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Willowood Bluefins Send Over 20 Swimmers to Mid-Caps

The end of the summer is drawing near for the Willowood swimming club, as evidenced by the Bluefins’ two recent meets where they competed against the best of the best in the Mid-Penn Area Swim League. 

Willowood played host to the Division A meet on Saturday, July 20, competing alongside Devon Crest, Heatherfield and Hershey. With the Division B and C meets occurring the same day, the top-16 times in each individual race and top-eight relay times between the three events would move on to the league All-Star meet at Annville-Cleona Community Pool on Sunday, July 21. When all the times were submitted, the Bluefins saw 51 swimmers qualify individually, along with nine of their relay teams. They picked up a total of 8 victories as well.

Three of those came from Jordyn Cronin, who dominated the girls 8-and-under division by winning the 25-meter freestyle (18.18), 25-meter butterfly (19.50) and 25-meter breaststroke (24.24). Juliet Stricker and Elise Fuddy each finished seventh in the 25-meter butterfly (28.13) and 25-meter backstroke (28.06), respectively, to make it to All-Stars. 

The duo also teamed up with Magnolia Fuddy and Lauren Good to take fourth (1:47.55) in the 100-meter freestyle relay. Kassidee Mott’s 10th place time of 33.24 in the 25-meter butterfly also enabled her to swim on Sunday.

Cayden Troop was the lone 8-and-under boy to move on to All-Stars, finishing third in the 25-meter backstroke (26.94) and seventh in the 25-meter freestyle (23.81). Nolan Houp did finish fifth in the 25-meter breaststroke (34.43), good enough to qualify for the next day, but he missed out on competing due to being unavailable.

The only victory to come from the 9-10 division was courtesy of Noa Williams, who finished first in the girls 100-meter freestyle (1:22.33). She also took second in the 50-meter freestyle (37.42) and was apart of the second-place 200-meter medley relay team (2:54.63) with Olivia Kapcsos, Mallory Readinger and Caleigh Troop.

Readinger had a nice day as well, getting second in the 50-meter breaststroke (47.71) and third in the 100-meter individual medley (1:37.48). Kapcsos notched a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 50-meter freestyle (38.45) and 100-meter freestyle (1:31.27), while Troop was fourth in the 50-meter butterfly (47.85) and fifth in the 50-meter backstroke (46.97).

Six additional 9-10 girls moved on to All-Stars as well, plus another relay team. Audra Kuntz took seventh in the 50-meter butterfly (52.69) and ninth in the 100-meter individual medley (1:46.28). Jenna Wivell was eighth in the 50-meter backstroke (50.44) and 12th in the 50-meter breaststroke (1:01.63) as well. Caroline Stricker got eighth in the 100-meter freestyle (1:43.85), while Sonoma Shull placed ninth in the 50-meter backstroke (50.88). The foursome went on to finish fourth in the 200-meter freestyle relay (3:09.04).

Both Valerie Hall and Amber Musser joined Stricker in the 100-meter freestyle by placing ninth (1:48.12) and 10th (2:06.94), respectively. Mackenzie Shubert qualified by finishing third in the 50-meter breaststroke (53.26), fifth in the 50-meter freestyle (40.06) and sixth in the 100-meter individual medley (1:40.56) but was unavailable for the All-Star meet Sunday.

Felix Mikula paced the 9-10 boys by taking second in the 100-meter freestyle (1:21.56), fourth in the 50-meter freestyle (36.95) and sixth in the 50-meter breaststroke (49.34). Owen Good also made it to three All-Star events, placing eighth in the 100-meter individual medley (2:07.19), ninth in the 100-meter freestyle (1:49.11) and 10th in the 50-meter breaststroke (57.11).

A fifth-place finish in the 50-meter backstroke (58.10) and a seventh-place finish in the 100-meter individual medley (2:03.74) allowed Barrett Newsome to qualify for Sunday. James Mott got 10th in the 50-meter butterfly (1:02.43) as well. Both Luka Spayd and Aiden Gubbins got third (56.31) and sixth (59.64) in the 50-meter backstroke, though they missed out on All-Stars.

Willowood had just two boys swim in the 11-12 division, but both did extremely well. Trevor Nolen won the 50-meter breaststroke (38.52); he took second in the 50-meter butterfly (33.81) and fourth in the 50-meter backstroke (38.70) as well. Max Mikula was fourth in the 50-meter breaststroke (43.11) and had a pair of sixth-place finishes in the 50-meter freestyle (36.88) and 50-meter backstroke (43.52).

Josie Spayd got a surprise victory for the 9-10 girls in the 50-meter breaststroke (44.93); she also took fifth in the 50-meter freestyle (34.98) and sixth in the 100-meter freestyle (1:20.87). The 200-meter medley relay team of Tessa Cronin, Julia Garber, Stephanie Hall and Ella Stricker also picked up a win in a time of 2:43.48.

Each of the four medley relay swimmers had strong individual success. Cronin finished second in the 100-meter freestyle (1:14.43) and third in the 50-meter backstroke (39.18). Hall was third in the 100-meter individual medley (1:29.50) and fifth in the 50-meter butterfly (1:16.23). Garber mirrored her, taking third in the 100-meter individual medley (1:28.50) and fifth in the 50-meter butterfly (38.54). Stricker placed eighth in both the 100-meter freestyle (1:27.71) and 100-meter individual medley (1:38.34).

Kylie Wilkinson led the 13-14 girls by winning the 100-meter freestyle (1:07.87) and finishing fourth in the 50-meter backstroke (36.31). She and the 200-meter medley relay team, consisting of Jenna Huber, Genevieve McDonald and Cathleen Mooney, also got second (2:24.41).

McDonald was fifth in the 50-meter butterfly (35.67) as well as sixth in the 100-meter individual medley (1:21.30). Huber took seventh in the 100-meter individual medley (1:22.68) and eight in the 50-meter breaststroke (42.41). Mooney added an eighth-place finish in the 50-meter freestyle (33.98).

Several other 13-14 girls moved on to All-Stars as well. Jillian Wivell took seventh in the 100-meter freestyle (1:21.92) and 10th in the 50-meter butterfly (43.83). Carissa Horst was eighth (1:37.43) in the former. Rene Oltmans placed ninth in the 100-meter individual medley (1:28.46), while Kendall Hein got 10th in the 50-meter breaststroke (44.43). Morgan Rudy was unavailable for Sunday but would’ve qualified by taking sixth in the 100-meter freestyle (1:20.58), seventh in the 50-meter freestyle (33.75) and ninth in the 50-meter butterfly (44.38).

Caz Mikula got a win for the 13-14 boys in the 100-meter freestyle (1:01.50). He also placed fifth in the 100-meter individual medley (1:14.23) and was apart of the second-place 200-meter medley relay team (2:22.15) with Daniel Erickson, Braden Newsome and Nathan Yohn.

Yohn was solid, getting fifth in the 50-meter freestyle (29.71) and sixth in the 50-meter backstroke (38.28). Daniel Erickson took ninth in the 50-meter breaststroke (43.80), which his brother Nathan was seventh in (41.06). Adam Mickievicz finished seventh in the 50-meter backstroke (39.96) and eighth in the 50-meter freestyle (30.33), while Ethan Cronin was fifth in the 100-meter freestyle (1:14.90).

Ben Azzalina continued his successful summer with a pair of second-place finishes in the 15-and-over boys 100-meter freestyle (54.89) and 100-meter individual medley (1:02.99). He and the 200-meter medley relay team, consisting of Sam Azzalina, Aedan Wilkinson and Zyggy Mikula, also got fourth (2:01.30).

Wilkinson and Sam Azzalina each had a third-place finish in the 50-meter butterfly (28.64) and the 50-meter freestyle (26.12), respectively. The former was seventh in the 50-meter breaststroke (33.59), while the latter was ninth (34.42). Mikula moved on to Sunday with a 13th-place finish in the 50-meter freestyle (28.54). 

Ethan Hall and Ben Erickson also got into All-Stars by taking ninth in the 50-meter backstroke (35.24) and 13th in the 100-meter freestyle (1:04.92), respectively. Riley Runnels was unavailable but did qualify by placing eighth in the 50-meter backstroke (32.09) and 10th in the 50-meter freestyle (27.57).

The 15-and-over girls were most successful with their relay teams. The 200-meter freestyle relay of Gabi Dabbs, Rachel Nolen, Emmy Kriner and Brooke Heisey got fourth (2:14.96), while the 200-meter medley relay team of Lilly Rutkowski, Sierra Kapcsos, Megan Handshew and Rachel Handshew finished fifth (2:18.34).

Megan Handshew ended up in fourth for the 50-meter butterfly (33.92) and sixth in the 50-meter backstroke (35.41). Kapcsos and Rachel Handshew each had a seventh-place finish and a ninth-place finish, the former in the 50-meter breaststroke (39.02) and the 50-meter butterfly (34.64), and the latter in the 50-meter freestyle (31.35) and the 100-meter freestyle (1:10.17). Dabbs and Kriner did similarily with a seventh-place finish and a 10th-place finish, the former in the 100-meter freestyle (1:08.84) and 50-meter butterfly (34.78), and the latter in the 50-meter butterfly (34.58) and the 100-meter freestyle (1:10.39).

By the conclusion of the All-Star meet on Sunday, July 21, 21 individual Bluefins and three of the relay teams performed well enough to qualify for the joint Mid-Caps meet with the Capital Area Swim League that will cap off the season on Saturday, July 27, at Palmyra Community Pool. The top-eight individual finishes and top-four relay teams would move on. Willowood managed to nab five wins along the way.

Jordyn Cronin once again led the Bluefins in victories, taking first in the 8-and-under girls 25-meter butterfly (20.42) and 25-meter breaststroke (24.22). She was also second in the 25-meter freestyle (17.98). Cayden Troop was the only other Bluefin in the division to qualify for Mid-Caps, getting third in the 25-meter backstroke (25.74).

The 9-10 girls 200-meter medley relay team of Caleigh Troop, Mallory Readinger, Noa Williams and Olivia Kapcsos was gifted a win in 2:54.59 when Hershey, the only other competing team, got disqualified for an early start. Williams also picked up a win in the 100-meter freestyle in 1:22.00 flat and took fifth in the 50-meter freestyle (37.57).

Readinger moved on to Mid-Caps by finishing third in the 50-meter breaststroke (47.10) and sixth in the 100-meter individual medley (1:36.85). Troop did the same by taking fourth in the 50-meter backstroke (45.39) and sixth in the 50-meter butterfly (45.77), while Kapcsos joined them with sixth and seventh-place finishes in the 50-meter freestyle (37.90) and 100-meter freestyle (1:31.08), respectively.

Felix Mikula was the lone 9-10 boy to qualify for Mid-Caps, getting third in the 100-meter freestyle (1:21.21), fifth in the 50-meter breaststroke (47.05) and sixth in the 50-meter freestyle (36.24).

The 11-12 boys duo of Trevor Nolen and Max Mikula stayed consistent by making it through to Mid-Caps in each of their three events. Nolen won the 50-meter breaststroke (37.92), taking second in the 50-meter butterfly (33.09) and third in the 50-meter backstroke (37.92). Mikula pushed through with a pair of seventh-place finishes in the 50-meter backstroke (43.46) and 50-meter breaststroke (43.77), also getting eighth in the 50-meter freestyle (35.65).

The 11-12 girls 200-meter medley relay team of Tessa Cronin, Julia Garber, Stephanie Hall and Ella Stricker took third (2:41.12). The former three all made it to Mid-Caps individually as well. Cronin was third in the 100-meter freestyle (1:14.66) and fourth in the 50-meter backstroke (37.71). Garber took fifth in the 100-meter individual medley (1:25.99) and eighth in the 50-meter butterfly (37.88), while Hall got sixth in the 50-meter freestyle (34.53) and seventh in the 100-meter freestyle (1:17.44). Josie Spayd joined the group by taking third in the 50-meter breaststroke (43.72) and seventh in the 50-meter freestyle (34.54).

Caz Mikula finished second in the 13-14 boys 100-meter freestyle (1:01.37) and was apart of the third-place 200-meter medley relay team (2:23.65) with Daniel Erickson, Braden Newsome and Nathan Yohn. Erickson also got eighth in the 50-meter breaststroke (39.07). 

Kylie Wilkinson finished third in the 13-14 girls 100-meter freestyle (1:09.27) and tied for fourth in the 50-meter freestyle (36.21). Genevieve McDonald qualified for Mid-Caps by taking sixth in the 100-meter individual medley (1:21.14), just barely missing out on the 50-meter butterfly (35.66) after she finished ninth, missing out by 0.12 seconds.

Ben Azzalina placed second in the 15-and-over boys 50-meter freestyle (55.84) and third in the 100-meter individual medley (1:03.35), while his twin brother Sam finished fourth in the 50-meter freestyle (26.24) and eighth in the 50-meter breaststroke (34.23), qualifying for the latter by just 0.19 seconds. Aedan Wilkinson had a pair of seventh-place finishes in the 50-meter butterfly (28.87) and 50-meter breaststroke (33.69). Sierra Kapcsos was the only 15-and-over girl to make it to Mid-Caps, taking eighth in the 50-meter butterfly (34.06).

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