Adding final chapter to dominant campaign, PHS swim teams sweep county crowns

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SWEEP: Princeton High boys’ swimmer Daniel Baytin flaunts his breaststroke form during a meet earlier this year. Last Monday, junior star Baytin won the 50 and 100 freestyle races at the Mercer County Swimming Championships to help PHS win the boys’ team title. The PHS women’s team also won first place in the competition. It was the first county title sweep for the boys since 2014 and the first for the girls since 2016. It was the first county title sweep for the Tigers since 2014. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Mercer County Swimming Championships final was moved from Monday to Saturday due to the snowstorm that hit the area over the weekend, it just delayed the inevitable.

With Princeton High’s men’s and women’s teams both going undefeated this winter in doubleheaders and excelling in preliminary sessions last Thursday and Friday, they continued their dominance on Monday by winning the tag team titles.

The PHS boys amassed 265 points to finish second in WW/P-North by 40 points while the Tiger girls had a score of 336 with Pennington taking second place at 254 in the encounter held at WW/P-North. It was the first county title sweep for the boys since 2014 and the first for the girls since 2016. It was the first county title sweep for the Tigers since 2014.

PHS head coach Carly Misiewicz, who coaches both teams, knew her swimmers were seen as the competition’s favorites.

“My message to them is that the target is on our backs, everybody’s coming for us, everybody’s coming for Princeton,” Misiewicz said.

“They want to beat us. You like to be the ones hunting. It’s also kind of exciting to some extent knowing that we’re the top dogs and people are coming to get us.

The delay turned out to be an advantage for PHS as they had the chance to catch their breath after competing hard in the preliminary sessions.

“I think some of us were a little tired during the preliminaries, guys and girls,” Misiewicz said. “It was good in that there was no club training for anyone on Saturday because everything was closed with the storm. We were able to come in and train as a team on Sunday together. We did some easy swimming and light and we got all the knots out and all the lactic acid out. I think they really helped us and set us up to perform like we did today.

The boys put in strong performances as junior star Daniel Baytin won the 50m and 100m freestyle races while David Xu won the 200m individual medley and finished second in the 100m butterfly. Xu’s twin brother Jaiden placed third in the 200m individual medley and fifth in the 100m breaststroke while Julian Velazquez was fourth in the 100m butterfly and sixth in the 200m freestyle. The Tigers closed the game by winning the 400 freestyle relay by more than two seconds.

“My message to them as a team was that our goal has to be that we either have to keep our place or progress, those are our only two options,” Misiewicz said.

“They were pumped, they were excited from the start. It was really, really cool to watch it unfold.

The Tigers had to overcome a mishap when their 200 freestyle relay was disqualified during the preliminaries.

“We had to start the game in the 32-point hole knowing that North was potentially going to win that 200 freestyle relay,” Misiewicz said.

“They ended up winning, so you’re giving up 32 points there. Going into this, we were like 70 something. I knew that lead was going to be cut in half. The guys showed up, they were ready to race and they did it.

In Misiewicz’ opinion, all of his guys gave their best.

“That’s the most important thing, it was really a real team effort, from start to finish from the medley relay to the 400m freestyle relay,” Misiewicz said. “The best way to describe it is as a real team effort. It was a real team win today.

Misiewicz also got a big effort from her women’s team.

“We won as a team today,” Misiewicz said, noting that every swimmer she brought to the county meet qualified for the A or B final.

“As a team, we came together. We got involved and we all had a common goal that we were lucky enough to accomplish together.

PHS was lucky to get a great performance from sophomore Kyleigh Tangen.

“Kyleigh won the 100 freestyle and was second in the 200 freestyle,” said Misiewicz. “She was a huge contributor to the 200 freestyle relay, which we ended up winning and she anchored the 400 freestyle relay which we also won. She had a phenomenal encounter.

Courtney Weber also had phenomenal competition, winning both the 200m individual medley and the 100m breaststroke. Beatrice Cai was third in the 200m individual medley and fourth in the 100m butterfly, while Sabine Ristad was third in the 400m freestyle and third in the 200m freestyle.

Misiewicz wasn’t surprised to see her daughters soar in the county meet.

“This group of girls is special, they are really, really a real team,” Misiewicz said. “You just get a different vibe from them, they just have fun together. I told them beforehand that counties is fun. High school swimming is fun, but it’s fun. is also fun to win.

PHS hopes to have some fun at the next state team tournament.

“I think we’re going to have to do one encounter at a time,” Misiewicz said. “They’re both excited, they know it’s not going to be easy.”

The boys team is in line to be ranked first in their section and will likely be challenged by rivals WW/PN.

“On the boys side, we have North,” Misiewicz said. “We beat them before, we just beat them in the counties. We really definitely have that target on our backs with them. I know they will arrive hungry. If I were them, I would feel the same way, this is our chance to bring down Princeton.

As for the girls, they will likely be seeded fourth in a power-laden section and will need to raise their level like they did in the county meet.

“As far as finding that other gear, this weekend proved to the girls that they had that other gear,” Misiewicz said. “I think we found it. The girls are ready, I think they are ready for the challenge. We are delighted, we are exactly where we need to be.

No matter what happens in the United States, Misiewicz is thrilled with how her swimmers have competed this winter.

“As a coach, I couldn’t be more proud of them, rising to the occasion, really not giving up and just chasing it from the start,” Misiewicz said.

“The regular season and the standings and all that is good. In the end, that’s not all. As soon as you get to tournament season with states and counties, anything can happen.

And some really good things happened for PHS last Monday.

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