Lansdale Catholic fares well at Cardinal Classic

UPPER DUBLIN — A midseason showcase of some of the best swimmers and divers around, this year’s Cardinal Classic Invitational at Upper Dublin was spiced with the accomplishments of a small but feisty underdog: Class 2A Lansdale Catholic.

“I don’t think people expected us to come out and do what we did,’ said the Crusaders’ Cassidy Fries. “I think people underestimate us because we’re so small, but we have such a powerhouse of girls.’

“Not big but we’re mighty,’ teammate Mary Cate Coyle said.

Going against top 3A competition, LC swam several personal bests, made multiple district cuts, and came away with a busload of confidence as winter training approaches.

“It’s a nice little Christmas present I guess,’ Fries said.

The junior’s fourth-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke capped off a solid showing by LC.

Defending 3A state champ Hershey swam away with a whopping eight wins in the girls events, keyed by the efforts of Vivi Tafuto, who won the 200 free, 100 fly and swam the second leg of the winning 200 medley relay and the anchor leg of the first-place 400 free relay.

Host Upper Dublin came away with four victories on the boys side, as Michael Jensen took the 200 IM and the 50 free while Devon Polak was a winner in the 100 free and Wyatt Amdor was first to touch in the 100 breast.

Fries was the top 2A swimmer in the 100 breast with a 1:09.75, already outracing her state preliminary time of last year, when she went 1:09.99 out at Bucknell.

Coyle kicked to a 59.3 finish in the 100 free, her best time of the season, while both LC relays notched district-qualifying times.

The 200 medley team of Mary Anne Wietecha, Fries, Hailey Gianoni and Coyle outraced 10 other squads to start the day off and then the same foursome — with an order of Wietecha, Gianoni, Fries and Coyle — swam its best time of the season in the 200 free.

“We really set some good times for our relays,’ Fries said. “Hopefully that will scare some people.’

Coyle and Fries, All-Catholic League selections last season, lead LC into its toughest week of training, which they hope produces a deep and rewarding trip into the postseason.

“It’s definitely exciting to anticipate the new times we’re gonna swim,’ Coyle said. “It gives you a glimpse of what you can expect and what you can improve on.

“Cassidy, being able to go to states last year and make a name for herself out there on the state level is awesome, and even at the district level, we do really well and have a ton of places in the top three. It’s a definitely a great feeling, with a team and a school our size, to be able to put ourselves out there.’

Defending District 12 champ in the 100 breast, Fries was delighted to see her name on a district championship banner at LC.

“It was literally the best day of my life,’ she said.

Hatboro-Horsham was well represented at Upper Dublin’s packed natatorium on Saturday, as Michael Thomas was tops in the 100 fly while Samantha Schmitt distinguished herself in the 100 breast, swimming a 1:05.99 to power past a stellar top six that included Owen J. Roberts’ Allison Drohosky, Hershey’s Oriana Barone, Fries of LC, the Hatters’ Katie Moore and Villa Maria’s Katelyn Chick.

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