Quite a few swimmers had some early holiday cheer at the second annual First Chance meet, held at Council Rock North on Saturday.
The meet gave swimmers the opportunity to make cut times for the District One competition, slated for Feb. 27-28 at LaSalle University.
The Council Rock North boys team had some outstanding swims.
Will Higgins made the automatic district time in the 200-yard freestyle with his time of 1:49.20 and the 100 backstroke (54.38). He was the winner of both races.
“It’s a really big relief to get cuts so early in the season,” said Higgins, a senior captain. “I know last year I was really fighting all season to get those cut times. I really wanted to get them and so getting them so early this time is great.
“Now I don’t have to worry about making times and I can focus on my technique instead of worrying about my times.
“It was good to see my teammates doing so well. I know we’ve all worked so hard these past few weeks so I’m really excited to see what they can do for the rest of the season.
“This meet is a great way to practice racing against SOL teams and people that we know closely. It’s just a good time to race and we get the fancy suits on (jammers) so it’s very exciting.
“It’s a taste of what the conference championship will be like. I was at the end of the pool cheering for my friends and I thought it was a lot like the SOL meet. We’ll have a repeat of this meet at the end of the season and hopefully times will be even faster.”
Higgins has applied to Villanova, Bucknell, Wake Forest and the Naval Academy. He plans to swim club and major in engineering.
He is also a member of the CR North boys lacrosse team and is the public relations officer for the senior class as a member of student government.
Dominic Edwards also earned an automatic bid to districts in two individual events, winning the 100 butterfly (54.56) and getting a cut time in the 100 backstroke (55.00).
Caleb Chryst got the automatic time in the 50 freestyle (22.59) and Jackson Eshelman in the 100 butterfly (54.77) to round out the individual event automatic qualifiers for the Indians.
Higgins, Edwards, Eshelman and Chryst teamed up to win the 200 medley relay in an automatic time of 1:39.39 and Chryst, Higgins, Jack Henderson and Edwards won the 400 freestyle relay with an automatic time of 3:19.30.
Henderson posted a district consideration time in the 50 freestyle (22.90), Chryst in the 100 butterfly (56.20).
The CR North 200 freestyle relay of Henderson, Michael Kiedaisch, Austin Ruggles and Eshelman won their race in a consideration time of 1:31.60.
Freshman Brady Wojnovich won the 200 individual medley for CR North but did not make a cut time (2:09.83).
For the CR North girls, Callie Haggerty made the automatic cut in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.39).
“It was amazing,” said Haggerty, a sophomore. “We’ve worked so hard so far this season it’s amazing to reach this goal. I’m still going to push myself and work really hard to get even further.
“I’m definitely eyeing the 50 free and I’d like to make districts for that as well. I’m going to focus on both events.”
Haggerty attended the District One meet last season as a relay alternate, so she didn’t actually get to swim.
“That was still a good experience for me because I saw all the swimmers and I’m excited to be there and actually compete,” she said. “I can’t wait to go and I hope more people will make it.
“This meet was awesome. It’s great to be here with my teammates because they push me every day. I liked having a lot of teams from our league here because it’s foreshadowing what’s to come. Everyone did really well so I was excited about that. I can’t wait to see what North can do this year.”
Haggerty would like to swim in college but has not started the process yet.
Paige Schluchterer won the 200 freestyle with a consideration time of 2:02.14. Emily Nelson swam a consideration time in the 100 breaststroke (1:12.06).
Also for the Indians, Katie Williams won the 500 freestyle but did not make a cut time (5:33.27) and Ana Brandbergh, Nelson, Rachel Wozniak and Haggerty won the 200 medley relay (1:56.20) but also did not get a district time.
For the Council Rock South girls, Emma Sabalaske earned consideration times in the 200 individual medley (2:19.07) and 100 breaststroke (1:11.56).
Kellsey Robinson also had two consideration times, in the 50 freestyle (25.36) and 100 backstroke (1:02.21).
For the CR South boys, Mark Rhoge posted a consideration time in the 100 butterfly (55.35).
Other schools competing at the event were fellow Suburban One League National Conference programs Neshaminy, Pennsbury and William Tennent. Villa Joseph Marie of the Academies League also participated. All schools are in Class 3A except for Villa Joseph Marie, which is Class 2A.
Overall, the boys had 14 automatic cuts in individual events and three in relays and posted six consideration times in individual events and three in relays.
While the girls had one automatic time in an individual event and 12 consideration times, plus one consideration time in a relay in Class 3A. In Class 2A, there were four consideration times posted in individual events for the day.
There was one school record at the meet. Neshaminy’s boys 200 medley relay of Maximilian Butkiewicz, A.J. McClurkin, Dan Sinagoga and Maksim Tishin posted an automatic time of 1:39.72, lowering the team standard of 1:40.57 set in 2014 by Steven Keashon, Bobby Winther, Bob Giannini and David Kneiss.