Joining PHS Boys’ Swimming for the Homestretch, Gifted Freshman Baytin Making Immediate Impact
By Bill Alden
Daniel Baytin didn’t waste any time making an impact for the Princeton High boys’ swimming team.
Joining the squad in January for the homestretch of the season, freshman Baytin has emerged as a force for PHS.
He won both the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke to help PHS defeat Notre Dame 92-78 on January 17 and then repeated that double win against Lawrence last week to help the Tigers pull away to a 94-76 victory over the Cardinals and improve to 11-1.
Baytin has found a home with the PHS program. “I really like Princeton High in general,” said the 6’4 Baytin, who competes year-round for the X-Cel Swimming club and also stars in summer meets for the Nassau Swim Club Lemmings.
“There are a lot of great people here. I feel like our coach [Carly Misiewicz] is really great. The sports here at PHS are great.”
While Baytin had a great day in the win over Lawrence in the January 21 meet, things didn’t come easy for him.
“This pool is really hard to swim in; it is really hot, especially for long events like the 200,” said Baytin. “It is very tiring and painful, like a 400.”
In the 100 breast, Baytin didn’t look tired at all, cruising to a dominant win.
“I had a relay right afterwards so I had to go easy a bit,” said Baytin, who help PHS prevail in both the 200 medley and 400 free relays. “The breast is a specialty for me. I feel like I excel in the 100 breast.”
PHS head coach Carly Misiewicz isn’t surprised to see Baytin excelling for the Tigers.
“Daniel has been with us for about two and a half weeks now,” said Misiewicz, noting that the freshman had to work through some injury issues before getting cleared.
“He is dominant in the breaststroke. He is good in the IM and sprints. You can almost put him anywhere. You know that he is a competitor; he is going to race and he is going to do whatever it takes to get a win.”
PHS anticipated a competitive meet with Lawrence and almost got more than it bargained for.
“It was a little bit closer than expected; at 62-62, I was very nervous,” said Misiewicz, who got wins from Jeshurun Reyen in the 50 and 100 freestyle races with Owen Tennant taking first in the 100 backstroke.
“We have always been pretty confident in our back half, but I do hate waiting until that point. The same thing happened against Notre Dame the other night too. We were tied, they were ahead, we were ahead.”
In pulling out close meets, PHS has utilized chemistry as well as ability.
“We are really connecting as a team, which is the biggest thing we have really been stressing this whole year,” said Misiewicz.
“We are really getting behind each other. We are really getting each other pumped up and excited, which is awesome. As coaches, we love to do that, but there comes a time when the team has to buy in.”
Having gone undefeated since a season-opening 106-64 loss to WW/P-North, PHS appears to be getting better and better.
“We have had a very successful season; to go 11 straight wins after that tough loss to North in the opener,” said Misiewicz.
“We were able to bounce back from that, collect ourselves, regroup, and say, hey this is what we have got. We are good, we shouldn’t sell ourselves short.”
With the Mercer County Championships slated for January 30-February 1 at WW/P-North, the Tigers have a chance to show that they are very good.
“I feel like we can really do some damage in the counties,” said Misiewicz.
“Going in, North is the favorite with their undefeated record so far. Let us come in and shake things up. I feel like our depth is there. We have a lot of potential to do a lot of really good things this postseason, whether it is in counties or states.”
Baytin, for his part, is looking to keep making an impact for the Tigers on both the short and long term.
“I have never been to the county meet, so I don’t know what it is like but it seems like a big meet,” said a smiling Baytin. “Next year, I am going to definitely try to be here right from the start.”