A dedicated group of seniors joined by a crop of energetic underclassmen has the Belmont High School Boys’ Swimming team off to a confident start of the 2014-15 season.
After winning its first duel meets by significant margins against Arlington on Tuesday, Dec. 22 and Burlington a week earlier, Belmont Head Coach Bobby Reardon has high hopes for the squad as it has already equaled the number of wins it had in the past two years.
“It’s a great group of guys with a lot of swimming experience who have already stepped up. There is a lot of possibility because of their attitude and hard work,” said Reardon, who believes that this year’s team could send at a minimum of five swimmers to the state championship (last year only three went) and an entire complement of three relay teams.
Reardon said the team currently tops 35 members which is the most the squad has had in years, coming off last season which saw the team’s home pool, the Higgenbottom at the Wenner Field House, being lost due to electrical and pump issues.
“The team has a very diverse background with some who have swum competitively for years and others who are essentially self-taught who have swum in legal events,” he said.
Leading the way this year will be the team’s senior captains: Jake Carr, Dan Quinn, Ryan Touzjian, Brian Smith and Tom Zembowicz.
They are proven leaders and they each do some practical things for the team such as keep statistics and lead the team exercise. They are going above and beyond what is expected,” said Reardon.
Joining the team this season includes a group of athletes with significant swimming backgrounds including Anthony Bulat, Ian Traxler, Nate Green, Will Findley, Bruce Westgate and Max Turkowski. They join a crew of strong swimmers that include Owen Luo, Erik Uhlmann, Ben Ackerson, Langston Chen, Eli Bai, Tom Choy and Spencer Fan.
In addition, Reardon praised “our core group” of swimmers –Jack Stewart, Bo Lan and Alex Sun – who came to each practice and meet despite the closure of the pool.
There are three divers this year: Sam Bozkurtian (first-year diving), Trevor Corning (second year) and Avery Pullman (first year) who will be coached by junior manager Cynthia Kelsey, Belmont’s record-setting girls’ diver who placed second and third in consecutive state championships.
In the Arlington meet, Zembowicz won the 200 individual medley, the 100 butterfly and was on the winning 200 medley relay. Newcomer Traxler took the distant events, the 200 and 500 free, while Touzjian won the free sprints, the 50 and 100.
While off to a great start, Reardon – who is assisted this season by Harry Delgado – knows the rest of the season will bring greater tests to his team.
“Obviously we have a hard road ahead as we’ll meet much deeper programs,” said Reardon.
“But we’re going to surprise them; Belmont will be a team that they have to be on their toes to beat,” he said.