Tang Produces Record-Breaking Performance As PHS Girls’ Swimmers Finish 5th at Countie
RECORD PACE: Princeton High girls’ swimmer Melinda Tang displays her butterfly form in a recent meet. Last Saturday, senior star Tang won the 100 butterfly at the Mercer County Swimming Championships to help PHS finish fifth of 14 schools in the team standings at the meet. Tang established a meet record in the 100 fly in the preliminary round when she clocked a time of 1:02.80. The Little Tigers are next in action when they compete in the Public state tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
Melinda Tang wasn’t feeling 100 percent physically as she hit the pool last week for the Princeton High girls’ swimming team at the Mercer County Swimming Championships.
“Coming into this meet, I had a pretty bad cold,” said senior star Tang. “I wasn’t expecting all that much.”
In the preliminary round on Thursday, Tang exceeded expectations taking first on the 100 butterfly, setting a meet record of 1:02.80 in the process.
“This year was my last chance to get it; I have been trying to get it since I was a freshman,” said Tang. “I was really, really happy that I got it this time.”
Tang savored taking part in her final county meet. “I just wanted to be here for the last time; this year everything has been a series of lasts which is making me nostalgic,” said Tang.
In the championship round on Saturday at WW/P-North, Tang produced a series of good performances, taking first in the 100 fly and fourth in the 200 freestyle to help PHS place fifth of 14 schools in the team standings. Notre Dame rolled to the title, the first for its girls’ program.
In the final day of action at the competition, Tang helped PHS get rolling as she took part in a 200 medley relay quartet that placed fourth.
“I think that was one of our best times,” said Tang. “I am really happy with how everyone did in this meet, basically everyone dropped time. Even if that didn’t really get us points, it was everyone’s personal best.”
After taking fourth in the 200 free and winning the 100 fly, Tang gave her best in the last event of the meet, the 400 free relay.
“The final relay was all about this is one last showing and let’s see what we can do,” said Tang, who helped PHS take third in the relay.
“I am happy with how we ended up doing; I am good with that being our last swim.”
Becoming more outgoing over the years, Tang has blossomed as a team leader this season.
“I feel like I have gotten a lot closer with everyone else on my team as a captain this year,” said Tang.
“I got to know all of the underclassmen, all of the upperclassmen and I just thought it was great. I was a really quiet freshman; I feel like I have gotten more vocal.”
PHS head coach Carly Misiewicz has enjoyed seeing Tang’s growth.
“We were just talking on the bus ride home on Thursday and I was saying I remember when you were a freshman and a sophomore, you barely said two words and now you are in my ear,” said Misiewicz. “She can’t stop talking. She has grown into a leader and definitely fills that leadership role on the team.”
In Misiewicz’s view, Tang’s effort in the 100 fly spoke volumes about her competitiveness.
“I know that is something she has been looking at since her freshman year,” said Misiewicz.
“She has been saying I am getting this record and every year she comes a little short. She wasn’t feeling well on Thursday and I told her just get in and do not think about it. As soon as you think about a time, nothing is going to go the way you want it too. She said you are right and she did it. She looked phenomenal.”
In addition to Tang’s
heroics, senior Maddie Whaley took fourth in the 200 individual medley, freshman Cameron Davis took seventh in the 100 breaststroke and 10th in the 50 free, while the 200 free relay placed fourth.
“I think the girls did really well. There were a lot of standouts for me,” said Misiewicz.
“Maddie Whaley and Melinda obviously; Cammie Davis had a great meet. Margaret Hill is someone who could do almost anything for us. On Thursday, when she swam the 50 free, she dropped two and a half seconds and made it tonight to finals. To see her finish 11th place was insane.”
Although PHS saw its four-year winning streak at the country meet snapped, Misiewicz was excited by her team’s attitude on the deck.
“I am really happy and proud of how far they have come and how they have really united and come together as a team,” said Misiewicz “They are behind each other 100 percent.”
Misiewicz is excited to see how her team fares in the upcoming Public state tournament.
“I think this give us a chance to see who are the step up swimmers and what are those key factors that we are going to utilize and use more in other positions,” said Misiewicz.
“I am really happy with how the girls swam; it was so close with those three-four teams. They didn’t give up or quit fighting.”
Tang, for her part, is primed to keep fighting to the end of her career. “I am just trying to do the best I can and get best times,” said Tang, who is headed to the University of Chicago where she will be competing for its women’s swimming program.