This season marks the third year under the training of Head Coach Carly Misiewicz for the girls swim team and the fourth consecutive season where the team has taken first place in the Mercer County Tournament. The team’s last league loss was in 2012, before any of the current swimmers joined the program.
One week prior to the team’s tournament victory on January 30, the team clinched the Colonial Valley Conference meet, also for the fourth consecutive season. After another winning start to its campaign, the team aimed for titles. “Seeing what they were able to do in the times that they were able to put up at counties … set us up in a good spot,” Misiewicz said.
This season a quartet comprised of Abbey Berloco ’18, Melinda Tang ’17, Madeleine Deardorff ’16, and Brianna Romaine ’16 has made more first place finishes than any other four-person relay team in the CVC. Historically, this quartet is the most dominant Mercer County has ever seen.
According to Romaine and Deardorff, record-breaking times and first-place finishes are not getting to the swimmers’ heads. This season’s performances and those in the past are simply being enjoyed by the seniors. “I think since the two of us are seniors and we’re just trying to have a fun last season; we’re not putting any added pressure on ourselves,” Romaine said.
Another factor in the recent team’s success is its camaraderie with the boys team. “We are really close as a team, the guys and the girls. I think the girls watching the guys swim really gets the girls fired up [after] seeing them swim fast and do well,” Misiewicz said. “Just knowing what we’re capable of and what we have accomplished over the past two years is huge and really gets them fired up to swim fast.”
Misiewicz’s words were also reinforced by Deardorff, who similarly believes the recent success is due to strong cohesion within the girls team “Our success in the past has definitely been as a result of team that we are,” Deardorff said. “It’s not just about swimming fast; it’s also about the relationships that you have with your teammates, and I think anyone in any sport can relate to this because success of an individual person relies a lot on the team as a whole.”
The season ahead for the team holds more opportunities for growth after the state tournament. After losing to Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, the winner of last year’s state tournament, in the state sectional final on February 8, the only competition that the girls have to look forward to is the Meet of Champions. The meet is a series of events where statewide teams attend and individual rewards are up for grabs.
Deardorff would like to leave a memorable legacy after her last season, ending with the Meet of Champions. “I think the fact that [Romaine and I] are graduating made us want to do really well this season,” Deardorff said. “We want [to] end on a high note especially heading into the Meet of Champions.”
The quartet hopes to reclaim its 400-yard freestyle relay title and break the state record. The relay team finished first in the event last season with a time of 3:29.43, only a second away from the record set in 2013.
With the bulk of the season behind it, the team takes pride in its nearly undefeated record. “Any success we’ve been seeing is just because we’re enjoying ourselves,” Romaine said. “[We’re] just having fun with the season and going out and trying our best—it’s really a team effort.”