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Vol. LXII, No. 5
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
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With Junior Sprint Star Shapiro Battling Hard, PHS Girls’ Swim Team Primed for Tournaments

Bill Alden

Jordan Shapiro realized she was fighting a battle on several fronts as the Princeton High girls’ swimming team competed at WW/P-S last Thursday.

“We knew what we were coming up against,” said Shapiro, referring to the once-beaten Pirates. “We knew their record and their times. It’s a definitely a big meet to get excited about and see what we can do.”

On an individual basis, Shapiro readied herself to compete against WW/P-S star Paola Simon, her teammate on the Hamilton Aquatics club team.

“We train together six times a week and then we come to high school and ‘it’s oh, you are my enemy,’” said Shapiro. “We don’t really talk about the high school meeting.”

Shapiro prevailed in her individual battles, winning the 50 and 100 freestyle races, edging Simon in both swims.

PHS, though, lost the war, falling 101-69 to the Pirates to drop to 8-3 on the season.

While disappointed about the team result, junior star Shapiro relished her head-to-head clashes with Simon.

“It was really close,” said Shapiro, who was 0.98 faster than Simon in both the 50 and 100 races.

“She and I are able to put aside that we are a team in the morning; we know that we are on different high school teams. Being able to work for Princeton High and show them that I can win is a good feeling.”

Shapiro, who transferred to PHS last season from Hamilton High, is feeling good about her second season with the Little Tigers.

“It’s different; I know the girls better,” added Shapiro. “I know how they swim and what they bring to the team.”

Along with other veteran stars like Kathleen Morrison and Elizabeth Cava, Shapiro brings an example of competitive fire for the younger members of the team.

“They look up to us; they see what we do at the club and how we come to the high school meets and leave it all in the pool,” said Shapiro. “We put everything aside and just swim all out.”

PHS head coach Greg Hand likes everything Shapiro brings to the table for PHS.

“Jordan is looking very strong in the freestyle races,” said Hand. “Being an older newcomer last year wasn’t like being a freshman. People didn’t raise you within the team culture. We all feel that Jordan is a normal part of the team.”

Senior star Morrison has solidified her status as a vital part of the Little Tiger team.

“Kathleen is looking real fit, real strong,” asserted Hand. “She swam a 2:00 against South; it was a reasonably big meet but it wasn’t a state meet. Then she comes back and works with Elizabeth [Cava] in the 500 and they get us some power points, Kathleen just knocks these races out; she’s always in it for us.”

In Hand’s view, sophomore standout Victoria Cassidy is knocking on the door of some big things. “She looks very fit this year,” said Hand. “She’s not right at her personal bests yet but there is no reason she should be. Like with Kathleen and Elizabeth, we are getting consistent, high quality swims from Victoria.”

The PHS supporting cast is also producing some big swims. “Kiersten Holswade and Rachel Boyce are doing well; we are also getting good swims from Katherine Rizk,” added Hand, whose girls’ squad has advanced to the Public B state final in three of the last four seasons.

“She went under 5:50 in consecutive 500 races. We are asking her to do the 200 individual medley and the 500 in a lot of meets; the kids that can do that are a rare group of kids. We are using Carly and Amanda Blick more and more in individual events; they have earned that with the hard work they have put in. Emily Dreibelbis has worked very hard on the butterfly; she buys into the idea that she can get really good at the butterfly.”

With PHS competing in the county meet this weekend before heading into state competition, Hand is looking for more good work across the board.

“In a sense, it’s our first and only opportunity to have the team in a big meet,” said Hand, referring to the county meet which will be held at Lawrence High and culminate with the finals on February 2.

“There will be a ton of kids there. The objective is to compete and have a great meet. We want to be encouraged by the attitude and by what is coming a week later.”

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