Quinn Perlstein swims the backstroke in the boys' 200 yard individual medley relay in Tuesday's home meet against Pottsgrove. Perlstein also participated in the 200 freestyle relay which his team won first.
Easy victories by the Upper Perkiomen boys and girls swim teams over Pottsgrove on Tuesday merely served as prelude for an emotional Senior Night ceremony for the soon-to-be graduating members of the program.
Eight members of the team swam their last events in the Upper Perk natatorium as the girls thrashed the Falcons 90-62 and the boys won 86-73.
The seniors then joined their parents for a recognition ceremony and a chance to reflect on how far the program has come in four years before having to turn their attentions back to tapering for post-season swimming.
After the ceremony, coach Missy Peart was effusive in her praise of the team’s 12th graders.
“They were all very dedicated. They’re brilliant kids, dedicated kids. They’re very easy to coach. We could ask them to swim 25,000 yards, and I think they’d do it.
“These seniors have taken a team that didn’t have any unity (when they were freshmen); they didn’t cheer for each other. The seniors have done it themselves, and they got a great team. They’re great leaders.”
As they have all season, Felicia Sloyer and Lindsey Brust, the only two senior girls, played large roles in the win over Pottsgrove.
Sloyer took firsts in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke and swam on the victorious 200 medley relay and 400 free relay teams.
Brust was the winner in the 50 free and the 100 free, and anchored the first place 200 medley relay and winning 200 free relay team.
Both are going to miss the camaraderie of the team.
“The swim team is like a family,” Brust said. “It’s the closest team I’ve ever been on. We’re always there for each other, pushing each other to do our best.”
Sloyer expressed the mixed emotions the seniors are feeling as they prepare for what could be an outstanding post-season.
“District practices are a lot different. We do a lot less yardage and everything, but it also means coming down to the end of swimming and senior year. It’s really sad.”
On the boys side Jody Peart, son of Missy, was one of six finishing their home careers on Tuesday.
“I’ve been doing this since I was six. The past couple of years, it’s just something I’ve enjoyed, and it’s going to be missed.”
Maggie Frank surfaces as she swims the butterfly in the girls' 200 medley relay. Frank finished third in the event.
Both strong-willed people, mother and son found ways to co-exist in their coach/mom, swimmer/son roles.
Swimming for his mother was “different” for Jody, but ultimately rewarding. “She understands me more (than another coach might). She knows when to push me, when to lean off.”
Mom said, “There were definitely times where it was hard to be the mom to the kid who is screwing off in practice. I think if he had his druthers he wouldn’t have swam, but I think he’s glad he did.”
“He went from being a defensive end and offensive lineman to swimming, so I give him a lot of credit for doing that.”
Jody and his fellow seniors, Colin Junk, Zak Kibler, Matt Rose, Blade Umstead, and Jordan Williams, still have a lot of swimming to do.