BY DAN STICKRADT
ROCHESTER — Rome wasn’t built over night.
That’s where veteran Paul Karas see his Rochester boys swimming and diving team at the present time. The Falcons are a work in progress during this rebuilding campaign.
“We’re getting better,” said Karas. “We’ve come a long ways since the beginning of the season. But we’re very young. We do have 12 seniors, but not a lot of experience within that group. We do have a large team and some young kids that work hard.”
The Falcons entered February with a less-than-stellar 1-5 overall dual meet record, including 0-4 in the OAA White Division.
“We’ve been competitive,” said Karas, who is joined by alumni Alycen Wiacek and diving coach Jenifer Blitz on the coaching staff. “We haven’t been killed in a lot of our meets. We’re just young.”
Karas took a realistic approach to this rebuilding season and knew his team would not be competing for championships. Last year the Falcons were third in the OAA-White with a senior-heavy team.
Sophomore Peter Corsetti and has already qualified for the Division 2 state finals in multiple events this season, including the 50 free, 100 free, 200 free and the 100 backstroke. He was league champion in the 100 free last season.
Junior diver Ryan Maloney was a state qualifier last season and hopes to make the cut this year as well. Beyond that, Rochester has its work cut out for it in terms of getting anyone else to the state meet.
“It’s not impossible. I’ve seen kids make great strides before, but we don’t really have anyone else that is that close right now,” said Karas. “But what I like about this team is that they are working hard and getting better. That’s all you can ask of them. We’ve already had some kids come a long ways since the beginning of the season.”
Seniors Karan Kataria and Hamza Kaakarli are two other swimmers that have posted some quality finishes this season. Senior Nick Greiner and juniors Erik Williams, Scott Stewart and Matt Moffitt have also contributed in a variety of events.
“We’re shooting for the league meet in late February and hopefully have some guys really step up. I don’t we’ll be able to finish ahead of some of the schools in our league,” said Karas. “We hope to have a couple of surprises at the end of the year.”