Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 50
 
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
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Z-FACTOR: Princeton High boys’ swimming star Alex Zantal displays his freestyle form. Senior star and co-captain Zantal figures to be a key performer this winter for the Little Tigers. Last week, PHS opened its season with a 101-69 win over Hights
town. In upcoming action, the Little Tigers swim at Steinert on December 11 before hosting WW/P-N on December 16.

With Addition of Promising Freshmen, PHS Boys’ Swim Team Has Versatility

Bill Alden

Although the Princeton High boys’ swimming team wasn’t severely tested as it cruised to victory in its season-opener last week against Hightstown, the meet was still a valuable learning experience.

With a roster featuring several key freshmen, PHS knows it needs to get battle hardened in a hurry in order to be a force when state tournament time rolls around in February.

“It gave us an opportunity to see the new kids in a meet,” said PHS head coach Greg Hand, reflecting on the 101-69 win over the Rams.

“We have a group of seven freshmen; it was good to see them race and work their way into competition. We want to integrate them as fully and quickly as possible.”

Two of the Little Tigers’ promising freshmen, Harun Filipovic and Matt Kuhlik, made an immediate impact in the Hightstown meet. Filipovic won the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle while Kuhlik placed first in the 100 free.

“Kuhlik is a sprinter and backstroker; he is stronger in the 50 and 100 than he is in the 200 and 500,” said Hand, noting that four of his freshmen are year-round club swimmers.

“His backstroke is very quick, we see him being safely under a minute in several races this year. We haven’t had that in a while. Harun looks more versatile; he has a solid individual medley and is a solid breaststroker. He swims club; he is an experienced kid.”

Hand also expects a solid contribution from another freshman, Nick Zantal. “Nick is up there with Kuhlik and Filopovic,” added Hand. “He is a pure sprinter with a great attitude. He is a real hard-charging kid; he is excited to be part of the team.”

PHS is excited to have seniors Alex Pelle and Alex Zantal providing leadership as senior captains.

“It is nice to assign leadership roles to them; they are leading a team with a few veterans and a lot of really young swimmers,” said Hand.

“The two kids can see right now that they aren’t going to have passive roles and just be involved in organizing things. They have an opportunity to help underclassmen learn what a competitive team is.”

Sophomore standout Peter Deardorff figures to be one of the Little Tigers’ top competitors this season.

“Peter swims year round and has had some very good swims in the last few months,” said Hand.

“He is bigger and stronger than last year both from club swimming and dry land training. He is a much smoother butterflyer. His 200 and 500 free times are already down from last year. I am expecting a lot of good things from him this season.”

Hand is confident that his team can do some good things as the winter unfolds.

“From what we have seen already, this is a team that likes to race,” asserted Hand, whose team swims at Steinert on December 11 before hosting WW/P-N on December 16.

“I think we will be in the top eight in power points in Central Jersey and we will get a berth in the state. I like our versatility; I like our attitude.”

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