Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 3
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
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(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

FREE AND CLEAR: Princeton High boys’ swimmer Peter Kalibat races to victory in the 500 freestyle last week against WW/P-S. Kalibat won the 500 free by nearly 12 seconds and also posted a win in the 200 individual medley as PHS topped the Pirates 117-53 to remain undefeated. In upcoming action, the Little Tigers host Notre Dame on January 20 before swimming at Hightstown on January 25.

Sparked by Colaizzo’s Focus in Sprint Races, PHS Boys’ Swimming Remains Undefeated

Bill Alden

Derek Colaizzo knew that the Princeton High boys swimming team faced a key test when it hosted WW/P-S last week.

“We were the two undefeated teams so far,” said PHS junior star Colaizzo.

“We were very excited to be able to race them and we knew it was going to be a high level meet.”

Colaizzo and PHS went on to show that they were at a higher level than WW/P-S as they cruised to a 117-53 win over their longtime rivals.

“I am really surprised; they have a lot of fast guys,” said Colaizzo, who produced one of the fastest swims of the day when he won the 50 freestyle. “I think they don’t have as much depth as they have had.”

The Little Tigers showed their depth in the triumph over the Pirates, winning every individual event except the 100 breaststroke.

Besides Colaizzo, victors for PHS included Peter Deardorff in the 200 free, Peter Kalibat in the 200 individual medley and the 500 free, Matt Kuhlik in the 200 free, and Victor Honore in the 100 backstroke.

Colaizzo’s win in the 50 free reflected the great depth of the Little Tigers as his toughest competition came from classmate Kuhlik.

While Colaizzo acknowledges that he and Kuhlik push each other to become better, his focus is not on his teammate.

“I try to swim in my own lane,” said Colaizzo, who posted a time of 22.59 with Kuhlik taking second in 22.88. “Although its fun to have some intra-squad competition, it’s better to keep focused on not breathing and having a nice, fast turn, and a good start. To have a good swim, you have to focus on what you are doing.”

After edging Kuhlik in the 50 free, Colaizzo came right back and had a good swim in the 100 fly, taking third.

“I was a little tired even though we had that 10 minute break in between the races,” said Colaizzo.

“I felt like I had a pretty good fly swim; my last turn was a little weak. I was happy with it.”

Colaizzo is happy with the progress he has made this season. “I am working on swimming a lot longer, especially my freestyle,” said Colaizzo, whose exploits are more impressive considering that he is not a year-round swimmer and focuses on playing the saxophone in the offseason.

“I am working on my dives to make sure that they are straighter; I go further out usually.”

PHS’s veteran swimmers have worked on getting the team’s group of precocious freshmen up to speed with the program’s traditions.

“We teach them all the cheers and how to be classy and modest,” said Colaizzo. “We help them with being focused and swimming a good race.”

In Colaizzo’s view, the Little Tigers have the talent to draw a lot of cheers this season.

“From my freshman year to this year, the depth has definitely increased,” said Colaizzo.

“In my freshman year we had three seniors and last year we had three or four seniors. We have had bigger classes of really fast swimmers coming in every year which is really helping us.”

PHS head coach Greg Hand liked the fast swimming he saw across the board in the win over WW/P-S.

“The fellas in the inside lanes were working hard and taking it very seriously,” said Hand, whose team remained undefeated with a 98-72 win over Steinert last Thursday.

“We got some great swims there. We got some terrific swims in the next two lanes with a few good PRs [personal records] that I am certainly proud of. There are a lot of things to build off of so that’s the kind of team performance we want.”

The Little Tigers swept the three relays, setting a school record in the 200 medley as Will Stange, Jacques Bazile, Honore, and Kuhlik posted a time of 1:41.43.

“We are always tweaking the relays to see what the best combination is but things change day to day so you never know what the theoretical best squad is,” added Hand.

“You just keep trying to go fast so we got a good effort out of the medley. It is a real luxury. Part of the luxury is just that you get to try combinations and just find out things about swimmers without risking too much sometimes. It is nice to know as many possible times for your kids that you can.”

Hand is happy with his one-two sprinting combination of Colaizzo and Kuhlik.

“It is nothing but positive; it is a real opportunity for these guys to help each other get better and to have a long series of races in which they are each trying to go as fast as they can,” said Hand.

“In a race, though, one thing to learn is that you’re not swimming against the other guy. You can compare times when you are done but if you are thinking about him, you are not going to swim your best race. I know that each guy wants to be the fastest kid but it is not personal there.”

Freshman star Kalibat is emerging as one of Princeton’s fastest swimmers. “Peter is very mature in how he approaches a meet,” said Hand.

“He’s even tempered; he seems excited to swim but he’s not hyped up. He is well warmed up and well focused and not too worried about the other guys who he is swimming against. He has a good sense that he wants to get a good race out of himself.”

PHS is looking to get good races every time out, whether it is swimming against rival WW/P-S or any of its other Colonial Valley Conference foes.

“We were fired up just because of the long term very positive rivalry with South,” said Hand, whose team hosts Notre Dame on January 20 before swimming at Hightstown on January 25.

“Just as we watch the other teams in the county, they watch us. I think we are doing a fine job of taking it one meet at a time to look past Steinert or North towards Notre Dame is not a good strategy.”

Colaizzo, for his part, believes the Little Tigers can keep doing a fine job in the big meets ahead.

“I am looking forward to the rest of the season, the counties, sectionals, and states,” said Colaizzo.

“I think compared to past years, we haven’t had this depth. Our strong middle lane swimmers have really pulled us through but now we have the outside lanes. I think that will greatly benefit us in the state tournament.”

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