Girls Swim Team Captures Second Consecutive State Championship
Team defeats Vineland to keep crown.
When Katie Morgan, 21, watched in awe as the Westfield High School girls swim team dominated the finals of the 2011 NJSIAA Public A Group Championships against Vineland High School on Sunday, she couldn’t help but bring back memories from her senior year of high school.
“The energy from these girls and their parents is just like how I remember it being when I was on the team,” said Morgan.
Morgan, now a senior at The College of New Jersey, was a part of two Westfield High School state championship wins.
“They have really continued the tradition of excellence of Westfield High swimming and swam way beyond anything anyone could have hoped for,” Morgan stated on the overall success of the team.
After an exciting start, Westfield came from behind in the freestyle leg of the 200 medley relay to defeat Vineland by .45 seconds. The team of Jess Cronin, Meg Kaveney, Anna Fetter, and Caroline Baldwin finished the event in 1:48.05. That relay set the tone for the rest of the meet, as Westfield was a powerful contender, winning nine of eleven events and finishing the meet with a final score of 118-52.
“We knew that Vineland was a quality team and that we had to bring our best,” said first year girls head coach Jeff Knight on the team’s mindset coming into the meet. “We had to make sure that we swam our hearts out, and the girls did.”
The team won state championships in 2008 and 2010.
Becky De La Fuente had an outstanding meet, winning both the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle events. Delafuente finished the 500 freestyle in an impressive 5:02.56, winning that race by almost ten seconds. Teammate Elle Reinhardt followed behind her in 5:12.97, respectively. Delafuente was also a member of Westfield’s winning 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays.
The 200 freestyle relay team of Delafuente, Baldwin, Kaveney, and Sarah Cronin finished the event in 1:39.82, two seconds ahead of Vineland’s relay team. After that performance, Vineland trailed Westfield by almost 50 points, tallying a score of 87-37.
Freshman Caroline Baldwin also had a fantastic meet, winning the 50 freestyle in 23.77 and placing second in the 100 freestyle in 53.16, behind standout Sarah Cronin who finished the race in an impressive 53.87.
The Westfield High School girls swim team dominated the meet on all aspects, with season bests from every swimmer according to Knight. The teams’ standout swimmers, along with their depth was no match to Vineland, who seemed to lack the focus displayed by Westfield.
“The girls were very focused and worked hard all season long,” said Knight, “They had set high goals and worked to achieve them.”
Vineland did prove to be a strong contender in the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke events, with first place finishes in both. Lauren Carastro finished the 200 IM in 2:08.24, as Westfield’s Anna Fetter following close behind in 2:08.66, respectively. Rachel Bernhardt won the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.22, with Becky Zhang and Meg Myers following in second and third place for Westfield.
Westfield capped off their impressive victory with a win in the 400 freestyle relay, finishing almost eight seconds ahead of Vineland. The relay team of Sarah Cronin, Reinhardt, Fetter, and Delafuente touched the wall in 3:35.56.
“These girls have grown up together,” said Knight on the contributing factors to the team’s success. “Whether it was on summer swimming or club swimming, they were able to form that bond.”