December 7, 2016

PHS Girls’ Swimmers Displaying Progress, Unity Despite Dealing With Losses In and Out of the Pool

MAKING WAVES: Princeton High girls’ swimmer Melinda Tang shows her form in a freestyle race last season. Last Thursday, senior star Tang won the 200-yard and 500 freestyle races as PHS fell 97-72 to Notre Dame to move to 0-2. In upcoming action, the Little Tigers host Nottingham on December 8 and then swim at WW/P-N on December 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Months before the season even started, the Princeton High girls’ swimming team suffered a major loss as superstar and state individual champion Abbey Berloco opted to transfer to Notre Dame for the last two years of her high school career.

“It is definitely unfortunate to lose her; she is one of the top swimmers in the state but at the same time, we want nothing but the best for her,” said PHS head coach Carly Misiewicz of Berloco, who placed first in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle events at the state Meet of Champions last season.

“Our girls, as a team, knew that going into the season and they said you know what, you can’t change anybody else. We are going to do the best that we can possibly do as a team. They have had nothing but the best attitude since the start of the season and even prior to it.”

Despite starting the season with losses to WW/P-S (98-72 on November 29) and Notre Dame (97-72 on December 1) last week, the Little Tigers displayed a positive attitude.

“My assistant coach and I were talking about how much the girls have really improved,” said Misiewicz.

“They are dropping time and really, really coming together as a team; understanding our strengths and our weaknesses and what works best for us. Everyone is really stepping up to the plate.”

Senior star Melinda Tang has been stepping up for four years in her career with PHS.

“Melinda is phenomenal as she has been since she has been a freshman when I first started,” said Misiewicz of Tang, the first place finisher in the 200 and 500 freestyle in the loss to Notre Dame.

“She has really fallen into that leadership and captain role and the fact that she is winning and open to swim absolutely anything. She did the 200 free and 100 fly for us on Tuesday and she did the 200 free and 500 free today. She was feeling a little under the weather today so I said you want to swim something else and she was no, I can do the 500. She is such a trooper and she motivated everyone else. That to me is perfect leadership and anything you could look for as a coach.”

Senior Jamie Liu had a nice swim in winning the 100 butterfly against Notre Dame.

“She is not swimming club any more, which is nice because she is here every day,” said Misiewicz.

“She wasn’t here on Tuesday because she was also feeling sick so it was definitely a big difference having her back today.”

A pair of Maddies, seniors Maddie Whaley and Maddie Schwimmer, are making a difference for PHS.

“Maddie Whaley is also a senior and a captain; it is the same thing, she will do the breaststroke, sprints, IM, 200, and 500 free.

“She will swim anywhere that we need her at all. I will say what do you think you want to swim today and she will say anywhere you want to put me. It is the perfect attitude you want in a senior and a captain. Maddie Schwimmer is another senior captain and a phenomenal kid to have on the team She was really into butterfly in her freshman and sophomore years. Last year, I switched her to into strictly 100, 200 free with some 50s here or there and she has really found her role on the team.”

Freshman Cameron Davis is assuming a key role on the team in her debut campaign with the squad.

“Cameron Davis is someone who has done big things so far in the first two meets,” said Misiewicz,

“She came up big in the 50 free and the 100 back on Tuesday and a last minute switch put her in the 100 free today and the 100 back. It was the same thing; I said Cammie this is where you are going to swim today and she said OK sounds good. We like having her for the backstroke leg in the medley relay. She is definitely finding her place on the team and it helps that her older sister Samantha is back on the team this year.”

While PHS, which has won four straight county titles, isn’t used to being 0-2, Misiewicz sees good things ahead for the Little Tigers.

“I think right now we are in a really good place, with the fact that we dropped time even from Tuesday to today,” said Misiewicz, whose team hosts Nottingham on December 8 and then swims at WW/P-N on December 13.

“They know and recognize that our end goal is counties and states. This is practice racing, seeing what works, what doesn’t work. It is just a puzzle and finding the correct pieces that fit together to make the team function and work its best.”