HATFIELD TWP. — With members of the Hatfield Swim Team lining the edge of the pool, Madeleine Voss, Katelyn Harkrader and Claudia Thamm took turns putting their own spin on the Sharks’ Banzai Cheer — hyping up the squad before punctuating their energetic chants with a jump into the water.
“I was trying not to mess up,” said Voss with a laugh.
“I think mine was the best, I don’t know,” added Harkrader.
“It’s all about being the loudest,” said Thamm.
The cheer is all part of the fun and festivities of the Bux-Mont Swim League season with Voss, Harkrader and Thamm all soaking in one final summer at Hatfield Aquatic Center before heading off to their respective colleges in the fall.
“I’ve been swimming since I was 7 so that’s like 11 years,” Thamm said. “We’ve all grown up on this team since we were little and we just wanted to finish it out and be here for all the little kids like the older kids were here for us. So it’s cool just doing that.”
Tuesday night, the three North Penn graduates were honored prior to Hatfield’s home meet with Fanny Chapman, which ended up being postponed as thunderstorms rolled through just before the start of competition. Weather delays come with the territory in summer swimming, but so is years or memories and friendships built along the way — with senior swimmers looking to pass on the experience to the younger groups.
“It’s been a great experience,” Harkrader said. “It’s helped me make my closest friends and it’s just fun to give back to the younger kids.”
All three are set to compete at the NCAA Division I level — Thamm and Harkrader to swim at Auburn University and Duquesne University, respectively, with Voss to play water polo at Saint Francis University.
“It’s just crazy been here at Senior Night at Hatfield just cause I’ve been here since I was little,” Thamm said. “We all use to come here, we would stay for practice and then we would stay during the day, hang out with our friends and then come to meets at night.
“So we would literally live here during the summer and now we’re finally leaving, it’s just kind of crazy to leave this place and now be able to swim for this team again.”
Thamm, Harkrader and Voss were part of senior class that continued North Penn High School run of state-level success in the pool.
They were members of the Knights girls water polo team that captured a fifth-straight state championship last October. Thamm — an all-state water polo first team selection — scored the title-clinching goal in the tournament final, converting a five-meter penalty shot with 11 seconds left to break a 4-4 tie as NP topped Wilson-West Lawn 5-4. Voss, who added a goal in the win over Wilson, was an all-state second team pick while Harkrader earned all-state honorable mention.
“We’re with each other all year round so it really forms a strong bond,” Voss said.
In the winter, the trio helped the North Penn girls swim and dive team captured its seventh-consecutive District 1 title before outdistancing the field to win its second-straight PIAA Class 3A championship. Thamm, who was the district champ in the 200 individual medley and 100 fly, claimed four medals at the state meet — taking second in the 100 fly, fourth in the 200 IM and was on the Knights’ 400 free and 200 medley relays that both placed second. Both Harkrader and Voss were district qualifiers — Harkrader in the 50 free and 100 back with Voss doing so in the 50 free.
“We’re like three of the closest friends we hang out all the time outside of swimming, too,” Thamm said. “And just aquatics in general has let us be so much closer and I’m so happy I’ve been a part of it because I’ve had some of my best friends.”
Hatfield came into Tuesday night looking for its first win , the Sharks falling last week to Harleysville (274-185) and Nor-Gwyn (289-169). Fanny Chapman, meanwhile, opened with a pair of victories over (269-197) and Lansdale (265-180). Fanny Chapman had its run of ninth-straight Bux-Mont titles ended by Towamencin last season. FC and Towamencin are the only unbeaten teams left this year and meet at Fanny Chapman Tuesday.
“These meets are all for fun,” Thamm said. “Like I said, we’ve been doing this since we were little and it was always fun from the start so we just come here, try our best, try to get some points for our team and just have fun with the little kids and just see what we can do.”
Heading to Auburn, Thamm may need to get up to speed on a few southern sayings but is ready to embrace everything the Alabama school has to offer.
“Nobody’s really said anything about being like a Yankee or anything but I was just down there last week and it was kind of crazy just how different it is, like the accent, the words,” she said. “It’s just a totally different atmosphere but I’m really excited to be fully immersed into it and just to see all the different people I get to meet.”