It’s deja vu for Garnet Valley’s state-bound Woerth

PHILADELPHIA — You’ll have to excuse Andrew Woerth and his Garnet Valley coaches for checking the calendar Friday.

Soon after Woerth clocked in at 21.84 seconds to finish 10th in the 50 freestyle at the District One Championships at La Salle University, it dawned upon the senior that the time and placement were exactly the same as last season.

“I was pretty surprised,’ he said. “It was just weird. It felt like  last year all over again.’

While in absolute terms the result may be disheartening, history is on Woerth’s side: Last year, that time earned an at-large bid to the PIAA Championships.

Woerth had no intention of sweating out two swims as he did last year, and he made amends by winning the next-to-last heat of the 100 butterfly in 51.50 seconds, taking third overall to book an automatic berth in states. He missed states in that event last year by a fraction of a second.

“I wasn’t angry, but I definitely didn’t want to leave it up to chance of not making it to states,’ Woerth said of the 50/fly double that has become old hat. “I wanted to go out and swim as fast as I could so I gave it my all.’

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For all the preparation that goes into a districts swim, a ruptured cap isn’t part of the routine for Radnor’s Tim Caulfield. So when the Radnor anchor’s cap split as he ascended the block in the final heat of the 200 free relay, his only recourse was to scramble for the nearest cap he could find: On the head of leadoff man Eli Avart, sitting near the block spent from his swim.

“I don’t think he knew what was going on,’ Caulfield said. “I ripped the cap off his head, put it half on my head, hair still sticking out, and I just jumped in the water and swam as fast as I could.’

Caulfield, who earlier qualified for states in the 200 free with his third-place time of 1:43.27, split a 21.65 to lead the Raiders to fourth and a states berth, the team of Avart, Greg Giannella and Brian McKeon clocking a 1:27.85.

“Going into the race, we knew that we could go fast,’ Caulfield said. “I don’t think we went as fast as we actually could, but I think at states we can show how fast we can actually go.’

Avart was the only other Delco boy to make states after finishing a spot ahead of Woerth in the 100 fly, taking silver in 51.21. GV’s Ivan Michalovic was sixth in the 200 individual medley, one spot off the automatic bids. With his time of 1:56.67, it would take an extremely unusual set of circumstances for the senior to be denied.

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