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Youthful Malvern Prep finishes 7th at Easterns

Lancaster >> Jack Cassidy hopped into the water for the 100 backstroke as a rarity at the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming Championships Saturday. On the second night of finals, he was the only Malvern Prep senior in the water.
It’s indicative of a rebuilding year for the perennial power, but the youth that the Friars brought to Franklin & Marshall indicate a bright future ahead.
“I think it’s really awesome being able to be one of those leaders,” Cassidy said. “I had those leaders when I was a freshman, and they really motivated me to get where I am now. So for me to be that person for them, that’s more rewarding than individual success.”
Malvern slipped from third last year to seventh this season, trailing Inter-Ac rivals Haverford School (third), Episcopal Academy (fourth) and Germantown Academy (sixth). Its 346.5 points was well shy of the winning total of Philips Andover (641).
Saturday produced just one A final, with junior Ryan Durkan finishing fifth in the 100 breaststroke. Their leading scorer in the meet was diver Nick Harris, who won Friday’s competition with a score of 567.25 points.
But save for Cassidy, who won the C final of the 100 back in 51.83 seconds, all the others were underclassmen, including Alex Hamill and Michael McMahon, who had made the B final but finished with slower times than Cassidy. The 400 free relay squad of Kevin Cary, Hamill, Brady Tierney and Cassidy finished seventh.
It was an emotional day for Cassidy in his last high school swim, made even more so by the retirement of coach Jay Schiller after 41 years with the swimming program. Schiller, who was honored with an award by the meet organizers, will stay on to work with the water polo team.
“It was definitely really special being here for his last Easterns,” Cassidy said. “But it’s sad to see him go. He’s one of the reasons why I came to Malvern, and I’m going to miss him a lot.”

NOTES: On Friday, Ryan Durkan was sixth in the 200IM with a time of 1:53.32. Danny Faunce finished seventh in the diving event and Kevin Cary placed eighth in the 200 free with a time of 1:41.95. Malvern’s 200 medley relay team of Alex Hamill, Durkan, Jack Cassidy and Ben Kutufaris placed eighth in an All American Consideration time of 1:34.07.

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