Kutztown swimmers overcome obstacles for successful season

Team members of the Kutztown swimming team this season were, from left, Nikolette Nolte, Annika Gally, Amy Yoder, and Greta Feiertag. (Submitted photo)
Team members of the Kutztown swimming team this season were, from left, Nikolette Nolte, Annika Gally, Amy Yoder, and Greta Feiertag. (Submitted photo)

The Kutztown Area high school swim team recently completed a successful swim season. This year’s team was comprised of returning swimmers junior Nikolette Nolte, sophomore Amy Yoder and new freshmen swimmers Greta Feiertag and Annika Gally.

All of the swimmers shaved time off their strokes over the course of the season. Ultimately, three of the swimmers were able to qualify and compete at the PIAA District 3 Class AA Championship meet. Nikolette Nolte qualified for the 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley; Greta Feiertag qualified for the 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard individual medley; Annika Gally qualified for the 100-yard butterfly. Simply qualifying for this meet is an accomplishment since District 3 is arguably and historically one of the most competitive districts in the state.

Qualifying for the district meet is a greater accomplishment due to the challenges the team is presented with. The Cougars are not able to enjoy home pool advantage since KAHS does not have a pool facility. This aspect, combined with the fact that the Cougars are a small team makes it challenging to find opportunities to compete. Thankfully, the teams from Wyomissing, Pottsgrove, Boyertown and Parkland school districts allowed the girls to swim at their dual meets this season. Additionally, the girls competed in invitational meets hosted by Bucknell University, Schuylkill Valley, and Perkiomen Valley.

The lack of a pool also makes it necessary for the swimmers to find non-school alternatives for training and conditioning. It is for this reason that each of the swimmers are members of a club swim team. Two of the swimmers work out and compete for the Boyertown YMCA team; one competes for the Parkland Aquatic Club and one competes for the Tri-Valley YMCA team. Despite these challenges, the Cougar swimmers had a number of significant accomplishments.

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The Cougars proved ready for district competition. All swimmers scored points at the meet and earned a district medal. Greta Feiertag got things started by swimming a personal best in the 200-yard medley which took her from a 15 seed to a 10th-place finish. Annika Gally followed Feiertag with a personal best and team-best finish of 5th in the 100-yard butterfly. Gally earned a fifth place medal and a place on the podium for this race. Feiertag then swam a personal best in the 100 yard backstroke that took her from a 16 seed to an 8th place finish and a district medal. Nikolette Nolte then capped-off her team’s success by gutting it through illness to finish in the 8th spot and receive a medal in the 100-yard breaststroke. Altogether, the team earned 43 points in a field of competitors that included multiple district record breakers and at least one swimmer who competed at the last Olympic trials.

The Cougars look forward to next season and the possibility of additional swimmers joining the team. The Cougars would also like to offer thanks to the teams from Wyomissing, Pottsgrove, Boyertown and Parkland school districts for providing opportunities for Cougar swimmers to compete. Last, the Cougars would also like to thank the KASD administration and Board for its continued support of the swim program.