December 7, 2022

After PHS Swim Teams Dominated Last Winter, Tigers Primed to Keep Rolling in 2022-23 Season

HEY BRO: Princeton High boys’ swimmer David Brophy displays his freestyle form in a race last season. Sophomore Brophy figures to be a key contributor for the Titers this fall. PHS starts its 2022-23 campaign with a meet at Steinert on December 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Featuring depth, talent, and a positive chemistry, the Princeton High boys’ and girls’ swimming teams both produced dominant performances last winter.

Each squad placed first in the Mercer County championship meet with the boys going on to win the Public B Central Jersey sectional title and making it to the Public B state final on the way to a 14-1 record. The girls, for their part, went 11-1, advancing to the North 2 Group B sectional semis.

Heading into the 2022-23 campaign, PHS head coach Carly Misiewicz knows that her boys’ squad will have a bull’s eye on it.

“Something I stressed to them at the beginning of the season was that the target is definitely on our back this year,” said Misiewicz. “There is that pressure, if you want to call it that, to repeat.”

Buoyed by its upbeat mentality and bonds among the swimmers, Misiewicz believes the squad will be unfazed by such pressure.

“I think the guys are more than willing and up to the challenge,” said Misiewicz. “They are such a good group. They mesh so well, they all get along with each other so well. They are really the definition and the perfect version of whatever I could ask for in a team with the way they treat each other and the way they all talk to each other. They hang out with each other outside of their swimming.”

Senior Daniel Baytin is primed to be the best version of himself in his final season for the Tigers.

“Daniel is really ready, I think he is really excited; I have really seen him mature from his freshman year until now,” said Misiewicz, noting that Baytin plans to keep swimming at the college level. “When we had our first day of practice, once I gave my spiel, I said to the seniors, ‘If you guys want to say anything feel free to get up because this is the first time that we are all here together.’ Daniel got up and the way that he spoke was so eloquent. You could just see the passion for swimming and for the high school team and just the friendships and the bonds he has built. High school has truly showed him this is why I want to swim college as well because that team atmosphere from high school is something you don’t get from club.”

Another key senior, Julian Velazquez, has displayed a passion for the sport and the team over the last four years.

“Julian is looking good, he is also somebody I can put in anything,” said Misiewicz. “Whether it is fly, back, individual medley, 50, or 100 free all the way up to the 500, he is somebody who is also just so versatile and always willing to swim a different event too.”

With a deep lineup featuring juniors Zach Guan and Henry Xu along with sophomores David Brophy, Daniel Guo, David Zu, and Jaiden Xu, Misiewicz has plenty of talent and versatility at her disposal.

“We were very young last year, which is very nice,” said Misiewicz. “Kids that were in B or C lanes with us last year have improved tremendously in the last six to seven months, someone like Jaden Jung or Matias Da Costa. I am excited to see what they do. They focused a little more on club, they are in the weight room now. They have beefed up a little bit. It is nice to see that they took the initiative of it as well.”

With PHS starting the season with a meet at Steinert on December 8, the Tigers are focused on producing another stellar winter.

“They are very excited and very much looking forward to the year and looking forward to repeat and hopefully getting a little bit further,” said Misiewicz.

Despite some key graduation losses, Misiewicz is excited about her girls’ team.

“We have a lot of girls returning, the solid core is definitely there,” said Misiewicz, whose group of veterans includes seniors Beatrice Cai and Annie Zhao along with juniors Kyleigh Tangen, Lauren Girouard, Courtney Weber, Nora Chen, and Jesse Wang and sophomores Sabine Ristad, Rachel McInerney, and Lola Sofia Jimenez.

Standout senior Cai has been a solid performer throughout her career.

“Beatrice is our main senior this year for sure,” said Misiewicz. “Whether she goes in the 500, in the sprints, the fly, freestyle, IM, backstroke — literally we can throw her in absolutely anything. She also just has such a great mindset. She truly understands how important it is to just focus on this is a team thing right now and I am going to put myself aside.”

Misiewicz sees her strong junior class as a key to the team’s success this winter.

“I am so happy to have the whole crew back, they just have so much fun with it,” said Misiewicz, who expects freshman Annie Flanagan to be a good addition to the PHS crew. “Courtney, Kyleigh, and Lauren can also swim so many different events. That is why we can cause so much damage as a team because of the fact that I feel like I can put my girls in 10 different lineups. That is so great.”

With that kind of flexibility in her lineups, Misiewicz believes her girls’ squad can do some damage when it gets to the postseason.

“The girls are very excited that we are in a different section,” said Misiewicz, noting that PHS girls have been moved to Central Jersey sectional this year from North 2. “Looking at who is in our section, it is ‘hey, we have got a really good shot at this.’ From there, we will see what happens.”

In view of the positive vibe around her squads, Misiewicz is expecting a lot good things to happen this winter for her swimmers.

“I am really very much looking forward to it,” said Misiewicz. “You can’t help but feel a little confident.”