By Brian Weaver
AND WE’RE BACK...: Diver Kelsey Tennent and Jessica Healy, a backstroke and individual medley swimmer, are both in the midst of solid campaigns to follow up on state-qualifying performances last year. Head coach Kip Emig can’t say enough about their hard work in their quest to make it two trips in a row.
“Kelsey is working hard, and you can see how she’s getting better and better,” he said. “Jessica has just been everything you can ask for. She trains hard, and she’s wonderful in practices. She’s that kid that doesn’t miss a day. Sick or not, it doesn’t matter. She’s been doing all the right things.”
GOOD START: Freshman Rachel Reimenschnieder has her coaching staff thinking big. She has gone 2:17 in the IM and 1:02 in the butterfly.
“Rachel’s a freshman girl who’s been training pretty well. I think she was a little timid going towards the end of the lane,” Emig said. “She’s starting to excite us for districts and the state meet.”
ROOM TO GROW: About 75 percent of the Hatter boys’ team is freshmen and sophomores. Emig points out that several of his young swimmers should grow to be about 6-2 or 6-3. One of those is Rick Sutton.
“I can’t wait for him to get bigger and stronger because as a sophomore he’s already going 59 [in the 100 free],” Emig said. “Between the flags, the kid just has downhill speed, which is nice to see, especially in young kids. He’s got good start and good finish finesse.”
Mike Shaeffer – a swimmer Emig pegged for backstroke – has taken to the 50-100 freestyle. T.J. Guminski also has his district cuts in the 100 breaststroke right now.
“This group of kids just soaks it all in,” the Hatters’ coach said. “T.J. just puts everything into practices. And that’s where Andy [Rogitti] and the older boys can kind of teach the kids that you work through these things.”
Rogitti, a senior captain, is Emig’s utility man.
“He can do anything, and the effort he puts in, he absolutely leads by example,” Emig said. “(He’s) a great person to have on the team at all.”
Wednesday 1/14 – Central Bucks South
Friday 1/16 – CB East
Wednesday 1/21 – Pennridge
Friday 1/23 – Council Rock South
A FAMILY THING: Senior Ali Ludwick is back and soaring as usual for the Falcons. The two-time state qualifier in breaststroke – who also runs a 4:59 mile – is on a roll once again.
On the boys’ side of the pool, Dylan Ludwick is turning heads as a sophomore. His wins in the 200 free and 100 breast paced a 99-81 win over Central Bucks West
“Dillon and Alex Neglich, a freshman, both swim pretty much anything,” head coach John Wilson said.
FOLLOW THE LEADERS: The girls’ squad is dominated mostly by juniors and sophomores, but don’t ignore the senior contributions to the team.
“Madeline Barlow in the 100 back and 100 fly is a district qualifier, and should break one minute in the fly,” said Wilson, who also coaches the girls. “The younger swimmers are falling in step behind these performances.
“Whitney Gould, a sophomore who re-invented herself last year, is having a pretty superb year both in the 200 IM and the 500 freestyle. And Catherine Reeves who swims sprint freestyles and relays, is a major contributor to the team.”
The girls have only lost once with the only blemish on their 7-1 record to non-league Souderton. The boys stand at 6-2. Matt Chrzanowski is down to a 22 and a 49 in the 50 and 100 free to help pace the Hatter boys.
Wednesday 1/14 – at William Tennant
Friday 1/16 – Interboro
Weekend Tournament in New Jersey
WHISTLING DIXIE: Over the holiday break, the Cardinals traveled to Plantation, Florida, for a training trip to gear up for the stretch run of their season.
“We trained on long courses twice a day, and provided the kids with opportunities they might not get up here,” Head Coach Brian Palme said. “It was a nice, captive audience situation, so we didn’t have to worry about other distractions.”
The Cardinals needed every yard of that training. They came back to compete at the Bucknell Invitational against traditional Pennsylvania powerhouses Emmaus, Parkland, State College, and Cumberland Valley. Palme relishes the challenge.
“We’re not ducking anyone this year,” Palme said.
DO I HEAR A DOZEN?: While Palme acknowledges that his seniors are great leaders in and out of the pool, they have plenty of help. The Cardinals boast a lot of depth and have 11 swimmers under a minute in the 100 free.
"Sprint freestyles tend to be our strength,” Palme explained. “We have a pretty strong fly core this year, but freestyle’s mostly our strength.”
In addition, the Cardinals have seven swimmers qualified for districts – one in every discipline except breaststroke – and six of them have hit in multiple events.
Friday 1/16 – Plymouth Whitemarsh
Saturday 1/17 – Wilson Relays
Friday 1/23 – Boyertown