By: Mairead Mark, Sports Editor
The varsity swim team ended its regular season competition on Jan. 30 by defeating St. Rose 118-52, marking their second straight undeafeated season in the Shore Conference (7-0 in conference; 7-2 overall). With foundational swimmers gone due to last year’s graduation, the team is embodying the “next woman up” mentality and looks to continue the prestigious tradition that has been established with consecutive state titles in both the NJSIAA Non-Public B and the NJISAA “Prep” B competitions.
“We graduated a large class of nine swimmers, most of whom were top scorers for us. While we have big shoes to fill, we’ve already started to do that and we’re continuing the success that that class started,” said head coach Alyssa Morreale, who is assisted by Katie Gillen and Allison Duffy.
With their only losses coming to perennial powerhouses Westfield High School and Peddie School, Trinity Hall remains a top team in the county and conference this season.
Individual swimmers on the team are also getting valuable recognition. On Jan. 5, NJ.com’s “Monmouth County Championship Preview” cited three Monarchs as “Swimmers to Watch” – senior Lauren Joyce, sophomore Katie Wright and freshman Jessica Zebrowski.
Proving the prediction that the Monarchs are certainly ones to watch in championship meets, the team placed second at the Monmouth County Championships on Jan. 13 with a total of 243 points, runner-up to the strongly equipped Middletown South team. Wright took first place in the 500 freestyle and second in the 200 freestyle, while Joyce placed second in the 200 Individual Medley and fourth in the 100 Butterfly. Both girls have qualified for Meet of Champions (MOC) in individual events, while all three relays also earned a trip to the prestigious MOCs, with all three relays placing in the top 8 at the county championships, including a first place finish by the 400 freestyle relay of Joyce, Wright, Zebrowski and sophomore Maddie Condon. Top individual scorers at the county meet also included Condon (3rd in 100 backstroke, 7th in 100 freestyle), freshmen Ainsley Gmelich (4th in 500 freestyle, 7th in 200 freestyle) and Zebrowski (7th in 100 butterfly, 11th in 50 freestyle).
“Getting second at Counties was a big deal and we were all thrilled,” co-captain Joyce said. “We lost a lot of strong swimmers last year, but we are happy with what we have accomplished so far.”
As the team looks forward to the rest of championship season, including the Shore Conference Championships on Feb. 3 and NJISAA Prep State Championships on Feb. 7, they are working hard in the pool with victory on their minds. “We are really excited for Shore Conference and look forward to what we can achieve in the future,” Wright said.
With eyes set on repeating as Non-Public B State Champs on Feb. 24, the team is focusing on improving at each practice to do just that. “Our mission is to continue that tradition of excellence and always fight to be the best we can be,” Morreale said.