By Jewel Douglas, Swim With a Purpose
SEWELL, New Jersey, March 9. HIGH school seniors put up a strong showing at the NJSIAA/Riegel Printing Meet of Champions, claiming victory in eight of the 16 individual events contested. At the meet, held in Sewell, N.J., at the Gloucester County Institute of Technology March 3-4, individuals and relays competed for state titles.
Montville's Lauren English capped her illustrious high school swimming career with two record-breaking swims. Her time in the 100 yard back of 54.39 was .58 seconds faster than the meet record she set last year and places her in the New Jersey history book as the first swimmer to claim this backstroke title four times. While winning the 100 back was expected of English, the University of Georgia-bound swimmer's meet record-breaking victory in the 50 yard free in a time of 23.11 came as a surprise. English touched out senior Rebecca Kane, the defending 2006 champion and prior meet record holder by .1 second.
Msgr. Donovan's Kane later came back to claim a decisive victory in the 100 yard free clocked at a time of 50.87, capping her high school swimming career with three titles each in the 50 and 100 free before heading to the University of North Carolina.
On the men's side, Kevin Cain, the senior from Holy Spirit, swept the freestyle events with a time of 21.18 in the 50 yard free and 46.75 in the 100 yard free. Cain will attend the Naval Academy in the fall.
Meanwhile, senior Bill Cregar demonstrated versatility in winning both the 200 yard IM at 1:51.79 and the 500 yard free at 4:36.97. This Washington Township student will attend Georgia in the fall, along with English.
St. Augustine senior Mike Joyce achieved his first state championship before heading to Florida by squeaking out a victory in the 200 yard free in a time of 1:42.57, seven hundredths of a second ahead of the second place finish.
Four juniors claimed titles in five events. Joanna Thomas of Mainland took gold in the women's 200 as well as the 500 yard free in 1:51.84 and 4:55.12, respectively. Blake Trabuchi-Downey, Rice's teammate at St. Augustine, captured first in the men's 100 yard butterfly in 51.20. Brendan McHugh, also of St Augustine, raced to victory in the 100 yard breaststroke in 58.31. And, Chatham's Chris Dart won the 100 yard backstroke in 51.08.
Sophomore Victoria Cervone of Demarest made her presence felt with two wins, the 200 yard IM clocked at 2:05.12 and the 100 yard butterfly at 56.71. Rebecca Lewinson of West Windsor-Plainsboro South became one of a few freshmen to have claimed a title at the Meet of Champs with a win in the 100 yard breaststroke at 1:06.02.
The women and the men school teams contested three relay events each. For the women, Rumson won the 200 yard medley relay in 1:50.68, Cherry Hill West snagged the title in the 200 yard free relay in 1:39.09 and Mainland was victorious in the 400 free relay at 3:37.79.
For the men, Mountain Lakes swept the three relay events, making state history as the only team to win all three relay events for three consecutive years. With a time of 1:34.95, Mountain Lakes won the 200 yard medley, then followed up with a win in the 200 yard free relay at 1:27.26 and the 400 yard free relay at 3:11.78.