by Tom Utescher
A visit to the Plymouth Whitemarsh High School pool last Monday moved Mount St. Joseph Academy back into winning territory, with a 99-79 victory producing an overall record of 3-2 for the Magic swimmers.
Other victories were recorded over Archbishop Ryan and Hatboro Horsham High School, while the setbacks came against two of the stronger programs in the Delaware Valley, North Penn High School and the Mount’s own Catholic Academies rival, Villa Maria.
After amassing an overwhelming lead over the Plymouth Whitemarsh Colonials last week, Mount St. Joe had its swimmers race on an exhibition (non-scoring) basis in the last few events, reducing the final margin of victory.
In seasons past the Magic have had one or two divers on the roster, but this year there are none at all. In meets against fully-staffed opponents such as Plymouth Whitemarsh, this means that the Mount is giving away 13 team points from the get-go.
That makes it even more important for the Magic to get off to a strong start in the swimming events, and they did that against PW. First, a quartet consisting of Dana Cinque, Dana Zielinski, Lexi Meister, and Miranda Rafferty (all juniors except Meister, a sophomore) won the 200-yard medley relay, while freshman Brynn McGovern, senior Jacklyn Rockwood, sophomore Maria Finnegan, and freshman Alayna Kennedy came in third.
Next, senior Meg Weiser and junior Katie O’Connell gave the visitors a one-two finish in the 200 freestyle, and when freshman Christina Formica, Meister, and Rafferty swept the top three places in the individual medley, the Mounties had built up the early lead they were looking for.
The precocious Formica had already broken the old MSJ record in the 200 free in the opening meet of the season, and proceeded to beat her own mark in the Villa Maria meet. At Plymouth Whitemarsh she won the 100 free as well as the I.M., and she anchored the two winning freestyle relay teams for the Magic.
“Kelly Leonard also had a very good meet,” said MSJ coach Janet Pudlinski after the PW win. “She won the 50 free and the butterfly [races that are held back-to-back] and she qualified for the district meet in the fly.”
O’Connell, who is a rowing standout for the Mount in the spring and fall, raced in the 500 free for the first time this season and won it. Zielinski was the runner-up in that long grind, and she won the breast stroke later on.
Caitlin McGrory, a member of the talented freshman class, joined Leonard, Zielinski and Formica in the victorious 200 free relay effort, and she linked up with Formica, Meister, and Cinque to win the 400 free relay at the conclusion of the meet.
Coming in third for the Magic in the 200 free relay were senior Kat Matchett, sophomore Sarah Wang, Rafferty, and O’Connell, and in the 400 free relay the runner-up foursome for the Mount consisted of junior Josie Mustin, Weiser, Leonard, and O’Connell.
“They were a little down after we lost to Villa Maria, even though Villa is very strong and we actually swam well,” Pudlinski said. “It was nice to bounce back and have a good feeling about winning this meet.”
1. MSJ Kelly Leonard 26.95
2. PW Lindsey Moyer 26.97
3. MSJ Dana Cinque 27.13
1. MSJ Christina Formica 57.73
2. MSJ Meg Weiser 58.74
3. PW Lindsey Moyer 59.40
1. MSJ Meg Weiser 2:08.23
2. MSJ Katie O’Connell 2:09.74
3. PW Lauren Christiansen 2:17.90
1. MSJ Katie O’Connell 5:54.05
2. MSJ Dana Zielinski 5:56.83
3. PW Kathryn Garvey 6:02.87
100 Back Stroke
1. MSJ Dana Cinque 1:06.24
2. PW Michelle Kudach 1:07.71
3. MSJ Caiti Foley 1:09.59
100 Breast Stroke
1. MSJ Dana Zielinski 1:15.25
2. MSJ Miranda Rafferty 1:17.78
3. PW Charlotte Cornog 1:19.14
1. MSJ Kelly Leonard 1:04.03
2. PW Michelle Kudach 1:04.33
3. MSJ Lexi Meister 1:04.34
200 Individual Medley
1. MSJ Christina Formica 2:18.99
2. MSJ Lexi Meister 2:26.02
3. MSJ Miranda Rafferty 2:31.34