Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 2
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
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JORDAN RULES: Princeton High swimming star Jordan Shapiro churns through the water in action last season. Shapiro’s prowess in the sprinting events has helped PHS get off to a 4-2 start in 2007-08. In upcoming action, the Little Tigers swim at Lawrenceville on January 15.

PHS Girls’ Swimming Picking Up Speed as It Looks to Get Ready for Tests Ahead

Bill Alden

For the Princeton High girls’ swim team, its meet last Friday at winless Hamilton didn’t appear to be anything to get too excited about.

PHS head coach Greg Hand, though, eagerly anticipated the meet as it represented the team’s first competition after a long holiday layoff.

“On the girls’ team we have one group who trains with us and a group that trains outside in clubs,” said Hand.

“I was happy to hear that kids in the clubs were working hard over the holiday and I knew the kids at Witherspoon were working hard. We needed to pull things together after the holiday and reorganize. The meet with Hamilton allowed us to focus on January and what we need to do.”

The Little Tigers came together quite nicely, routing Hamilton 120-50 in improving to 4-2 on the season. Individual winners for PHS included Victoria Cassidy in the 100 backstroke, Kathleen Morrison in the 100 breaststroke, Kiersten Holswade in the 100 freestyle, Elizabeth Cava in the 200 individual medley, and Paige Johnson, the first-place finisher in both the 200 free and 100 butterfly.

The Little Tigers have been paced so far this season by their big three of Cassidy, Morrison, and Jordan Shapiro.

“Each of them is a strong, versatile swimmer,” said Hand. “Each has events where one is a little better than the other so they complement each other. If I need the fastest 100 free, for example, I can turn to Jordan. If we don’t need that, I can let Jordan do the backstroke. We have some versatility with them.”

The big three has been supported by the senior pair of Johnson and Cava.

“They also give us great versatility,” added Hand. “They work hard and give us a solid racing mentality.”

Freshman Holswade has shown a superb racing mentality. “She already has a strong sense of what training for swimming means; she’s not worried about anything,” said Hand. “She is one of our fastest sprinters and we haven’t used her there yet.”

Hand is looking his team to use its meets in January as a way to put its training to the test.

“The girls have a real challenge with the Lawrenceville meet,” said Hand. “We also swim against WW/P-S, who is really powerful. It’s good to have a dual meet against a team like them; that should help us with our power points.”

With the PHS girls’ program having advanced to three state Public B finals in the last four seasons, Hand is hoping his team can emerge as a powerful force once again.

“What we have to do is to get everybody concerned about getting faster by the time we get to the first or second round of the states,” explained Hand.

“In the past, we have trained through early phases of the states; I’m not sure we can do that this year. We need sprinters to improve by a tenth and the swimmers in the longer races by a half-second. As coaches, we need to focus on the times where we need certain levels of performance.”

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