Boys also winners in meet
Felicia Sloyer swims the 200-yard freestyle and captures first in the event (2:11.16). She also took first in the 100-yard backstroke (1:06.11) during the home meet last Thursday against Pennridge.
After her ceremonial post-meet dunking in the pool, Upper Perk Swim coach Missy Peart was soaked but happy. Very happy. Eighteen swimmers had qualified for Districts, 21 had set personal bests and she had just watched the boys’ team dismantle Pennridge 101-65.
But what really had the joy flowing last Thursday was the girls 99-71 victory over the Rams.
“The meet was about the girls today, it was all about the girls,” Peart said. “The girls had to swim as a team to beat them and they swam as a team.”
The win was a measure of how far the girls’ team has come so far this year.
“I don’t remember the last time we beat Pennridge,” said senior Felicia Sloyer, who captured first in the 200-yard free style (2:11.16) and the 100-yard backstroke (1:06.11).
Sloyer was also on two relay teams that won their events. The 200-yard medley relay (Sloyer, Kristen Kilroy, Jackie Hammill, Lindsey Brust) got the meet started with a first at 2:02.6.
The 400-free relay team (Brust, Becca Rose, Hammill, Sloyer) ended it with a win in 4:04.20.
Brust, the only other senior on the team, also took a win in the 100 free (1:01.83) and was second in the 50 free (28.03).
Kilroy, a sophomore, was the winner in the 100 breaststroke in 1:16.61, while Hammill was the first place finisher (2:29.37) in the 200 individual medley with a stirring come-from-behind sprint in the freestyle leg.
Hammill is one of nine freshmen swimmers who have given the team an immeasurable boost.
“It’s just so amazing that this year we’re seeing freshmen make Districts in multiple events, and they’re just a major asset to the team,” Sloyer said. “They’re taking places in relays. It’s great.”
The boys continued their dominant swimming behind junior Mason Cassel who, like Sloyer, garnered two individual wins and was part of two relay wins. Cassel took top prize in the 200 free (1:57.02) and the butterfly (54.11)
The latter time is only slightly off his school record of 53.56, set last year at States.
“I’m feeling really good about my technique this year,” Cassel said, by way of explaining his phenomenal early season performance.
“I’m learning to stop popping out of the water in the butterfly, which is my main event. I usually come about a foot out of the water on every stroke that I take when I breathe and also my turns are getting a lot better; I’m learning to do them faster.”
Cassel was joined in the winner’s category by Zak Kibler who nipped teammate Quinn Perlstein in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.37 and 1:10.03 respectively). Kyle Himmelwright (51.01) led an Upper Perk sweep of the 100 free. Colin Junk (55.68) and Jody Peart (56.19) finished second and third.
“We had excellent starts today,” Peart said. “Our starts were awesome, killed them off the blocks. Our walls are our weapons.”
As the team approaches an early New Year showdown with top rival Boyertown, Peart is confident the team is doing all the right things.
“Each swimmer is probably a few seconds ahead of where they were last year. The kids have been practicing awesomely hard. We’ve added weight training this year. The kids are embracing it, and they’re doing a phenomenal job,” the second-year coach said.
Sloyer, for one, agrees that the team’s early season pace is a sign of even better things to come.
“I’m just really excited for the future outcome of this team, because I think it’s going great places,” she said.