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Vol. LXV, No. 49
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
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FINISHING SPRINT: Princeton High boys’ swimming star Matt Kuhlik powers through the water last winter. Senior sprinter Kuhlik figures to be a key performer as PHS has its sights set on a state title. Last year, the Little Tigers went 16-1 and narrowly fell to Scotch Plains-Fanwood in the state Public B championship meet. PHS, which returns just about all of the stars from that team, was slated to open the season with a home meet against Hamilton on December 6 before swimming at Hightstown on December 8 and then hosting Robbinsville on December 13.

Welcoming Back Cast of Veteran Stars, PHS Boys’ Swim Team Should Be a Hit

Bill Alden

On paper, the Princeton High boys’ swimming team appears to be a surefire contender for a state championship.

After making it to the state Public B finals last winter and losing 90-80 to Scotch Plains-Fanwood, PHS welcomes back just about all the stars from that team.

The Little Tiger lineup will feature a glittering cast of battle-tested seniors including Victor Honore, Matt Kuhlik, Derek Colaizzo, Harun Filipovic, Jacques Bazile, and Addison Hebert. Also back are sophomore standouts Will Stange, Peter Kalibat, Colburn Yu, and Matt Purdy.

But exercising the caution that comes with years of experience, PHS head coach Greg Hand isn’t clearing any space yet in the school’s trophy case.

“It would be absurd to talk right now about how good we can be,” said Hand, whose team went 16-1 last winter and won the Mercer County Championships. “We know that we have just about everybody back from a very good team. It is a matter of how we will compete.”

Hand acknowledges that his squad does have the pieces in place to compete very well.

“We have ways to cover every event 2-deep and some 3-deep,” said Hand, noting that addition of junior breaststroker Daniel Andonov and progress of juniors John Bond, Peter Cohen, and the Schultz brothers, Patrick and Stephen, augments his team’s depth.

“We feel like we have flexibility but looking back at what we had to do against Ocean, Haddonfield, and Scotch Plains last year in the state tournament, we will need that.”

As PHS heads into the season, Hand believes that his swimmers are showing the kind of attitude they need to reach their potential.

“I am looking at the team so far and the seniors are providing the leadership I thought they would,” said Hand, whose team was slated to open the season with a home meet against Hamilton on December 6 before swimming at Hightstown on December 8 and then hosting Robbinsville on December 13.

“The kids who are longtime swimmers and who swim in club look fitter and stronger. Everyone is also tired; this is a hardworking group of guys. I would anticipate that we won’t be fast for a while.”

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