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Kovalenko's Team Goals Supersede Individual Success
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Though his individual goals of shattering the school record and returning to the PIAA championship meet in the 100 meter butterfly both seem attainable.

Kyle Kovalenko says he would rather succeed with his teammates. Kovalenko's top priority would be to help an Upper Perkiomen relay team qualify for states.

            "That certainly would be better than me going alone," said Kovalenko, a junior. "It would be great having a good time with them."

            Individually, Kovalenko and seniors Cameron Junk and Joel Williams, each have a legitimate shot at states, according to head coach Brien Kalnoski. He said a relay team could also qualify for the first time since 2013. 

            The current boys team, with 10 swimmers, will be more competitive during the dual meet schedule and District One meet than in recent seasons.  "It's going to be an interesting year," said Kalnoski, whose team opens its dual meet season against Quakertown on Friday.

            According to Kalnoski, Kovalenko, who is only a few tenths of a second from breaking the 100 breaststroke record set by Casey Perlstein in 2012. "Kyle should get it by the time he is a senior," the coach said.

            Kovalenko, who posted a 1:02.24 at states, said the record is "first on his horizon." He has been a breaststroker since the age of eight, and continued to compete in the event throughout the years as him times improved.

            "I like the stroke because it keeps me in great shape," said Kovalenko, who will also complete in the in the 200 free and the 200 individual medley this season.

            According to Kalnoski, the Tribe's 200 and 400 free relays, as well as its 200 medley relay, have a chance to qualify for states. Kovalenko said he believes the medley relay has the best shot. With some degree of certainty, he predicted that Junk (freestyle), Williams (butterfly) and Dan Miller (backstroke).

            The coach described Junk (500 free, 200 free, 200 IM) as "as good a swimmer as he is a cross country runner." Kalnoski said the senior's best individual event as the 500 free. "Cameron knows how to manage the race," the coach said.

            Kalnoski described Williams (100 butterfly, 500 free, 100 back) as a versatile contributor. The senior has the potential to qualify for states in the 100 fly and the 500 free, according to the coach.

            Sophomores Trevor Cairns (500 free, 200 free, 200 IM) and Joe McGillen (100 breast, 200 IM) and four ninth graders should give the team much needed depth.

            Upper Perkiomen's girls team opens its season with 11 swimmers on the roster. According to Kalnoski, 10 could qualify for districts.

            Noel Fresa, a sophomore, is the lone returning state qualifier. Last season, she competed in the 50 free and 100 backstroke. This year, she will complete in those two events, as well as the 100 free.  "Noel looks good in the water," the coach said. "I expect her to get back to states."

            Juniors Bailey McCausland (200 free, 100 breast), Maddie Modugno (50 free, 100 free) and sophomore Jayme Fisher (500 free, 200 free) are competed in the district meet last season. 

"I expect Maddie and Bailey to be in the mix to get to states," Kalnoski said.

            Seniors Maddie Cairns (100 back) and Julia Cupitt, along with  junior Erin Dunphy (500 free, 100 breast), sophomore Bella Himes and freshmen Kayman Heater, Laura Cooney, Caitlyn McKelvy and Anna Kastelein are expected to contribute, according to the coach.





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