On November 29, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South broke the PHS girls swim team’s undefeated four-year dual meet streak. Later that week, Notre Dame High School handed them a second loss, putting the team at 0–2.
Head Coach Carly Misiewicz partially attributes these losses to the departure of seniors who graduated last year. Another factor was timing, as the team usually races these two top teams near the end of the season, when new swimmers have developed and the team has gained experience. However, despite the unsuccessful opening to the season, the team is looking past its losses and towards success in the months to come.
“As far as [our] record, I definitely expect us to have a winning record,” Misiewicz said. “Right now, unfortunately, we’re 0–2, but we did swim our two toughest meets so far, and we were very competitive. We should win the rest of our meets during the season. We definitely expect to be a top contender in the county.”
The team also plans to learn and improve from its experiences with WW-PS and Notre Dame.“[South and Notre Dame] are our biggest rivals and we did lose to them, which is pretty unusual for our team,” said varsity Co-Captain Julia Mullarkey ’17. “It taught us a lesson … it’ll help us become better and accept [losses].”
“Everyone did their best, and we’re seeing what we have to work with for the coming meets,” said varsity Co-Captain Melinda Tang ’17.
As for the rest of the season, Misiewicz shared her training strategy for top performance among the swimmers.
“Through consistently working hard in practice, using every single meet as a practice meet, and practice racing, we get into the mentality of racing when we’re tired [so] when we’re rested, we’ll be much faster,” Misiewicz said.
The captains and coaches also play a role in strengthening the team’s mindset and digging the team out of an 0–2 start.
“We [rallied] together. After our first loss, the captains posted in the Facebook group about how we shouldn’t get discouraged. So that’s an example of how we’re always helping the morale and keeping everybody positive,” Mullarkey said.
“[The] coaches are [some] of our biggest supporters. They are always walking up and down the deck, [and] cheering during our meets,” Tang said.
As for the big picture, this season the team also aims to enter a rebuilding phase as a result of the loss of many seniors. Aside from the development of their swimming, new members must also learn how to support their teammates through thick and thin.
“We did get a large influx of freshmen, but they are the future of the team. It’s really important to get them included in everything,” Tang said. “It’s important to be a role model for the freshmen, but also we have to [set] good examples. We have to cheer for everyone and show them how to be good teammates.”
In summary, the main goal of the team this season is to overcome this start and persevere through to the postseason, as well as prepare freshmen for the future of the team. “It was a hard start,” said Mullarkey, “[but] we’ll end stronger than we began.”
Now that the season has progressed, the team stands at 4–1–2, having beaten Hightstown High School, Nottingham High School, Hamilton West High School, and Steinert High School, and tying WW-P North.