previews: Local teams looking strong this winter

As the Chester County high school boys swimming teams enter the 2022-23 season, two squads that are coming off great 2021-22 campaigns are Malvern Prep, which finished fourth at Easterns last winter, and Conestoga, which placed fifth at the PIAA 3A state championships.
Here’s a look at the local high school boys’ swimming teams as they enter the 2022-23 season:
Malvern Prep: The Friars return a deep lineup this winter, including senior Ben Kutufaris (100 and 200 freestyle), senior Tom Moul (100 fly and 200 IM), senior Brady Tierney (200 and 500 free), junior Davis Woerner (50 free, 100 breaststroke) and freshman Alex deVries (200 and 500 freestyle).
Other Friar swimmers to watch include sophomore Nolan Murphy (200 IM and 100 back), senior Miles Conn (200 and 500 freestyle), junior Colby Weaver (100 and 200 freestyle), sophomore Jacob Nowoswiat (100 breaststroke and 200 IM) and junior diver Louis DelFra.
“Our main strength is that we have depth from both our club and non-club athletes,” said Malvern Prep swim head coach Bethany Dewitt. “Since high school swimming allows the top five to score in each event, we count on every athlete being ready to go in their swimming event or on the boards. We are looking forward to a great 22-23 winter season.”
Conestoga: The Pioneers, who graduated 11 seniors last spring, is led this winter by junior Jake Wang, who finished first in the boys 100 breast (54.95) and placed third in the boys 200 IM at States, was part of the Pioneers’ first-place boys 200 medley relay (1:32.53) and fourth-place boys 400 free relay at States, and was the Boys Swimmer of the Meet at the District 1 3A Championships as well as Central League Boys Swimmer of the Year.
“Jake is very versatile and can swim any event, but his focus will be on breaststroke and IM,” said Conestoga boys swimming head coach Mark Tirone.
Other key returning swimmers for the Pioneers are junior John Yeniay, junior Brock Whitaker, senior Noel Park and senior Andrew Zhang.
“John is very versatile, but will focus on 200 and 500 freestyle and 100 butterfly,” said Tirone. “Brock is primarily freestyle and 100 butterfly. Noel is primarily distance freestyle. Andrew is very versatile, but will focus on distance freestyle and 100 backstroke.”
Other swimmers to watch include sophomore Stanley Cui (breaststroke and IM), sophomore Hutch Wood (50 free, 100 free, 100 butterfly) and senior Derek Fung (breaststroke).
“I am hoping to have depth in all the events,” said Tirone. “I feel we have enough depth and will be able to have our second and third swimmers finish in the top four to out-scoring our opponent in most events.”
Avon Grove: The Red Devils will be led by versatile sophomore Nate Kidder, a district and state qualifier who head coach Kelly Burk said, “can really swim any event for us.” Other key returnees include senior Jacob Texter (500 free and IM), a district qualifier; senior Jason Reuter (sprint frees and 100 breaststroke); and sophomores Nick Giacometti and Ben Texter, who will add depth to various events. Sophomore Karl Mace moved from Michigan and will be the Red Devils’ lone diver.
“Our boys are looking to go out there and race – we hope to qualify a relay for districts as well as individual qualifiers to districts,” said Burk.
Bishop Shanahan: Key returnees for the Eagles include senior Matt Carpenter (50 free, 100 free) a district qualifier the past three years, and sophomore Jayden Snook (100 back, 100 breast), a district qualifier last year. Two other swimmers to watch are sophomores Owen Eusemann (200 free, 100 back) and Eamon Welsh (200 IM, 200 free).
Devon Prep: The Tide features a small squad, with only five high school swimmers, led by senior captains Reagan Megow (200 IM, 100 back, 500 free) and Gavin Smith (50 free, 100 breast, 200 free).
“Our team is looking to build on the momentum created last year,” said first year coach Katie Trainor. “We are seeking to be competitive in each and every event.”
Downingtown East: The Cougars, under new head coach Kirsten Snyder, have a solid number of returnees, including junior captain Gabe Carroll (free, fly), sophomore Matt DiAddezio (breast, IM), senior George Liu (free, fly), senior captain Luke Sperling (back, free) and junior Jack Thompson (free, breast).
Other Cougars to watch include freshman Andrew Fulton, junior Lucas Respicio (fly, free), sophomore Niall Richards-Indro (back, free) and freshman Sam Sperling.
“Our team is guided by upperclassmen with extensive big meet experience who set a strong example of work ethic for the new group of swimmers,” said Snyder. “Despite limited time for practice together, the team is working on building their comradery and ready to start the season. Captains Gabe Carroll and Luke Sperling provide pivotal leadership for the younger members of the team.”
Downingtown West: The Whippets will be led by seniors Ike Durkin (100 breaststroke), Joshua Miller (50 free, 100 free), Zachary Mourar (100 fly), Nathan Reynolds (100 breaststroke) and Jack Taylor (50 free, 100 free). D-West coach Dan Casey said, “The seniors on our team will play a big part is creating a positive atmosphere and culture. They will help guide the team through strong leadership by example. We look forward to seeing what the freshman class brings to the team in and out of the pool — we have no returning district qualifiers but we hope some swimmers rise to the challenge this season.”
Great Valley: The Patriots have a new head coach, Ashlyn Marabella, and she is assisted by Alex Venarchik. Key returnees for Great Valley include Stanley Sha (100 fly, 200 free, 100 back), sophomore Patrick Li (100 fly, 200 IM, 200 free). Last winter, Li competed in Districts in the 200 IM and 100 fly.
“We have a young team and new coaches, in addition, we have a lot of newer swimmers,” said Marabella. “This year we are building our foundational skills and our team community. Both myself and Coach Venarchik have been so impressed with the positivity and willingness to help each other this team has shown so this early in the season.”
Kennett: Key returnees for the Blue Demons include senior Erik Floren Smith (freestyle), junior Gabe Summa (butterfly, backstroke), junior Luke Myers (backstroke) and junior Alex Fialkowski (freestyle, butterfly).
Oxford: The Hornets are led by senior Alex Karahalis, who finished fourth in the 100 fly and fifth in 100 breast at States, and first in 100 fly (49.32) and second in 100 breast at Districts. Two other solid returning swimmers are junior Noah Topmiller and senior Andrew Hinkley, who were part of Oxford’s 400 free relay team that qualified for Districts and States.
Oxford head coach Chrissy Reinard noted that the Hornets have increased their roster size from last winter, with a promising group of incoming freshmen.
“We are an even mix of non club and club swimmers, with many who are new to the sport,” said Reinard. “The goal for the team is for each swimmer to become stronger and improve with each practice and meet. We are so excited to have so many new faces join us in the water. We look forward to seeing where this new journey takes us.”
Unionville: The Longhorns are looking forward to a good season with their two district qualifiers returning, senior Ernesto Solana (freestyle, backstroke), and senior Matt McClellan (backstroke).
“We’re also looking forward to senior Harrison Kachel having a good season in the 50 free,” said Longhorn head coach Mike Mangan. “We hope to make a strong showing in the league this year.”
West Chester East: The Vikings are led by a trio of returning swimmers, senior Gavin Heffernan (freestyle), junior Giuliano Bucciarelli (butterfly, backstroke, freestyle) and senior diver Brendan Ryan.
“Our team will be young and inexperienced but with Brendan, Gavin and Giuliano’s leadership, we are confident that our goals will be achieved,” said East swim coach Bethann Carozza.
West Chester Henderson: The Warriors are a young squad that features some promising returning swimmers, including sophomores Colin Smolders (IM, free), Eddie Stoltz (back, free, fly) and Finn Lukens (breast, free, IM), junior Vedant Bedekar (free, back, IM) and senior diver Sam Gilman. Another swimmers to watch is freshman Sean Dillon (free, IM, back).
“Some of our returning swimmers got some valuable experience at the District and State level last season,” said Henderson head coach Jeff Bott. “Individually, and collectively, those are areas to draw from as this season moves along. Similar to our girls team, the majority of the team is underclassmen, so continuing to develop as a team will be of utmost importance.”
West Chester Rustin: The Golden Knights have three key returning swimmers – junior AJ Chapman (100 back, 100 fly, 500 free, 100 free), sophomore George Harkins (200 IM, 100 fly) and sophomore Sebastian Hess (100 back, 100 free).
Rustin head coach Kiera Shanahan said, “AJ has a long-term goal mindset, and he works hard every day. George split priority between track and swimming last year, and has now dedicated his time towards swimming all year with a club team, and I am very excited to see how that reflects into his season. Sebastian broke his foot headed into the post-season last winter; he qualified for Districts, but was unable to swim. I’m looking forward to him staying strong through the entirety of this season.
“As I am starting my second year with the team, I am learning the strengths of the group a lot quicker this year than I did last year. I am glad that we had a young team last year, and a lot of that talent stayed within the team. Team grit and learning what it means to make an individual sport feel more team-based in high school is super important – and the athletes seem to be catching on to that mentality and carrying it from the end of last year into the beginning of this year. Keeping high spirit and team pride is what makes high school swimming what it is, and can lead to strong outcomes across the board. I am excited to see what is in store for the season.”

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