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PHS Girls’ Swimming Emerging as a Force, Looking Formidable in Rout of Notre Dame

BREAKING FREE: Princeton High girls’ swimming star Madeleine Deardorff displays her freestyle form in a recent race. Last week, precocious freshman Deardorff won both the 200 individual medley and the 500 free to help PHS to a 125-45 win over Notre Dame. The Little Tigers, now 10-0, wrap up regular season action with a meet at Hamilton on January 24 before competing in the Mercer County Championships from January 31-February 2 at Lawrence High. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

BREAKING FREE: Princeton High girls’ swimming star Madeleine Deardorff displays her freestyle form in a recent race. Last week, precocious freshman Deardorff won both the 200 individual medley and the 500 free to help PHS to a 125-45 win over Notre Dame. The Little Tigers, now 10-0, wrap up regular season action with a meet at Hamilton on January 24 before competing in the Mercer County Championships from January 31-February 2 at Lawrence High.
(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

For much of the winter, the Princeton High girls’ swim team has been flying under the radar as attention has been focused on its male counterparts and their quest for a second straight state championship.

But last week, the Little Tiger girls stole some of the limelight as they routed Notre Dame 125-45 to remain undefeated and serve notice that they are title contenders as well.

While PHS head coach Greg Hand knew that his team had an edge over Notre Dame, he is happy with how his girls swimmers have continually risen to the occasion this season.

“I wasn’t real surprised, Notre Dame on the girls’ side is rebuilding and they are in the second year of that process,” said Hand.

“I like the way we competed in the meets we expected to be the toughest, against South (WW/P-S), North (WW/P-N), and Robbinsville. There is some real quality out there.”

The quartet of senior Marisa Giglio, freshman Brianna Romaine, and the Deardorff sisters, senior Serena and freshman Madeleine, displayed their quality against the Fighting Irish as they each won two events in the meet.

Giglio finished first in the 200 freestyle and the 100 breaststroke while sprint star Romaine won the 100 free and the 100 backstroke. Serena Deardorff was the winner of the 50 free and the 100 butterfly while younger sister Madeleine took first in the 200 individual medley and the 500 free.

As the season has unfolded, the Little Tigers seem to be getting better and better.

“I am pleased to see that we have depth on our side that we weren’t sure we had,” said Hand. “We have improved in all of our lanes and the spirit seems good.”

It has helped spirits to go undefeated. “Running the table in our league has been a lot of fun,” said Hand.

“The less experienced kids are getting better and the more experienced kids are helping to build the excitement and are moving forward themselves.”

With the big four, there is a lot of excitement surrounding PHS’s chances in the upcoming county meet.

“No doubt, it is good to have front-line swimmers like the Deardorffs, Giglio, and Romaine,” said Hand, whose team defeated Hightstown 119-51 last Thursday to improve to 10-0 and will end regular season action with a meet at Hamilton on January 24.

“From what I have seen, each of them, no matter what events they swim, are going against two or three kids out there who have times just as fast. The counties is going to be a real toss-up. There is enough talent in the counties that the points will be distributed differently than they are in the dual meets. It is going to be really interesting.”

For Hand, concentrating on getting the most out of his talent will be his main concern leading into the county meet which runs from January 31-February 2 at Lawrence High.

“The kids are going to have to train through it,” said Hand. “We don’t have enough time for two tapers. The kids will keep working hard. It is going to be fun to see.”

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