Upper Dublin impressive on Senior Night; Souderton, North Penn making waves

Senior Night felt like the Polar Bear Plunge, but Upper Dublin was still all smiles by meet’s end.

“Considering our pool is like sub-zero degrees,” kidded Cardinal senior Jenna Johns, “our heater has been broken for two weeks and we haven’t had really too much time to swim. We’ve been trying to get in the time when we can, traveling to other pools — the other day we were at Upper Moreland…”

Rival Hatboro-Horsham provided some nice motivation.

“The energy today was great,” said Johns, who won the 50 free and 100 fly, and switched things up with a butterfly-leg on the winning medley relay. “Hatboro-Horsham is always great competition for us and with them being new in our conference (SOL American), we kind of had a target on our back because it’s always been really close with them. It was nice. It was really rewarding.

“Some of their kids swim on the club team at Upper Dublin or have in the past so it’s a friendly rivalry.”

The Cardinals finished off their dual-meet sweep by breaking their 400 free relay foursomes into grades, with a senior team of Samie Hubbard, Alex Thompson, Charlotte Watcher and Johns savoring their final swim of the evening.

The postseason draws closer.

“I’m excited but I’m also really nervous,” Johns said, “because you never know what’s gonna happen. But I just can’t wait to swim at Suburbans to see what everybody on the team is gonna do.”

There goes Thomas

Hatboro’s Andy Thomas was uncatchable in the 200 IM Friday night, pulling away to a victory in 1:57.43, winning the race by over eight seconds.

“I was definitely pushing it,” the junior said. “I was really hyped up for this meet and thought (Upper Dublin’s) Matt Jensen was going to be swimming in the IM, but I pushed myself even though he wasn’t in it and dropped some really nice time.”

Hatboro-Horsham’s Andy Thomas swims backstroke in the boys 200 yard individual medley at Upper Dublin on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

Two of the district’s best, Jensen won the 100 fly and 100 breast for the Cardinals while Thomas took the IM and held off Upper Dublin’s Alex Flynn in the 100 free.

“I had Flynn right next to me, on my hip the entire race,” Thomas said. “That was really good competition and I’m glad he was there — I finally pushed myself really hard, dropped to a 46.55.”

Asked if Friday night’s frenzied atmosphere provided a small sample taste of the postseason, Thomas said “definitely. Everybody’s up cheering, no one’s in their seat. It’s really hyped up and all around an exciting meet.

“I’m only half a second off my states time in the 100 free so I can’t be any more excited for districts or states this year. I’m really excited to see where I can go.”

Musterait making his move

Souderton Area’s Cristian Musterait is coming on strong, racing to a pair of victories Tuesday against rival North Penn.

In the 50 free, he outraced another strong sprinter in the Knights’ Derek Friday and then later in the 100 free he topped Sean Faikish, an impressive freshman for the Knights.

“It’s starting to get later in the season and I’m starting to focus more on sprint and technique and power and stuff like that,” said Musterait, who went 21.61 in the 50 and 47.26 in the 100. “Everything’s slowly starting to come together and I’m just waiting until I can put everything together at the state championship meet and just show everyone what I got.”

He did plenty of aerobic exercise early in the year to help in the 100, and the 50 provides its own challenges.

“The 50 is all power, sprint and technique, just pushing yourself in practice as hard as you can,” the senior said. “Every little stroke counts. I know that when I’m in practice, I’m thinking about how every single stroke is gonna better myself and I’m thinking about my goals later in the season.”

And beyond.

Musterait heads to Arizona State next year and will receive some pretty good tutelage.

“I can’t wait to be over there training — Michael Phelps is gonna be an assistant and Bob Bowman is the head coach,” Musterait said, “so it’s gonna be great.”

Daly double

North Penn junior Aidan Daly continues to be a tremendous distance freestyler for the Knights, taking both the 200 and 500 on Tuesday against Souderton, including a pool record in the 500 (4:46.67).

“The 200 was a pretty good race for me, but I think I should be able to drop time for the rest of the season,” Daly said of his victory in 1:45.97. “The team was swimming really well at that point, coming out of the medley relay with a pool record and I just wanted to build on that.”

North Penn’s boys and girls squads are now both a perfect 4-0 in the SOL Continental. The holiday training gave way to a busy January.

“We don’t really get a break from holiday into January, and especially this month has been pretty stressful, not just swimming but school work and stuff too, but we’ve had two meets a week and more coming up,” Daly said.

“It’s been a pretty tough month but it’s been pretty good for the team with their times and their performance.”

Top Photo: Upper Dublin’s Abbie Amdor swims freestyle in the girls 200 yard individual medley against Hatboro-Horsham on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

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