Loaded with postseason experience, the North Penn and Gwynedd Mercy girls go into this season intent on making it a very memorable one.
“This has the potential to be one of Gwynedd swimming’s best years in recent times,” said Monarchs coach Maura Gillies. “We are hoping to have numerous girls qualify for districts and make the state meet. The girls know that this can be a big year for them and I am excited to see what they will be able to accomplish.”
Second at the state meet last year in Class AA, GMA’s highest finish since 2001, the Monarchs return most of that special core, including multiple state medalist Allie Szekely and fellow senior Hannah Blaser.
Bringing some other people along will be the focus in the early months.
“We would like to see more girls make their respective district cuts then last year and more girls make it to the state championship meet,” Gillies said, “especially amongst our younger swimmers, to get them experience at bigger meets.”
North Penn, third in the state in Class AAA last year, is a senior-led group. Diver Marie Yacopino, who is headed west to San Diego State next year, aims for her fourth state medal.
“After a strong third-place showing at the PIAA Meet last year, and the return of seven state qualifiers,” coach Matt Weiser said, “the Maidens are looking to improve their finish.”
Talent on the boards extends over to the boys side at NP, with Ian Boland-Bintner and Bryce Hoch back for the Knights.
The Suburban One League Continental Conference will again be one of the finest collections of athletes in the state, and includes the likes of Pennridge’s imposing duo of Hannah Zurmuhl, who is headed to Penn State next year, and Brittany Weiss, who will swim at Liberty.
The Upper Dublin girls aim for an amazing 27th straight conference crown, as they defend the top spot in the SOL American, while the Archbishop Wood girls are the favorite once again in the Philadelphia Catholic League.
“Coming off our most successful year, winning the PCL Championship and District 12 Championship,” coach Charlie Stillwell said, “our team is large with lots of depth. Repeating our championships from last year will be difficult, with lots of competition in the league.
“Our team is heavy on upper classmen, which gives our team great leadership. We look to have another great season and hope to repeat what we started last year.”
Following is a team-by-team look at the area.
Coach: Charlies Stillwell (20th season)
Last Year’s Record: 6-2; Fourth in the Philadelphia Catholic League; Fourth in District 12
Key Performers Lost: John Waltrich, distance free/back; Sean Harney, fly/IM/free
Key Returners: Timothy Quigley, Sr., breast/fly/IM; Conor Lynskey, Jr., sprint free/breast/IM; Peter Gori, So., sprint free; Lucas Dyke, Sr., distance free/back/IM; Kevin Harte, So., fly; Daniel Johnston, So., back, sprint free
Others to Watch: Matthew Quigley, Fr., breast/fly/IM; Daniel Lips, Fr., free; Patrick Byrne, Fr., free/fly/breast
Strengths: Good infusion of youth with an excellent returning upper class
Question Marks: Need stronger freestyle relays and distance freestyle depth
Coach Stillwell Says: “Coming off our best season, we have another influx of good young swimmers. Together with our strong upper class, we look to once again be competitive in the Catholic League and take the next step to compete with the top teams in the league. Our goal is to make a mark in our championship meets and qualify some swimmers for the State Championship meet.”
CENTRAL BUCKS WEST
Coach: Zach Wilson (second season)
Key Performers Lost: Henry Mackensen, fly/IM; Andrew Evans, sprint/free; Will Lambert, breast/free
Key Returners: Evan Washington, Jr.; freestyle; Peter Baltes, Jr., distance free
Coach: Kip Emig (10th season)
Last Year’s Record: 9-4
Key Performers Lost: Mike Thomas
Key Returners: Adam Thron, Sr., free; Tim McPoyle, Jr., sprints; Andy Thomas, So., all-around; Chris McPoyle, Jr., breast; Matt Hammer, Jr., fly; Nick Zumpino, Jr., diving; John Scully, So., back
Coach Emig Says: “We are solid in strength but short on numbers. A good freshman class should make this team stronger as the season goes on.”
Coach: Bob Birnbrauer (21st season)
Last Year’s Record: 0-6 in the Philadelphia Catholic League; third in District 12
Key Performers Lost: Brian Lockhart, third in the fly and fourth in the 100 free at districts; James Kulik, 10th in 50 free at districts
Key Returners: Garhett Moore, Sr., second in the 200 free and fifth in the 100 free at districts; Nick Picozzi, So., relays; Tyler Arsuaga, relays
Others to Watch: John Rex, Jr.; freestyle; Brian Allen, Fr., all-around
Strengths: Moore will be strong in the freestyle events and Arsuaga will handle fly and IM events. Picozzi will return after qualifying for districts in the breaststroke event.
Question Marks: Sophmore Nick Picozzi is recovering from a football injury, and a lack of depth is negative for the dual-meet season.
Coach Birnbrauer Says: “We’re looking for improvement in last-year swimmers and to advance in district competition, and for new swimmers to make an immediate impact.”
Coach: Jeff Faikish (fourth season)
Last Season’s record: 12-0; SOL Continental Champs; District One Class AAA Champs; Fourth at PIAA’s
Key Performers Lost: Thanas Kountroubis, free/breast; Liam Kelly, free; Brett Else, free; Shane Hennessey, free; Quinton Mitchell, diving; Mike Kern, free; Kyle Supko, IM/free
Key Returners: Ian Boland-Bintner, Jr., diver; Bryce Hoch, Jr., diver; Corey Smith, Sr., IM/Back; Harrison Friel, Sr., Breast/Free; Ryan Yocum, Sr., Free; Aidan Daly, So., Distance Free
Others to Watch: Michael Collins, Sr., Free; Ryan Dormer, Sr., Diving; Will Gillespie, Sr., Fly; David Grove, Sr., Free; Aaron Jordan, Sr., Fly; Mike Sisko, Sr., Free
Coach Faikish Says: “The North Penn Knights are a big team with a lot of depth and experience looking to compete for another Suburban One League and District 1 title. After losing a big senior class, the Knights underclassmen are ready to step up and be strong contenders at the District 1 Championships and PIAA State Championships.”
Coach: Jacob Grant (first season)
Key Performers Lost: Max Coulter, IM/breast; Kyle Frerichs, middle distance
Key Returners: Eric Jordan, Sr., fly; Hayden Sandt, Jr., sprint free; John Handy, Jr., diving; Jakob Aigeldinger, Jr., diving
Coach: Caitlin Warren (fourth season)
Last Year’s Record: 8-1, 6-1 in the SOL Continental
Key Performers Lost: Ryan Kierstan; James Beldham; Matt Holcombe
Key Returners: Brendon Loux, Sr., all-around; Ryan Witoslawski, Sr., breast; Spencer Smith, Sr., distance; David Pfahler, Sr., free/fly; Dan Palmer, Sr., back; Zeke Flandro, Sr., diving; Andrew Gordon, Sr., diving; Cristian Musterait, Jr., state qualifier in sprint free; Spencer Nice, So., state qualifier, all-around
Others to Watch: Storm Krader, all-around; T.J. Yaglenski, all-around; Jake Kramer, free; Ethan Moyer, free/fly; Michael Dechert, all-around
Strengths: Greater depth than years past; several athletes that will excel in multiple events
Coach Warren says: “This year, we have seven seniors that bring a variety of swimming and diving experience to the team that complement the personalities of the incoming freshmen. In addition, we have six district qualifiers returning. We plan to send as many athletes as possible to the district and state competition. This team has some big goals this year and will be fun to watch.”
Coach: Geoff Scheuer (fourth season)
Last Year’s Record: 11-1 overall; SOL American Champs; Second in District One Class AAA; Seventh at States
Key Performers Lost: Bart Scherpbier; Andrew Rearson; Tom Bantley; Joe Regan
Key Returners: Asher Kim, Sr.; Wyatt Amdor, Sr.; Michael Jensen, Sr.; Ogden Leyens, Sr.; Scott Luttmann, Sr.; Devon Polak, Sr.; Doug Brown, Sr.; Jake Easton
Others to Watch: Alex Flynn
Strengths: Return all state qualifiers, should have strong relays
Question Marks: Depth
Outlook for the Season: Trying to send off a strong senior class on a high note
Coach: Charlie Stillwell (20th season)
Last Year’s Record: 10-1, 8-0 in the PCL; PCL Champs; District 12 Champs
Key Performers Lost: Dominique DiRienzo, diving; Brigid Grant, fly
Key Returners: Katharine Buliga, Sr., distance free/back; Caitlin Bedesem, Sr., fly/distance free; Megan Cook, Sr., distance free; MaryGrace MacDonald, Sr., sprint free; Aubrey McDonough, So., back/breast/IM; Taylor Goldstein, Sr., back; Kaeleigh Mahon, Sr., sprint free/fly; Molly Prior, So., sprint free
Others to Watch: Kaley Hence, Fr., back/fly/free
Strengths: Large team with a strong senior class with great depth
Question Marks: Relays need to be stronger, need to improve freestyle sprinting
CENTRAL BUCKS WEST
Coach: Vibeke Swanson (24th season)
Last Year’s Record: 4-7
Key Performers Lost: Kelly Magri, diver; Maddie Seiden, distance free
Key Returners: Collette Strong, Sr., back, IM and 100 fr, Sarah Stim, Jr., diving; Jackie McDowell, Sr., free/back/fly; Tricia Mulligan, Sr., fly/IM; Katie Button, So., distance free/back
Others to Watch: Rileigh Thompson, So., breast/IM; Meghan Sampson, So., breast/fly/IM; Lizzie Gallagher, Jr., distance free/breast
Strengths: Solid, hard-working group with versatility
Coach Swanson Says: “We are looking to improve on our dual-meet record and individual times.”
GWYNEDD MERCY ACADEMY
Coach: Maura Gillies (second season)
Last Year’s Record: 6-4; Fourth in Catholic Academies League; Third in District One Class AA; Second at PIAA’s
Key Performers Lost: Mary Kate Curley; Kiergah McMenamin
Key Returners: Allie Szekely, Sr., 100 back,; Hannah Blaser, Sr., 50 free
Others to Watch: Steph Szekely, Jr., 200 free; Annie O’Dare, Fr., 100 breast
Strengths: Experienced and talented senior class
Coach: Kip Emig (26th season)
Last Year’s Record: 12-2
Key Performers Lost: Haley Sutton; Perie Sumner; Sam Schmitt
Key Returners: Barb Schmele, IM; Grace Emig, sprints; Elyse Bedics, free; Colleen Claggett, sprints; Grace Riemenschneider, fly; Sophie Stasio, all-around; Katie Moore, IM/breast; Amber McElrath, diving; Marlee Murry, freestyle
Coach Emig Says: “We still have a nice core of seasoned swimmers. A strong Freshman class should keep us in contention.”
Coach: Matt Weiser (eighth season)
Last Season’s Record: 12-0; SOL Continental Champs; District One Class AAA Champs; Third at PIAA’s
Key Performers Lost: Olivia DiStefano, free/back; Madison Tanis, diver; Anna Haggerty, fly; Caroline Miller, breast
Key Returners: Marie Yacopino, Sr., diver; Erin O’Neill, Sr., breast; Leah Brown, Sr., free; Aimee Baur, Sr., free; Kailyn Evans, Jr., free/IM; Megan Zartman, So., IM/back; Rachael Fisher, So., diving
Others to Watch: Shannon Quinn, Sr., breast; Maddy Little, Sr., diving
Coach: Jacob Grant (first season)
Key Performers Lost: Erin Finley, sprint freestyle; Keri Salanik, distance freestyle; Elizabeth Yardley, distance freestyle
Key Returners: Brittany Weiss, Sr., breast/IM/middle distance; Hannah Zurmuhl, Sr., sprint free/back; Claire Beno, Jr., middle distance/IM; Sam Vargo, Jr., sprint free
Coach: Caitlin Warren (fourth season)
Last Year’s Record: 7-2, 5-2 SOL Continental
Key Performers Lost: Rickilee Hodges, sprint free; Shannon Paparella, free; Sarah Hershey, distance; Hannah Boland, all-around; Amanda Wimmer, sprint
Key Returners: Amber Rogers, Sr., distance; Ariana Crossgrove, Sr., back; Lauren Harkins, Sr., sprint; Shannon Hanrahan, Sr., free; Julia Rostron, Sr., all-around; Tori Rest, Sr., diving; Emily Hodges, Sr., state qualifier, breast/free; Jenny Rogers, state qualifier, free/fly
Others to Watch: Kayla Elliott, diving; Maureen Morris, back; Ali Kurlak, all-around; Clara Burrell, all-around
Strengths: The Big Red girls have plenty of experienced swimmers in the sprint, stroke, and diving events; will need a few swimmers to step it up in the distance events
Coach Warren Says: “The Souderton girls are a class act and very focused. I expect great things out of this small, but mighty crew.”
Coach: Patrick Redican (third season)
Last Year’s Record: 8-3-1; SOL American Champs
Key Performers Lost: Casey O’Neill; Lina Brouse; Sarah Gallagher; Sammi Starosta
Key Returners: Megan Paris, Sr., sprint free; Brynn Reese, Sr., breast; Caitlin McMorrow, Sr., free/back; Jenna Johns, Jr., free/fly, state finalist; Samie Hubbard, Jr., distcance free; Rebecca Pendleton, So., fly/IM; Saemmi Yoon, So., sprint free; Emma Rearson, So., distance free/IM
Strengths: With 32 athletes, there will be strong depth, but with 22 of those as ninth and 10th graders, they will need to gain experience
Question Marks: Back/sprints
Coach Redican Says: “We’re hoping to maintain a tradition of success in the league and district, and qualify relays for states.”
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