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Reporter/Times Herald Swim Notebook: Locals savor a return to the pool

North Penn's Nick Clark won the 200 IM and led off the first-place 200 free relay to lead the Knights past Souderton Area on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. The Knights could be in the mix for a state crown in 2021. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

North Penn’s just beginning to get in swim shape, but things are already shaping up.

The Knights look like a contender for big things at season’s end.

“As a team, I think we could actually take the state title this year,” Nick Clark said of he and the Knights, who have been knocking on the door the past few seasons. “I really do believe that. We have a couple different guys who can really step up this year and make a big difference.”

After having to postpone their first two meets because of a positive COVID-19 test, the North Penn boys got going with a victory over rival Souderton Thursday night, and showed some signs.

Nick Clark and Max Bachman won multiple events for NP.

“I’d like to drop a second in the 100 breast and I’d like to go for some team records as well,” Clark said. “I’m not sure how everything is gonna play out this year but I’m confident that something big will happen.”

Overall, it was a spirited meet for both sides.

“The kids enjoy the thrill of competition, and that’s really what it’s all about,” Knights coach Jeff Faikish said. “We’re fortunate that people can come together, follow all of the protocols, and provide opportunities for all of the student athletes in all of our communities.”

Young Rams Stepping Up >> The Pennridge girls have an influx of young swimmers who are already contributing.

Freshman Lexy Hulse swam on the medley relay and finished second in the 100 breaststroke with a promising time of 1:24.11 when Pennridge took on Souderton Area.

“It’s a great stepping stone,” Rams coach Jacob Grant said. “You know you have some young kids coming up and she was really eager and excited when she saw she was in the A medley relay. I hope she keeps that momentum going.”

All Together Now >> The Pennridge boys and girls were happy to be back at their home pool, swimming, competing and having fun.

“I’m just happy we’re swimming. I’m on deck with them, and they get to swim and I get to coach,” said Grant with a smile. “The fact that we’re having meets is incredible. Every day is a blessing to just be out here and I’m thankful for Pennridge getting sports back up and getting these kids back in school.

“It’s awesome to see. This (gesturing to the kids on deck) is what the kids need. They’re talking to each other, hanging out, socializing. It’s good for them. Just happy to be here.”

Boys coach Jenna Anselmo was ready to roll, dying her hair purple for the meet with Big Red.

“I figured it’s a crazy season so let’s be bold,” she said happily.

There was a lot of energy at Pennridge that evening, a certain buzz around the building.

“It is so good to be back. I was the assistant coach for water polo so I got my feet wet with that. But for me, it’s not quite the same as a full-pool swim,” Anselmo said. “And you finally hear the whole team in there and swimming. It’s music to my ears.”

Said the coach of the squad this year: “I really enjoy coaching this group of guys. They work hard. They know how to have fun. But when it’s time to knuckle down, they do it. And they work together as a team. They push one another, they train hard together.

“(Swimming is) a sense of normalcy in this weird time.”

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