Quaker Valley grads Kwalick, Harkins excel at conference meets
Quaker Valley graduate Matt Kwalick took again on a lot for the Westminster men’s swimming team.
“I really want to specialize in one or two events, but it is so hard to do that when you swim the (individual medley),” said Kwalick, a junior. “I think the saying is, ‘A jack of all trades is a master of none,’ which makes sense, because (it’s) hard to focus on what I need for certain strokes when I need to improve them all.”
Kwalick placed first in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:24.25 seconds) and second in six other events — 100 freestyle (46.47), 200 freestyle (1:41.37), 200 individual medley (1:53), 400 freestyle relay (3:07.59), 400 medley relay (3:26.73) and 800 freestyle relay (6:54.68) — at the Presidents’ Athletic Conference championship meet in February. He made first team all-conference for the third consecutive season.
In the 200 individual medley, he set a Grove City pool record.
The Titans, the four-time defending champions, placed second.
“Matt had a great PAC championship meet,” Westminster coach Pat Smith said. “He did some different events.
“I am most happy with how he has ascended into an upperclassman leadership role.”
Smith said he would like to see Kwalick qualify for the NCAA Division III championship next season and stay healthy.
“He really battled a lot of injuries this season,” Smith said.
Kwalick, the 2015 PIAA Class AA champion in the boys 200 individual medley, has high expectations.
“Since it will be my last year as a competitive swimmer, I want to go out with a bang,” Kwalick said.
Kwalick was one of two former Quaker Valley swimmers to shine on a Division III team.
Harry Harkins, a sophomore at SUNY Geneseo, topped the podium in five events to help the Knights to their sixth consecutive State University of New York Athletic Conference title.
Harkins came in first in the 200 freestyle (1:43.44), 200 freestyle relay (1:22.70), 400 freestyle relay (3:04.57), 800 freestyle relay (6:51.17) and 200 medley relay (1:32.31). The 800 freestyle relay team broke the meet record it set last season.
Harkins placed second in the 50 freestyle (21.18) and third in the 100 freestyle (46.74) and made first team all-conference.
SUNY Geneseo coach Paul Dotterweich said Harkins stepped up.
“I saw a lot of growth in his leadership skills,” Dotterweich said. “I am looking forward to him playing an even bigger role on the team in that area next year.
“My goal for Harry is to get him back to the NCAA championships. I am confident with hard work in the weight room and pool in the offseason, he can get there.”
Harkins, the 2017 WPIAL Class AA champion in the 50 and 100 freestyle, competed at the NCAA meet in four relays last season.
Karen Kadilak is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.