Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 51
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
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INSTANT SUCCESS: Princeton High girls’ swimming freshman star Serena Deardorff powers to victory in the 100-meter freestyle last Thursday in PHS’s 103-67 win at Lawrence High. Deardorff also won the 50 free and helped PHS to victory in the 200 medley and 400 free relays as the Little Tigers won the meet 103-67. PHS, now 4-0, is next in action when it hosts Ewing on January 5.

Freshman Deardorff Having Instant Success as PHS Girls’ Swim Team Produces 4-0 Start

Bill Alden

As the Princeton High girls’ swimming team competed at Lawrence High last Thursday, Serena Deardorff knew that she was facing one of the first stern tests of her high school career.

“Today was a pretty big challenge,” said PHS freshman Deardorff. “There was a lot of competition going on; it was a good meet.”

The precocious Deardorff showed that she was up to the challenge presented by the Cardinals, winning the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle races and helping PHS to victory in the 200 medley and 400 free relays.

Deardorff’s heroics helped pave the way to a 103-67 triumph for the Little Tigers who improved to 4-0 with the win.

For Deardorff, excelling in the sprint events comes naturally. “I have always been a sprinter,” said Deardorff, who started swimming with the X-Cel swim club when she was eight years old.

“I don’t find myself a good person at endurance events; I get tired easily. I have more fun going all out.

When she is in the starting blocks, Deardorff’s focus is clear. “I am just thinking about going out and trying my hardest,” explained Deardorff. “I want to have a good race and have fun with it and always be a good sport.”

Deardorff is having fun following in the footsteps of her older brother, Peter, a junior star and co-captain for the PHS boys’ squad.

“It is going well, seeing him as a captain,” said Deardorff, who started her PHS career by winning the 50 free and 100 butterfly in PHS’s season-opening win over Hightstown. “It is pretty exciting to look up to my brother. He helps me through my races and gives me advice.”

PHS head coach Greg Hand has been excited by the younger Deardorff’s early success.

“She has talent, a great work ethic, and competitive fire,” said Hand of Deardorff. “She gets it too.”

Hand has also been getting some good work from two other freshmen, Jen Enos and Marisa Giglio. In the win over Lawrence, Enos won the 100 fly and 100 backstroke while Giglio was second in the 200 individual medley and third in the 100 breaststroke.

Those freshmen have someone to look up to in PHS senior star Victoria Cassidy.

“Victoria is so rock solid,” said Hand of his Maryland-bound standout, who won the 400 free against Lawrence.

“As a leader too, she is a role model. She is vocal but just the way she seems to understand what is going on. She has been in so many competitive situations; she is always prepared.”

In Hand’s view, junior Kiersten Holswade is preparing to do some big things for the Little Tigers this winter.

“A highlight today was Kiersten Holswade’s 400; it was a real solid race,” asserted Hand, reflecting on Holswade’s second-place finish.

“She is coming off a recent bad cold and sort of a year off because she is not in a swimming club any more. She is working her way back. She had a more confident, more aggressive swim in the 400. She is critical to us; she is very versatile and she is working her way to the fitness level she wants to be at.”

PHS will need its swimmers throughout the lineup to raise their level of fitness.

“The guys who are training only in the high school matter to where we are going to be when we are all finished,” said Hand, whose team is next in action when it hosts Ewing on January 5.

“A fifth instead of a sixth could be as much a factor in close meets as any other swim. If they have a sense that what they are doing matters then the climate of the team is great and we are getting to that point.”

Deardorff, for her part, attributes the positive climate around the team with helping her make a smooth transition to high school swimming.

“I felt really welcome; on the first day, people were introducing themselves,” said Deardorff.

“The meets have been fun; everyone is outgoing and cheering. It helps knowing that my team is there behind me for my swim.”

Deardorff’s success in the sprinting events has certainly earned her plenty of cheers.

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