Westmoreland County Senior Spotlight: Franklin Regional’s Aiden Bunker

Monday, March 20, 2023 | 12:47 PM

Franklin Regional secured its 27th boys swimming section title last month, continuing a dominant stretch for the team.

The WPIAL meet March 2-3 did not come with the same success, at least when it comes to first-place finishes. So while the Panthers did have a solid showing from several swimmers, the team used the meet as a measuring stick and as motivation to improve moving forward.

Senior Aiden Bunker competed in four events over the two-day competition, finishing as high as second place in the individual medley.

He also earned two third-place finishes on the team side in the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay.

“It was not our best showing, and we hoped for a little better performance,” Bunker said. “We’re now focused on states and looking forward to swimming fast there.”

Bunker reflected on his runner-up finish in the individual medley, which includes the backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle, and the work required to be good in all four strokes.

“I am (proud of) the fact that I can swim all four strokes,” Bunker said. “There is always room for improvement in any of the strokes for me.”

Bunker was part of a quartet last year that placed fifth at states in the 200 medley relay.

It was rewarding for Bunker to be involved in that success, but it only inspired him to get to that point again.

“Winning a medal at states, especially with my close friends, was such a great feeling,” Bunker said. “This year we’re looking to medal again.”

Bunker is going to swim at Villanova while also pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.

This week, Bunker took some time for a Senior Spotlight Q&A:

How did you get started with swimming?

I started swimming when I was around 6 years old, and I swam during the summer for the Murrysville Swim Club. I then began swimming with Franklin Area Swim Team year round and still swim with both teams today.

Why is Franklin Regional so good at relays?

Franklin has always had good relays because of how much we value the team aspect of the sport. Even though most events are individual, we are still a team and have to work together as a team to win dual meets and events like that.

What makes Franklin Regional successful year after year?

We have been successful for so long because of the younger kids that can come onto the team and help make a difference right away. It is also because of our coaches’ ability to help swimmers improve over their four years on the team and progressively help the team win.

What was the recruiting process like?

The recruiting process was a bit stressful, just reaching out to a lot of different schools. I chose Villanova because their academic programs line up with what I want to pursue and because of their great swim team. After I did a visit in the fall, I knew that was the place for me because of how I fit in with the team in such a short amount of time.

What is one thing that people might not know about you?

People may not know that I am very interested in space. I actually chose mechanical engineering because of the pathways that could lead to working for a company that is going to space. I would love to work at a company like SpaceX or NASA in the future.


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