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Thoughts of Postseason Already on the Minds of Upper Perk Swimmers
Written by Ernie Quatrani Correspondent
2014-12-03

Upper Perk swimmers who made it to postseason contests last year were, standing left to right, Mitch Cairns, Jackie Hammill, Melissa Kilroy, and Ryan Mercando. Middle bottom, Tyler Reed, top, Brandon Umstead. Missing, Kirsten Siwy.

                Even though the season is just getting underway this week, Upper Perkiomen swim teams are looking ahead to the postseason with a ramped-up conditioning program designed to return several swimmers to the state championships.

                Veterans Brandon Umstead, Kirsten Siwy and Jackie Hammill, state championship participants last spring, spearhead a small but determined program under Brien Kalnoski who shared head coaching duties with Kyle Kuser last season but is now the man in charge.

                Kalnoski's familiarity with the swimmers and the fact that he coached water polo this fall, has allowed him to tailor appropriate individual workouts.

                "Because I was able to train them during water polo, the yardage has been adjusted accordingly this year.  We are significantly ahead of where we were last year at this time both in terms of overall yardage and daily yardage."

                It's a total of 14 miles ahead in yardage, according to some of the swimmers.

                Umstead, a senior contemplating enlisting in the Navy, has been to states the past two seasons. Last spring he finished tenth in the 200 individual medley, breaking the two-minute barrier and setting a new team record. In the 100 backstroke, Umstead finished 13th in 54.45.

                His lofty goals this year include two firsts in districts and a medal at states.

                Umstead welcomes the harder training and his attitude is copied by his teammates.

                "As of right now, it's going to be very hard for us, but at the end of the season, it will be beneficial," Umstead said.

                "Everybody wants to work hard. No complaining at practices. We just get in the pool, do what we need to do, and we have a good time doing it even if it's really tough work."

                Kalnoski believes that Mitch Cairns and Ryan Mercando will join Umstead for individual events at the state swim meet in March.

                Mercando, Tyler Reed, Cairns, and Umstead swam to a fourth place finish in the 200 free relay at districts. Mercando also finished third in the 100 butterfly (58.63) and the first-, second- and fourth-place finishers have all graduated. The first-place finisher automatically qualifies for states.

                "I just got to work on some starts and finishes and work on swimming it more and more. Hopefully that will work," said the senior who is probably headed to Mercyhurst to play water polo and major in exercise science.

                On the female side, Siwy swam three events at states last March and came away determined to work even harder on her skills and conditioning.

                "States last year, I was very nervous," Siwy, a junior, noted. "I didn't know what to expect, how I was going to perform. This year I trained a lot over the summer into preseason."

                That training included swimming with a club team and a trip to the YMCA Nationals.

                The medley relay also made it to states but graduated Christina Williams and Kristen Kilroy. Siwy, who swims the free while Hammill handles the butterfly leg, is still optimistic that the relay can get to states citing the talents of junior Melissa Kilroy and freshmen Alexis Sloyer and Julia Cuppitt.

                For her part, Hamill, a senior, feels she learned some things about resting and training during the postseason last year, and she, too, welcomes the demands Kalnoski is placing on everyone.

                "I think it's a big step for a lot of us, but I definitely see good things coming from it," Hammill said. "The theory is that once we get to the taper part of the season that we respond better to it and perform better at districts and states."

                Kalnoski, who is assisted by Boyertown product Nick Gilbert, knows that team points in the dual meets will be hard to come by, but he is upbeat about every other aspect of Upper Perk swimming.

                "We are significantly ahead of where we were in all aspects of the program at this point in the season compared to last year at this time.  My goal is to continue to have three or four freshmen (both boys and girls) join the team each year.  Hopefully, in three to four years time, we will have the depth in both numbers and talent to begin to win our fair share of PAC-10 dual meets."

 


 

 

 

 

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