PHILADELPHIA >> So goes the medley, so goes the meet…
“We just wanted to set the mojo with the relay,” said a smiling Sean Faikish of North Penn. “So we started off with the relay, got the district record, and that just set the tone.”
The Knights swam six personal-best times to get things rolling, Faikish went on to win gold in the 200-yard IM, and four swimmers scored points in the 200 free.
A team intent on defending its crown, North Penn piled up 223.5 team points on an overwhelming Day One at the District 1-3A Swim Championships at La Salle University’s Kirk Pool. The North Penn girls, in pursuit of a sixth straight district title, followed up in the evening session with a relay record of their own and Pennridge’s Morgan Scott topped her own meet record in the 200 free.
“We had a lot of confidence going into today,” Faikish said of the Knights, who accumulated points in all six events. “Everyone’s excited. We’re gonna have confidence and hopefully use that going into tomorrow and get ready for states.”
North Penn leads second-place Upper Dublin (146), Souderton (114), Hatboro-Horsham (111) and Conestoga (109) in a tremendous top five.
The Hatters came away with three gold-medal swims, with Andy Thomas winning the 200 free with a 1:38.01, John Scully winning the 50 free with a 21.02, and the 200 free foursome of Scully, Stuart Sumner, Luke Emig and Thomas went 1:23.52 to set a district record of 1:24.78, replacing the 1:24.78 by North Penn in 2012.
The meet also got started with a district record.
Ryan Hartmann, Faikish, Noah Jamieson and Ryley Fein combined their efforts to finish with a time of 1 minute, 33.12 seconds, surpassing the previous mark (1:33.74) set by Upper Dublin in 2012.
“That’s putting four fast swimmers together,” Faikish said, “and there ya go. Ryan started off great, going a 24 (in the back), I did breast, and Noah (fly) and Ryley (free) really brought it home.
“We were behind a little bit, but then we really brought it home. With Noah and Ryley diving in the water, it was great.”
Faikish was just getting started.
He came through with a gold-medal swim in the IM, racing to a 1:50.64 to outlast Emils Jurcik of Kennett (1:51.33).
“I felt great up until breaststroke. Emils out in Lane One, he’s a great swimmer,” Faikish said. “I swam against him over the summer and swam against him last year.
“I saw him on the breaststroke turn and I was really hurting a lot. He started to catch up slowly, but I put myself out there fast enough, took it out fast enough that I could hold on.”
The Knights are racing towards their fourth district title in five years.
Upper Dublin has pushed its way into the runner-up spot, powered by two bronze-medal relay swims on Saturday. Jake DiMartile, Matt Jensen, Alex Flynn and Joe Gewartowski took care of the medley (1:33.90), and Joe Gewartowski, Kyle Pro, Kornel Pesti and Nicholas Gewartowski came through in the free (1:26.48).
Souderton powered to a fourth-place medal in the 200 free relay, a foursome of T.J. Yaglenski, Storm Krader, Michael Dechert and Jake Kramer going 1:26.67.
In Class 2A boys, Lower Moreland leads Springfield-Montco for the top spot, 296-167.
Quite an encore
The North Penn girls also got off to a record-setting start. Megan Zartman, Haley Muth, Claudia Thamm and Rosalinda Rivera went 1:44.19 in the 200 medley relay, replacing the 1:44.24 NP did two years ago.
“That was awesome. We were all super pumped,” Thamm said. “We just went out there and it totally blew my mind how fast we went. It was a great way to start the meet.”
Soon after, Thamm was on top of the medal stand, winning gold in the 200 IM with a time of 2:02.85.
“Just to get in here and actually swim that race, in this pool, which is so special and so fast, it was awesome,” said Thamm, a junior for the Knights. “It was so cool. I haven’t been in Lane One in a while. Swimming next to a teammate (Megan Zartman, fourth) was super cool and just winning that race was cool because I’ve been dreaming about that since freshman year.”
The Knights finished things up with a gold in the 200 free relay, with Caroline Dunigan, Kaelan Daly, Nicole Chiappa and Rosalinda Rivera teaming up to go 1:34.78.
A the end of the night, North Penn led its closest competition, Upper Dublin, 242-128.
Scott went 1:47.52 in the 200 free for Pennridge, outracing the 1:48.43 she did a year ago. The Ram senior will go after another gold on Day Two in the 100 free.
In Class 2A, Villa Maria leads second-place Gwynedd Mercy Academy 228-189. Annie O’Dare led the way for the Monarchs, earning the gold in the 200 IM in 2:08.12.
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