Upper Perkiomen’s Umstead adds another gold on final day of District 1 Championships

PHILADELPHIA — Brandon Umstead went back-to-back on Thursday at the District 1 Swimming Championships.

On Friday, the Upper Perkiomen senior added another back for good measure.

A day after repeating as Class AA 200 individual medley champion, Umstead won the gold medal in the Class AA 100 backstroke (54.25) on the final day of the District 1 Championships at LaSalle University’s Kirk Natatorium.

“Two gold medals,’ he said, still in awe. “I’m so happy with how things turned out. I didn’t quite get the time I was hoping for, but hopefully with my next taper it will drop even more.’

Other medalists from the PAC-10 were Kyle Dix of Perkiomen Valley, the silver medalist in the Class AAA 100 freestyle, as well as Pottsgrove’s Kevin Basch and Michael Prior, who won the silver in their swims. Pottstown’s Anthony Gazzillo took home a bronze.

“I was talking to coach after my backstroke race, and we both feel really confident about me going to states,’ said Umstead. “I came off the turns a lot harder and a lot faster today, which really helped give me the edge.’

Umstead edged Prior by .79 of a second in the 100 back.

Having raced against each other a few times in their PAC-10 careers, both knew what to expect of one another.

“(Mike) is a great racer and a really fast swimmer,’ said Umstead. “I knew his strengths and what things he does well, so I knew about where I’d need to finish.’

And for Prior, a sophomore, Umstead is someone to look up to and try to emulate throughout his high school career.

“He and I usually swim in the same events, so I’ve known how strong a swimmer he is,’ said Prior. “He has a really good work ethic, which is why he won the gold today.’

Perkiomen Valley’s Kyle Dix won the silver with a personal best 45.84 in the 100 free, adding another medal to his repertoire, as he also won bronze in the 50 free on Thursday and anchored the silver 200 free relay.

“It’s been an awesome meet,’ he said. “To come out and finish in the top three in three different events, I couldn’t be happier. As a team, we swam really well.’

Dix also anchored the Vikings’ 400 free relay (3:11.82), which consisted of Bryce Groshardt, Logan Thorneloe, Michael Melissen, to tie for fourth with Central Bucks East.

“I’m really happy to be a part of this relay team,’ said Thorneloe. “We get along really well and help push each other, which is so important. Our team has so much potential to do well at states.’

Pottsgrove’s Basch captured the silver medal in the Class AA 500 free on Friday, one day after taking the bronze in the 200 free.

The junior posted a 4:46.86 — just over two and a half seconds behind the gold medalist, Connor Killion of Lower Moreland.

“He put up a really good time, so I have no problems losing to him, especially for how close it was,’ said Basch. “Overall, it felt really good to get out there and I cut time off of my swim.’

Notching his first trip to the state championships the day before, Pottstown’s Gazzillo took third with a 49.13 in the AA 100 free. Although he didn’t earn a state bid, the senior has taken a lot from his experience at districts.

“I would have liked to do better, but I’m so happy with how everything went here,’ he said. “My main goal was to make it to states, and I did that yesterday. So anything else would have just been extra.’

North Penn (399) ran away with the AAA team title, well ahead of Upper Dublin (197.5). Perkiomen Valley finished sixth.

Lower Moreland (198) finished in first place in AA, while Pottsgrove (109) finished sixth and Pottstown (36) finished eighth.

The PIAA Championships will be held at Bucknell University on Wednesday, March 11 and Thursday, March 12.

NOTES — Owen J. Roberts’ Weston Lickfeld finished sixth in the 100 breast (59.78), and will have to wait and see if his time will earn him a PIAA bid, depending on the times of other swimmers from across the state. “I put up my best time all season, but at this point it’s all up to what the other districts do,’ he said. … Thorneloe is also on the bubble, placing seventh in the 500 free (4:45.88). Methacton’s Gil Price placed ninth in the 100 free (47.77) while Spring-Ford’s Ethan D’Arcangelo finished 10th in the 100 back (53.33) as did Boyertown’s Patrick Lance (4:46.95) in the 500 free.

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