Rested development

After holiday break, Huskies swimmers surge past Bellefonte

Sentinel photo by MATT STRICKER
Mifflin County’s Isaac Iron Cloud, bottom, leads the boys 200-yard freestyle, Thursday, in Burnham as he passes Bellefonte’s Payne McCartney, above, swimming in the opposite direction.

BURNHAM — The Mifflin County swim team came into Thursday afternoon’s swim meet fully recharged after a week off from competition.

The rest seemed to bring out the best in the Huskies, as Mifflin County finished first in more than half of the Thursday’s events — claiming the top finisher in 13 of the meet’s 24 events — on their way to a strong victory over Bellefonte. The boys claimed a lopsided 104-46 win, while the girls used strong performances in relays to upend the Red Raiders, 96-73, at the Juniata Valley YMCA.

“I think the Christmas week break has done them well clearly,” Mifflin County coach Gretchen Seyler said. “They are getting a lot of rest which is good for them. They all really did a great job today. It just showed me that rest is phenomenal for my swimmers.”

The Huskies performed extremely well in relays, winning four of the six events. Macy Becker anchored the 400-yard freestyle relay for the Mifflin County girls and performed valiantly, holding off a hard-charging Zoey Cole of Bellefonte for a victory by just over half a second. Becker, Hannah Bonson, Ella Stuck and Morgan Robinette combined for a time of 4:09.85 in the victory.

The Mifflin County boys rebounded from a tough loss in the 200-freestyle relay after the Red Raiders’ Brian Feldman used an outstanding effort in the final stretch of the race to catch and edge Mifflin County’s Bennett Andrews by a second.

“The relays were great and they are always like that,” Seyler said. “Every so often, we have them where they are really close and everyone gets off their seats for them. I was really happy with the relays as well as the individual swims.”

Along with the strong performances in relays, the Huskies also had many individual standouts, including Isaac Iron Cloud, who won the 200- and 500-yard freestyles, while also competing in the Huskies’ winning 400-yard freestyle relay and the 200-yard medley relay.

Braden Kibe had a great day for Mifflin County, winning the 100-yard backstroke, while placing second in the 200-yard IM. He also participated in the 200-yard freestyle relay win.

Becker had a stellar performance for the girls, as she claimed first place in the 50-yard and 500-yard freestyles, to go along with her stellar effort in the 400-yard relay. Bonson finished first in the 100-yard butterfly and was a part of Mifflin County’s winning 400-yard relay.

The meet gave the Huskies an opportunity to plug multiple swimmers into different events, with district qualifications in mind. Seyler believes that the team’s ability to be versatile by having swimmers perform at a high level in their weaker strokes will do wonders for the team.

“We got to switch it up today, which I think is good for them because they get a break from their usual events,” Seyler said. “Hopefully, next week we can see time drops when they go back to their normal events.”

In Thursday’s meet, the boys had seven district-qualifying times, including two each from Iron Cloud, Kibe and Ethan Andrews. Iron Cloud smashed the 200-yard freestyle qualifying time by nearly 10 full seconds with a time of 2:04.09. Iron Cloud also crushed the 500-yard freestyle district time by nearly 9 seconds with a time of 5:56.04. Kibe qualified in 200-yard IM and the 100-yard backstroke, Andrews qualified in the 200-yard IM and the 100-yard backstroke, while Larson qualified in the 100-yard backstroke.

For the girls, Bonson qualified in the 100-yard butterfly and the 200-yard free, while Becker and Madeline Baisey qualified in the 50-yard freestyle. Stuck finished first in the 100-yard backstroke, qualifying with a time of 1:13.98.

Overall, Seyler was extremely impressed with the team’s overall effort.

“The whole team really stood out to me today,” Seyler said. “Their times have been dropping. We’re very excited.”

The Huskies will return to action on Wednesday at 4:15 p.m. at State College.