The William Tennent swim team is small but spirited.
The Panthers ended the Suburban One League Freedom Division regular season with a double dual meet at Springfield Township on Thursday. Tennent lost the girls meet by a score of 98-53 and the boys, 91-54 in the final tune-up before conference championships, slated for Friday and Saturday at Cheltenham.
Bahdan Huryn was the lone event winner for Tennent, taking first in the boys 100-yard freestyle in 52.31.
The best finish of the day for the girls was second place in the 200 freestyle relay. Alyssa Kunz, Courtney Rudden, Brea DiSalvo and Kayla Van Atta teamed up to post a time of 1:58.56.
Tennent junior Ava Latona is in her first year with the team. She runs cross country and spring track for the Panthers.
“I don’t like running in the winter because it’s so cold, so I thought I’d give swimming a try,” Latona said. “It was definitely a good decision to come out for the team and I’m doing it again next year.
“I really like being on the team. Everyone always tries their best in the meets. The dual meet season is tough and we’re a small team but we make up for it by cheering. We have a good mentality and bond with each other.
“I’m looking forward to champs and I think we’ll all do well there.”
Senior Chris Carroll has been on the team for four years.
“I won’t be swimming in college so this is it for me,” he said. “It’s sad but there will be some good things about it, too. Swimming is a really big time commitment.
“I think we’re going to have a good meet at champs. There’s so much hype at that meet. We’re all tapered, everyone gets pumped up and swims well, and I like having a lot of competition. It really shows you where you are. Hopefully I can make a district cut. That’s my goal.”
The Panthers have a new head coach at the helm. MaryKate Scully took over this season for Meghan Reilly, who left to spend more time with her young son, Lincoln.
Scully swam for Hatboro-Horsham, graduating in 2020. She graduated from Bloomsburg in December of last year with a degree in elementary education and is currently in the process of becoming a substitute teacher in the Centennial School District.
“This is an exciting opportunity for me,” Scully said. “I grew up swimming. I swam for 12 years. My dad (Rich) was my coach and he swam and my brother (John, who also swam at Drexel) swam. Coming back to the pool was something I knew I wanted to do.
“These kids love the sport and they want to have fun. The smiles on their faces brings a smile to my face every day.”
This is her first varsity head coaching position, but she has experience coaching summer swimming.
“My goal for this team at champs is honestly to see everyone do a good time but also to see everyone supporting each other,” Scully said. “We are a small team and they kids have really created a bond.
“They’ve really come together and I love to see the seniors cheering for the freshmen and all that camaraderie. Champs is so much fun and I know that because I swam in it, and I want that experience for them.”
The team adjusted quickly to the new leadership.
“She’s been great,” Carroll said. “Hopefully, she’ll be back next year.”
The Spartans honored the seniors from both teams before the meet. Tennent seniors included Carroll, Greg Moore, James Niles, Kunz, Emily Moran, Melissa Portman, Chris McLaughlin, Rudden, Van Atta and Grace Pickford.