Kirsten Siwy becomes a blur of motion in the water as she swims the girls 200 freestyle. Siwy won the event with a time of 2:05.67
Sometimes second place is good enough. The Upper Perkiomen boys swim meet against Methacton came down to the final event and, when Mason Cassel touched the wall a scant .15 seconds behind the Warriors’ relay, the Tribe had secured a tense 86-84 win.
Cassel, who was fighting the flu bug, anchored the 400 relay team also manned by Bryon Scholl, Jason Mercando, and freshman Hunter Peck.
The relay knew before the race that they had to finish first or second to secure the meet.
Scholl got the Tribe off to a fast start in the race in 52.47, building a one-and-a-half second lead. Peck swam his fastest 400 leg ever but handed off a .78 second deficit to Cassel who could not quite close the gap all the way, but secured second place and the team victory.
“He (Cassel) gave us everything he had,” marveled coach Jessica Smith, fresh from a celebratory dunking in the pool after the meet.
Cassel also managed to finish first in the 100 butterfly in 54.24 earlier in the day.
Mercando was another major contributor to the win. The senior captured the 500 in 5:12.66 and brought his time closer to his goal of breaking the five minute barrier and enhanced his post high school plans.
“I’m very, very happy. I’ve talked to some colleges, and they were very happy, so I think I’m in a very good spot right now.”
Last year, Mercando noted, the Tribe defeated the Warriors at Methacton with a veteran team. This time it was different.
“It felt really good because we’re down seniors this year, so it was going to be a lot more difficult. We did a really, really good job pulling it together and swimming our best times to beat them again,” Mercando said.
Senior Kyle Himmelwright, who posted a win in the 100 free (51.74) and on the 200 free relay with Quinn Perlstein, Brandon Umstead and Peck (1:33.47), agreed.
“Considering we lost seniors from last year, we wanted to see if we could do it again,” Himmelwright said.
The girls were not as fortunate, dropping their end of the meet 106-64 despite a pair of wins by Kirsten Siwy in the 200 free (2:05.67) and 100 free (57.69). The girls other first place finish was by Kristen Kilroy in the 100 breaststroke (1:16.84).
Former head coach Missy Peart, now a volunteer assistant, had a hand in Siwy’s fast time, which was two seconds better than her previous personal best.
“I think my 200 free was pretty good,” Siwy said. “I listened to Missy on my lap three and lap five to kick it up a notch, and it worked.”
Smith was happy with her freshman swimmer. “Kirsten Siwy today, with both of her wins, looked very, very strong. I’m very impressed with where she’s at right now.”
Smith also cited the performance of Danielle Marino who swam her best 50 free time (26.95) and qualified for district consideration.
Another notable performance was turned in by Christina Williams who set a personal best in the 100 backstroke (1:05.96).
“We changed one small thing in her race, and she was really amped up today, and it showed in her best time,” Smith noted.
Overall, Smith was impressed with all of her swimmers.
“We’re still in the thick of it as far as training, and working hard, lifting weights, and dry land, lots of swimming, so for them to perform like this in the middle of the season, when they’re still really working hard, is very impressive.”