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Penn Sets Five Pool Records in Latest Show of Dominance Vs. Concord New Prairie

The Penn swimming program has always had great talent and depth.

Both were on display Thursday in a double dual meet with Concord and New Prairie.

A combined five pool records were set by the Kingsmen inside Concord’s aquatic center, including four by NC State commit Lily Christianson. It was part of two easy victories over quality teams, showing Penn is poised to make some noise in the postseason once again.

“I knew we could come in and get some pool records if they all swam well, especially on the relays if they put four nice swims together,” Penn coach Jess Preston said. “… Lily and I came into tonight talking about maybe getting four pool records. We would’ve been very happy with win, but she got all four. She had a great night.

“Normally, our kids swim really well here. Our kids like coming to Concord.”

Christianson set individual pool records in the 50-yard freestyle (22.51 seconds) and the 100 freestyle (49.97 seconds). The other two pool records came in relays. Penn broke its own girls 200 medley relay mark set last year, winning with a time of 1:44.36. They reset the 200 freestyle relay mark an hour later, in 1:34.51.

Annika Guenther, Alayna Riggins and Kaia Podlin joined Christianson on both record-setting relays.

“That is the best women’s team that’s ever raced in this pool,” said Concord coach Tom Johnson of Penn.

The fifth record came from the Kingsmen’s boys 200 medley relay team of Chris Oberlie, Cole Stevenson, Leo Ni and Nate Temeles in a time of 1:34.12. That mark beat a record that had stood since 2013.

It wasn’t just that Penn was winning the majority of the races Thursday, though. In a meet where each team swam three competitors per event, the Kingsmen regularly took three of the top five spots in each event. In some cases, they finished 1-2-3, including the girls 200 medley relay, girls 100 butterfly, boys 200 freestyle, boys 50 freestyle, boys 100 freestyle and boys 200 freestyle relay.

Boys multi-event winners were Oberlie, Stevenson, Ni, Temeles, Matthew Weeks and Reid Olson. Both Ni and Weeks won in four events, including together on the 400 freestyle relay.

“Our depth is incredible,” Preston said. “It’s hard to make lineup decisions because we have so many people fighting for spots. In two cases, our ‘C’ relay actually beat our ‘B’ relay, so that shows how evenly matched how they are. I think I’m good at figuring out our best three relays, and they go out there and prove me wrong.”

A marquee matchup for the Penn boys team comes Tuesday when they host South Bend Riley. The Wildcats beat the Kingsmen for the sectional championship last season, a fact Preston has not forgotten.

“That’s our No. 1 rivals, so that’s a big one,” Preston said. “It’d be great to win. The loss we took at sectionals, that’ll never go away. I’ll remember that for the rest of my life; it probably was the toughest loss I’ve ever felt as a competitor or coach.”

Young Concord team knows there’s room to improve

Although the final scores might not show it, Johnson was pleased with his teams’ performances. They were able to split the meet overall, earning wins over New Prairie.

“Really pleased with how our kids raced,” Johnson said. “We probably had 35% or 40% lifetime bests and probably 70% or 80% season bests.”

The Minutemen picked up a handful of wins. Sophomore Catie Brenneman won the girls 200 freestyle (1:51.72) and 500 freestyle (5:06.51), sophomore Mya Ernsberger the 100 backstroke, and Kalia Starzyk in diving with 213.65 points.

It’s a fairly young Concord team, which means growing pains are to be expected. They don’t compete again until January, giving it another two weeks to practice for the stretch run of the season.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” Johnson said. “We don’t have the depth, and we graduated a lot last year. … We want to make sure we do the things we’ve worked on in a pressure situation. It’s one thing to do them in a meet where we might not have as much competition, so we’re really focused on the process and keeping it focused internally on what we need to do better.”

Source : South Bend Tribune