Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 9
 
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
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FAMILY FUN: Princeton High girls’ swimmer Rachel Boyce displays her backstroke form in a race earlier this season. Last week, senior Boyce ended her PHS career as the Little Tigers lost to Haddonfield 102-68 in the Public B state semifinals. Boyce is the fourth member of her family to compete for the PHS swimming program.

Senior Captain Boyce Ends Family Dynasty as PHS Girls’ Swimmers Lose in ‘B’ Semis

Bill Alden

It was not just the end of the season when the Princeton High girls swim team fell to Haddonfield in the Public B state semifinals last week, it was the end of an era for the program.

With senior captain Rachel Boyce wrapping up her PHS career, it marked the final chapter in her family’s long history with PHS swimming.

“I am the youngest of four and all three of the others were on the team,” said Boyce, who was preceded by sisters Sarah and Katie and brother Billy.

“This is the end of 11 years that coach [Greg] Hand has had a Boyce. It is kind of crazy; it feels like the end of some sort of dynasty. I am sure my mother is saying ‘Oh my gosh they are all gone.’”

Boyce savored the chance to follow in her siblings’ footsteps. “I had been watching my oldest sister, my older brother, and my other older sister,” recalled Boyce.

“Then actually being on the team was really exciting because I had been seeing the routine year after year. It was exciting to be part of it myself. Now it is rather bittersweet that it is ending but it is ending on a good note.”

Although PHS lost to Haddonfield 102-68, Boyce believes that the Little Tigers had no reason to be ashamed.

“I am really, really proud of the team; we did really the best that we could,” said Boyce.

“The sectional title is what means the most to me; three times in four years is a great accomplishment. I’m really proud of the way the meet came together in the end; we had a really great attitude.”

In the loss to Haddonfield, the Little Tigers got wins from Jen Enos in the 200 freestyle, Serena Deardorff in the 50 free and 100 butterfly, and Victoria Cassidy in the 200 individual medley and the 500 free.

With PHS having lost in the first round of the sectionals in 2009, Boyce was proud of the way the team rallied this year.

“It was a comeback; it was really great,” said Boyce. “I think a lot of it has to do with just the way we stepped up. We got a lot of really strong freshmen and then the seniors, juniors, and sophomores all really bought it. We did a good job of bringing up our times and making a new kind of depth. It was really exciting to watch the improvement through the season.”

For PHS head coach Hand, it has been exciting to guide the four Boyces.

“It has been a delight, and a unique privilege, to have these four wonderful people over the course of what is by now many years,” said Hand.

“They all have the same rock-solid character, most evident through their integrity, consistency of effort, positive outlook, team spirit, and genuine friendliness towards everyone. Each of them has a distinct, charming personality as well. When Rachel goes, we’ll miss her so much, but we’ll never forget her or her family.”

Hand liked the spirit senior star Cassidy showed in her finale. “Victoria is a great leader because nobody trains for races harder and yet she is utterly unaffected by hype and attention,” said Hand.

“She is just such an honest person; so considerate of the other kids on the team. She always has a positive impact on the environment whether it is on deck, at practice, or on a day like today.”

In Hand’s view, team captains Cassidy, Boyce, Emily Ullmann, Sarah Miller, and Giuliana Orsini made the team environment special.

“They did a magnificent job; sometimes we coaches just watch how they function,” said Hand.

“The more we let them do, the more we expect them to do. They are five kids who are better leaders by virtue of working so hard at becoming good leaders. They don’t take it for granted.”

With such a foundation featuring such freshman stars as Deardorff, Enos, and Marisa Giglio, Hand likes the program’s future.

“The hard work creates the fun but once you get that cycle going, the fun fuels the hard work,” said Hand.

“This is a fun team, not just because there are nice people but because they really get committed to seeing how good they can be.”

Boyce, for her part, will always remember the fun she had as the last member of her family to compete for PHS.

“We have had a lot of fun; we always do,” said Boyce. “The crazy psyches were great; the captains usually come up with those and organize them. We always have fun seeing each other in school and wearing our crazy clothes. I just love the way that we all are completely in the spirit before any meet.”

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