Vol. LXV, No. 9
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
BREAKING POINT: Princeton High boys swimming star Derek Colaizzo takes a break between races during the state Public B championship meet last Sunday against Scotch Plains-Fanwood at The College of New Jersey pool. Junior sprinter Colaizzo won the 50 freestyle, paced third in the 100 butterfly, and helped PHS to wins in the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay. Colaizzos heroics, though, werent enough as PHS fell 90-80.
Derek Colaizzo knew that the Princeton High boys swimming team was in for a big test as it competed against Scotch Plains-Fanwood last Sunday in the state Public B championship meet.
I was pretty nervous going into this meet, said PHS junior sprinting star Colaizzo, referring to the final held at The College of New Jersey pool.
Aside from Haddonfield [a 92-78 win in the B semis], we havent really had any huge, huge challenges.
Colaizzo didnt waste any time showing he was up to the challenge, helping the Little Tiger 200 medley relay team open the meet with a razor thin victory over Scotch Plains. Three races later, Colaizzo out-touched Raider star Joe Dunn at the wall by 0.12 to win the 50 freestyle in 21.46.
Despite Colaizzos heroics, the Little Tigers couldnt ultimately overcome Scotch Plains as they went down to a 90-80 defeat to suffer their only blemish in a memorable 16-1 season.
Other individual winners in the meet for PHS included Victor Honore, the first place finisher in both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, and Matt Kuhlik, the victor in the 100 free.
In assessing the loss, Colaizzo tipped his hat to the Raiders strength throughout the lineup.
Our middle lane swimmers matched them or were better but their depth was a lot stronger, said Colaizzo, who also finished third in the 100 fly. I thought we had depth but apparently not compared to them.
The Little Tigers showed the depth of their competitive fire as they won the final event of the day, the 400 free relay, even though the meets outcome had been decided by that point.
That is probably the relay that we always have, said Colaizzo of the quartets scorching 3:18.37 performance, a new school record.
While PHS didnt achieve its ultimate goal, Colaizzo enjoyed trying. It was really fun, said Colaizzo. I had a great time; I am looking forward to next year.
PHS head coach Greg Hand had a great time guiding his stellar squad. Its always nice to be the coach of one of the best teams you have ever seen in high school swimming; that is just fun, said Hand, whose team cruised to the team title at the Mercer County Swimming Championships in early February.
To know that we were able to swim really well when our best meet was needed as in the last last three, from Ocean to Haddonfield to Scotch Plains, thats really a tribute to the kids and all the work they have done and everything they have put into this team.
The Little Tigers kept working on Sunday even when they fell behind the Raiders early in the meet.
We talked about that a couple of days ago where we havent had a challenge where we were behind through a big chunk of the meet, said Hand. The idea was just to make sure that you are the same person in this environment as you are in an environment where you are winning. I think the guys answered that.
In Hands view, the answer came from the opening race of the meet. The medley relay set a terrific tone for us, recalled Hand of the performance by Honore, Jacques Bazile, Colaizzo, and Kuhlik as they clocked a time of 1:37.69 in narrowly taking first.
It wasnt just how fast we swam. When you can see their guy right next to you; when you can feel their guy, that means something. The fact that that relay stepped up and smashed their prior best time really gave us momentum psychologically. I think the quality of that swim plus the quality of some swims early on in the meet from all the guys made this a meet where it felt close all the way. You could read the score but it really felt competitive.
With the Little Tigers losing only senior captain Peter Deardorff from their main lineup, Hand believes his team can compete for a championship next winter.
I have a pretty deep sense of confidence right now that there is a great deal of competitive character and personal character among the boys on this team, asserted Hand.
Thats why I am looking forward to it. If it is in the cards for us to be good enough to compete for a championship, we are never going to back down.
Colaizzo, for his part, sees PHS getting that championship next winter. I think if we couldnt do it this year, we can do it next year, said Colaizzo.
We are losing one person in our point scoring lineup. Now we know what it is like; we have a feel for the whole environment and the whole process. We want to get it next year.
Town Topics® may be purchased on Wednesday mornings at the following locations: Princeton McCaffreys, Coxs, Kiosk (Palmer Square), Krauszers (State Road), Olives, Speedy Mart (State Road), Wawa (University Place); Hopewell Village Express; Rocky Hill Wawa (Route 518); Pennington Pennington Market.
Copyright© Town Topics®, Inc. 2011.