PHILADELPHIA >> Never before had North Penn sent so many swimmers to districts.
“To be part of that is just awesome,” said senior Aidan Daly. “It feels great. Last year we wanted to repeat and this year was just great, especially ending the meet with a team record.
“We’re all really happy right now,” Daly said, “and have a lot of energy going into the taper for states. It feels great — the energy especially is really good.”
The Knights’ high-wattage performance over the weekend added up to an overpowering 336.5 points, as North Penn pulled away to its fourth District 1-3A title in the past five years.
True to form, the North Penn girls would follow in the evening session by capturing their sixth consecutive district trophy, making for a navy and columbia blue Sunday at La Salle University’s Kirk Pool.
Gwynedd Mercy Academy’s Annie O’Dare set a 2A meet record in the 100 breast, posting a 1:02.71 and earning 2A Swimmer of the Meet honors, and Pennridge’s Morgan Scott earned that distinction in 3A, setting a record in the 100 free with a time of 50.05.
The North Penn boys overcame a strong top five that included Upper Dublin (240), Conestoga and Hatboro-Horsham (both 197), and Souderton Area (163).
“For our team to come out and do that is just great,” Daly said. “Having the depth that we have — we had almost 20 people here swimming, which is awesome.”
Following up their impressive Day One, the Knights widened the gap on Sunday.
“District One is one of the fastest districts in the state and to come in here and put on a performance like this is testament to all of the hard work that these kids have put in throughout the season,” coach Jeff Faikish said.
The Knights attacked Day Two. Ryley Fein placed fifth and Derek Friday touched 15th in the 100 free; the Knights had three point scorers in the 500 free — Daly was third, Eric Degodny eighth, Max Bachman 12th — and then sophomore Evan Mancini notched a 16th-place finish in the 100 back.
Onto the breaststroke, where Sean Faikish turned on the heat.
“Sean raced against Andy Thomas, and it was a neck-and-neck race. And it’s pretty awesome because we know the caliber of athlete that Andy Thomas is,” Jeff Faikish said. “He’s proven it time in and time out. And Sean giving him a run for his money was a fantastic race.”
Nick Clark raced to seventh and Greyson Campbell grabbed 16th in the breast for NP. That led to a 400 free relay that set records all around.
“It was a race of big dogs. And we knew it was gonna be a crazy, crazy relay. And it proved to be,” Jeff Faikish said.
North Penn’s foursome of Ryley Fein, Sean Faikish, Daly and Noah Jamieson set a school record in 3 minutes, 3.64 seconds, producing a silver medal. The only team to go faster was Hatboro-Horsham, which broke a five-year-old record with a 3:03.13.
“We’re very happy, but the journey isn’t over,” Jeff Faikish said. “We still have a long road ahead of us still.”
Alex Flynn captured a bronze medal in the 100 free and led off Upper Dublin’s third-place 400 free relay. Souderton Area had a pair of top-three finishers in the 100 back, as Storm Krader (50.66) and T.J. Yaglenski (51.16) rose to second and third.
There goes Zartman
What the North Penn boys started, the girls finished.
The Knights racked up points in all six events, including a gold-medal swim by Megan Zartman in the 100 backstroke (55.73).
“I haven’t gone close to that time in quite a while,” the senior said shortly after emerging from the team’s celebratory plunge into Kirk Pool. “It’s my first time winning something, so that was great.”
Said coach Jeff Faikish: “I’ve been waiting for that for four years. I couldn’t be happier for her. That kid is the epitome of what North Penn is all about. She’s willing to do anything, never questions anything. She works her butt to the bone. She is just a wonderful, wonderful person to coach.”
North Penn amassed 336 points, outscoring a tough top five that included Avon Grove (222), Upper Dublin (220), Unionville (155) and Downingtown West (140).
The Knights finished things off with a victory in the 400 free relay, a team of Claudia Thamm, Kaelan Daly, Zartman and Parker Schulz going 3:25.08. It was a fitting finale.
“It’s a really big deal to us,” Thamm said as NP closed in on the title. “There are a lot of great competitors here in District One.”
Lower Moreland won the 2A boys title, outscoring second-place Upper Perkiomen 513-300 while the top honors in 2A girls went to Villa Maria, which earned 430 points with Springfield Montco scoring 319.5.
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