After a slow start to the season due to coronavirus, the Northgate/Avonworth swim team has finally started competing.

On Saturday, February 6th, the team went to Riverside Highschool for a non-section swim meet. This was originally unscheduled, but after a vote among the swimmers about whether or not they wanted to swim on a Saturday, they decided to go. When asked about whether or not she wanted to swim at the meet, Freshman Amelia Hardiman simply said, “Yeah.” Sophomore Matthew Purcell stated that he originally had some reservations about it but was glad to go in the end: “I definitely had mixed feelings about it, but[…] it wasn’t that big of a deal.”

Riverside is only four lanes, so the team had to reduce the number of people who would compete. Despite the reduced numbers, the team still did great; the boys’ team won with a score of 62-36 and the girls swept Riverside 71-11.

Freshman Ryan Hartle competed in the diving competition and qualified for WPIALs with a score of 187.05. This is the first time ever that a Northgate/Avonworth swimmer has qualified to go to WPIALs for diving. When asked how he felt about this, he said, “Pretty good. It feels nice.”

Seniors Graham Herzig and Carly Spahr, Sophomore Jack Blaser, and Freshmen Ryan Hartle, and Elise Nardozzi all qualified in either a swimming or diving event. Seniors Clark Bernauer, Graham Herzig, Cooper Groll, and Sophomore Matthew Purcell also qualified in their 200 yard freestyle relay. 

Many swimmers also beat some of their personal best times during this meet. Anna Neiss, a Junior, took first place in the 50 yard freestyle with 24.69 which also broke her season best. Elise Nardozzi took second in the same event with 24.82 also breaking her season best, and freshman Zach Schuster took the cake by dropping an entire 10 seconds off his already WPIAL qualifying 500 freestyle time.

The team has several more meets planned for this year. Excluding the WPIAL and States meets, they have three section ones and two non-section ones planned.

Overall, the swimmers were generally excited to be at the swim meet, and are excited for what the rest of the season has in store for them. Kendall McKelvey summed it all up quite well by saying, “It’s definitely been a lot of stopping and starting but I’m glad that we’re getting more consistent now and I’m super excited to see what comes next.”

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