Ben Himes strokes his way across the pool in the boys 12U 200 medley relay.
On July 1 the Upper Perk Otters swim team kicked off its season with a home meet against Skippack. Skippack bested Upper Perk, 335-219.
Although Upper Perk did not have the winning score at the meet, a team record was broken by the Otters’ girls 12U freestyle relay consisting of Bailey McCausland, Noel Fresa, Brooke Stempel and Kaylee Heimes. The relay finished with a time of 2:10.988.
The following day Upper Perk swam at home against Baker Park, with Baker Park coming out ahead, 312-242.
The final home meet for the Otters took place on July 9 against Hillside. Upper Perk fell by a score of 323-230.
The last home meet was also senior night for the older Upper Perk swimmers who are graduating. The swimmers who were recognized were Bryon Scholl, Phil Badman, Jason Mercando and Kyle Himmelwright.
“The swim team has been a great way to connect with new people,” said Scholl. “It’s been awesome acting as an idol for the younger swimmers and being someone they can look up to.”
“I’ll definitely miss the seniors,” said older swimmer Mickalyn Winkler. “They’re always there for everyone, teaching us new things and cheering us on.”
Last Thursday the Otters hit the road for their first away meet against North End and swam to victory, 307-246.
“The win for Upper Perk was just a bonus,” said Coach Corrine Guntz. “The real success was to watch our swimmers connect like never before. I was so proud of our older swimmers who gave encouraging race strategies while cheering for our younger swimmers behind the blocks.”
“It was like winning the lottery,” said McCausland. “It was a great moment to share with friends.”
“Last year was the first time since I started that our team won,” said Emily Badman, who has been on the team for seven years. “Even when most of us had never seen a win, we always got so caught up in cheering.”
Everyone seemed to swim better times that night, including Sean Lyman, who broke the team record for the boys 10U 25-meter butterfly.
“Coach Sherwood and I knew that this was going to be a close meet. We put our swimmers where we needed to in order to get the points, then left it up to the kids to swim fast. They did a better job than what was expected,” said Guntz.
The team is lead by coaches Corrine Guntz and Kate Sherwood, as well as a countless number of assistant coaches.
“Our coaches have encouraged us over the years, and still do,” said Badman. “They have been wonderful with helping us grow.”
First-time swimmer Tyler Reed also said that the coaches “are dedicated and like to see improvement.”
Guntz said that the coaches are very proud of the connection and encouragement that teammates give one another, both at practice and during meets.
“We are as we should be – a team!”