Jackie Hammill took first in the 200 individual medley (2:31.79) and 100 fly (1:09.46).
The Upper Perk boys and girls swim teams got their seasons off the blocks with a sweep of Quakertown last Friday, giving new head coach Jessica Smith her first wins.
The final scores (boys 64-52, girls 73-38) were deceptively close against the numbers-challenged Panthers as the Tribe swam “exhibition” for the last third of the meet and did not take any points.
What was more telling was Upper Perk winning every race except one.
“I think my kids swam great,” Smith said. “They did as expected. We really wanted to start the season strong and we had a lot of swimmers who had a goal for themselves of a personal time, and we met a lot of those times, so it was a good solid start.”
Seniors Mason Cassel and Kyle Himmelwright did their usual dominant thing, each winning two individual races.
Cassel took the 200 freestyle (1:59.22) and 100 fly (55.98) while Himmelwright captured the 50 free (23.22) and 100 back (1:00.62). Not that it is a big deal for these two state swimmers last season, but all of their times qualified them for this year’s Districts.
Both were also on the 200 medley relay team which qualified in 1:45.24. Cassel and Himmelwright were joined on the relay by fellow seniors Quinn Perlstein and Jason Mercando.
Kristen Kilroy and Jackie Hammill were multiple winners for the girls. Kilroy won the 200 free (2:13.88) and 100 breast (1:14.09), and Hammill was first in the 200 individual medley (2:31.79) and 100 fly (1:09.46). Kilroy qualified for Districts in both of her events.
While coach Smith was happy to see her veterans pick up where they left off last year, she was equally pleased to see her promising freshmen in competition for the first time, especially Hunter Peck and Kirsten Siwy.
Peck finished second to Cassel in the 200 free (2:02.80), third in the 50 free (25.24) and swam on the 200 and 400 free relays.
“I was definitely nervous,” Peck related. “I was really looking forward to it though.
I think I did all right.”
Peck is a relative newcomer to the sport, having started at age ten and swimming year round for the last two years.
In Peck, Smith sees “great raw potential. Just like a lot of freshmen, we have work to do. There’s a lot to work with.”
Siwy started her day by anchoring the gifted 200 medley relay after Christina Williams, Kilroy and Hammill, a group that has their eyes set on breaking the school record. Against Quakertown, the relay came in first in 2:01.35, almost nine seconds under the qualifying time.
Kirsten won the 100 free (58.39) to qualify in that race. She also qualified in the 100 breast, her best stroke, finishing second to Kilroy in 1:15.89. Her day concluded in the 400 free relay.
“I was a little scared at first, because I may be swimming against seniors,” Siwy said. “I try to relax and do my best that I can.”
Smith sees a great future for Siwy. “She’s coming in with a good, strong swimming background. She’s really impressed me, even more than I thought she would starting out. So, I’m excited to see how far we can take that.”
The coach felt that, overall, her team is off to a quicker start than last year’s District 1 title team. Smith cited Mercando and Perlstein as examples.
Mercando took the 500 in a brisk 5:26.23 while Perlstein raced through the 100 breast in 1:07.8. Both were district qualifying times.
Smith said, “[Quinn’s] really going after his times in that; he started out really strong. He hit his mark that he wanted to go for a lot faster than we started last season.”