Reading Rockets Boys Winter Swim Preview 2023-2024

READING, MA — Hall of Fame coach Ken Holbrook is entering his 31st season with the Reading Boys Swim team and will be assisted again by Ryan Sacco. Having graduated three Middlesex League All-Stars last season, he has two returning Middlesex League All-Stars to head up this season’s team. The Rockets are led by four senior captains: Noah Benedict, Owen Gaffen, William Strack, and Alex Zhang.

Captains Left to Right 
Owen Gaffen, Alex Zhang, Will Strack and Noah Benedict

Junior Liam Green will set the pace for the Rockets this year. He qualified for State Division I championships in the 100-yard Breaststroke last year and just missed qualifying in the 200-yard Individual Medley. He can swim in almost any event. The Middlesex League All-Stars returning from last year are juniors Andrew McCarthy and Rory O’Neill. McCarthy will swim the 100-yard Butterfly, 100-yard Breaststroke, and Freestyle events. O’Neill can swim any event, primarily 50, 100, and 200-yard freestyles.

Sophomore standout Aidan Herlihy was the number one 200-yard and 500-yard freestyler last season and expects to repeat that this year. He finished number one in the 100-yard Backstroke Time Trials. 

The team is made up of 16 returning swimmers and three rookies. Others who have shown well in time trials are Thomas Cockrell, Leo Diedrich, David McCann, and Strack. Of the three newcomers, Kai Richardson has shown the most promise so far. He was fifth in 50-yard Backstroke trials.

Holbrook says he thinks his team is a little weaker than last year but hopes to come close to last winter’s results when his team finished second in the Middlesex League dual meet season, finishing 13th of 36 teams at North Sectionals and 13th of 55 teams at Division I State Championships.

The Rockets have their season opener at Newton North High School this Thursday, December 14, with their home opener the next night at Burbank YMCA.

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