Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Area teams getting back in the groove

The wait is over.”We are so excited to get back in the water,” Central Bucks West coach Vibeke Swanson said. “We will be reacquainting ourselves with the water, the feel for the water and how much fun it will be to be back in our natural habitat.”

Monday brought a return to the pool for area swim teams, as Governor Tom Wolf allowed recent COVID-related restrictions to expire.

Local squads were back at practice, putting in the early miles for what they hope is a long and productive season.

The pandemic cut short Day Two of the PIAA Championships last March out at Bucknell, ushering in a strange and difficult time for area swim teams.

Things looked to be back on track until the most recent shutdown. But the athletes and their coaches kept busy any way they could.

“We did dryland, Zoom and team meetings,” Swanson said. “Coaches checked in with kids to catch up a few times a week.”

Said Pennridge boys coach Jenna Anselmo: “Since we do not know what the season itself will hold, we are focusing on technique and setting goals to chase after.

“We were lucky to have had as much practice time as possible in between the shut downs, and the boys had daily dry land workouts to keep themselves moving while we counted down the days until we can train again.”

Finally, teams are back together, and they hope it’s for good this time.

Still following social-distancing guidelines, area teams hope Monday was just the beginning of a long and fruitful season.

“Nothing is better than having an in-person conversation with water surrounding us,” Swanson said.

North Penn’s Alli Lindsay (11) drives the lane on her way to another Knights basket during their game against Lansdale Catholic on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020. Lindsay and the Knights returned to the court Monday. (James Beaver/For MediaNews Group)

Hoop it up >> Area basketball courts are once again filled, and North Penn is savoring the moment.

“We are very excited to get started again after the holidays. We’ve joked with the girls that it seems like we’ve had three different starts to the season, but we’re grateful to have the opportunity to get back to it,” Knights coach Jen Carangi said.

Despite the shutdown, the Knights went into this week in pretty good basketball shape.

“Luckily, we have a great group of girls who’ve worked very hard during the practices we’ve had,” Carangi said. “The disadvantage is that we are a young team, so we could benefit from as much practice as possible.

“We have done a lot of teaching during the preseason, so I’ll be excited to have the chance to see where we are at this point. We’ll have to review some of what they’ve learned and, obviously, conditioning will be a priority, but with only a week before our first game against CB West, we’ll have our hands full.”

With everyone spread out during the pandemic, continuity within the team was tough to maintain. But the Knights pushed through it.

Said Carangi: “It was definitely challenging. My staff and I have tried to remain positive through all of this, so we really focused on each player continuing to work individually during the shut down. We have stayed in contact via Zoom and texts throughout December, and we have videos of our plays available to the players, which is helpful for our younger girls.”

And there wound up being some positives to the layoff. “We also wanted the team to enjoy the time off with their families,” Carangi said. “As you well know, with the way basketball season works, it is rare that our players get to enjoy the holidays with their families.

“Perhaps one positive amidst this pandemic is that our players got to spend some much deserved time celebrating with them. Now that the holidays are behind us, we’re looking forward to getting back on the court.”

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