December 22, 2021

Picking Up Where They Left Off Last Winter, PHS Swimming Teams Off to a Sizzling Start

FAST START: Princeton High girls’ swimmer Lucy Liu competes in a freestyle race last winter. Senior standout Liu has helped PHS produce a 5-0 start this season. The Tigers were slated to wrap up the 2021 portion of their schedule by hosting Hopewell Valley on December 21 and will return to action when they host Notre Dame on January 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After both the Princeton High boys’ and girls’ swimming teams went 12-0 last winter, the squads are picking up where they left off so far in the 2021-22 campaign.

Featuring talent and depth throughout their lineups, the teams have gotten off to 5-0 starts, looking dominant in the process.

“The biggest thing that is really cool for us is numbers, we have almost 30 or 35 on each team which is huge,” said PHS head coach Carly Misiewicz, who guides both squads.

“Last year for the girls was maybe 20 or 21 and for the boys, it was 13. It was amazing that we were able to do what we did last year. I think that is why we are even more excited for this year.”

With increased depth, Misiewicz is able to mix and match the talent at her disposal.

“I can get more people in different races, we can swim different things,” said Misiewicz.

“We have so much more flexibility this year. We don’t just have to specialize and say you are always swimming these two events. The beauty is that I am able to do this with both boys and girls. A lot of the people we have are very versatile. The other teams are never going to know what they are going to get. I have already done five totally different lineups this year.”

The boys’ lineup features seniors Alex Shaw and Nicholas Oskiper along with juniors Julian Velazquez and Daniel Baytin, sophomores Zach Guan, Henry Xu, and Alvin Tien, and a quartet of freshmen in David Brophy, Daniel Guo, David Xu, and Jaiden Xu.

“We have a lot of talent in the pool with the boys,” said Misiewicz. “We have upcoming talent too with freshmen and sophomores.”

The PHS boys overcame a big challenge as they topped West Windsor/Plainsboro-North 94-76 on December 14 as Velazquez won the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly, David Xu won the 200 individual medley, Shaw won the 50 free, Baytin won the 100 free and 100 breaststroke, Brophy won the 500 free, and Guan won the 100 backstroke

“That was a good test, it was our first legitimate test this season so it was nice to come out on top and to have some really fast times,” said Misiewicz of the win over the Northern Knights. “There are a lot of things to be excited about for the season.”

Misiewicz is excited about the senior leadership she is getting from Shaw.

“Alex is a big one, even though he is a club swimmer, when he is here he is constantly up,” said Misiewicz.

“He is behind the blocks, he is on the side of the pool. He is getting people up and motivated, pumped and fired up. He is has been my go-to on the guys side as far as energy and morale and things like that. He is all about it, he loves high school swimming.”

The Tiger girls have Misiewicz pumped up as well. “We were fortunate to be ranked in the top 20 of the state last year,” said Misiewicz, whose team showed its strength by routing WW/P-North 132.5-37-5 and with its closest win being a 107-63 triumph over Robbinsville on December 9. “So our hope and our goal is to keep building on that.”

There is a good foundation in place for the squad with seniors Abby Walden, Laura Liu, Tracey Liu, and Jordyn Weber along with juniors Beatrice Cai and Annie Zhao, a sophomore group of Lauren Girouard, Nora Chen, Kyleigh Tangen, Courtney Weber and Jessie Wang and a pair of freshman standouts in Sabine Ristad and Lola Jimenez.

In the victory over WW/P-North, Tangen took first in the 200 and 100 free, Cai was first in the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly, Tracey Liu won the 50 free and 100 backstroke, Ristad won the 500 free, and Zhao won the 100 breaststroke.

“The fact that there is a postseason and counties this year, we have things to train towards,” said Misiewicz. “I think our goals and mindset are a little different from last year.”

With PHS slated to wrap up the 2021 portion of its schedule by hosting Hopewell Valley on December 21 and then returning to action when its hosts Notre Dame on January 4, Misiewicz is urging her swimmers to stay in the moment as they head into the homestretch of the season.

“It is really just taking it meet by meet, swim by swim, event by event, and literally second by second,” said Misiewicz.

“My main thing I am always telling them is beat the person next to you. Times are great, they are important but they are what they are. But as a team, at the end of the day, you should be less concerned about your time than how can I help my team as much as possible. High school swimming is different, you actually get to feel a sense of pride for your school and you want to help your team out.”