CARLISLE — Carlisle swimming is not known as a powerhouse, but 2017 graduate Devon Chenot and current senior Isaiah Bell gave the Thundering Herd a quality 1-2 punch in freestyle sprints in recent years.
And while Carlisle’s Mid-Penn Commonwealth record has slid from 3-3 to 1-5 the past three seasons, Bell has enjoyed the challenge of trying to lift up a program.
And that’s part of the reason he is so excited to join Delaware’s NCAA Division I swim program next fall. Bell committed to the Blue Hens in mid-October, signing on for what he hopes will be a successful rebuild.
“The coaches have a good vision for turning around Delaware swimming, and they said our class would be monumental in making it a new program,” Bell said Wednesday at Carlisle High School’s early national signing day ceremony. “So, I really saw a lot of potential.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t mind having to kind of rebuild a team. The idea of being able to say you helped make history for a team is kind of cool.”
The sprint freestyle specialist also considered North Carolina-Wilmington, but eventually chose UD because he “felt so natural” during his visit and didn’t feel like the team was trying to sell him a pitch. He plans to major in exercise science to eventually become a coach.
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Bell said his recruitment started sophomore year, when he qualified for the PIAA Class 3A championships and was a medalist in District 3. He did the same junior year with Chenot. Bell first reached out to the Blue Hens this summer and the recruitment took off from there.
“I really liked the campus, it’s a unique place,” he said. “You go through the middle of nowhere and then all of a sudden you’re in this big kind of city area.”
Bell is hoping to qualify once again for states as a senior. The Herd project to have some new pieces back that used to swim at the Carlisle YMCA but have been away for a few years, Bell said.
“I think the season’s going to be fun,” he said.
Delaware, which competes in the Colonial Athletic Association, is helmed by first-year head coach Pablo Marmolejo, who was previously an assistant with the Blue Hens and the Mexican National Team. The UD men are currently 0-3 and went 2-9 last season, finishing last in the CAA Championships.