January 11, 2023

Undefeated PHS Boys’ Swimming Routs WWP-South As Baytin Produces School Record, Xu Shows Versatility

FOR THE RECORD: Princeton High boys’ swimmer Daniel Baytin competes in a breaststroke race earlier this season. Last Thursday, Baytin placed first in the 100-yard breaststroke to help PHS defeat WW/P-S 126-44. Baytin produced a school record of 57.22 in his win, breaking his previous mark of 58.48. The Tigers, now 7-0, have meets at WW/P-North on January 11, at Trenton Central on January 12, and at Nottingham on January 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Daniel Baytin was primed to do something special when the Princeton High boys’ swim team hosted WW/P-South last Thursday.

“We changed up the lineup so I had the opportunity to sprint the 100 breaststroke,” said Baytin. “I haven’t been able to really try it because I have been swimming back to back events. We organized the lineup spot so I would have a good shot at it.”

Making the most of his shot, Baytin sprinted to a school record of 57.22, breaking his previous mark of 58.48.

“It is my main event, I have been swimming it for four years,” said Baytin, who also took first in the 50 freestyle as PHS defeated previously undefeated WW/P-S 126-44 and improved to 7-0. “It is good to drop time definitely. It is still going to get knocked down. It means a lot to me, it is a legacy. I hope my brother (Stephen) one day will beat it.”

In Baytin’s view, the team’s current corps of sophomores has the chance to leave quite a legacy.

“All of the freshmen from last year have gotten faster,” said Baytin. “They were great last year, but now they are really putting in the work. It is awesome. I think the team is going to be in good hands.”

One of those sophomores, David Xu, looked awesome against WW/P-S as he won the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle.

“My brother (twin Jaiden) was swimming next to me in the IM. Whenever I swim, I don’t want to get beat by him,” said Xu, whose brother took second in the race. “David [Brophy] really pushed me in the 500 free as well because I felt like I had to beat him. I used to swim that last year, but I didn’t really swim it this season. It was a different experience than most of my races because it is the longest distance out of all of them.”

In competing against the Pirates, who came into the meet at 6-0, the Tigers pushed hard.

“It feels that now that we have all of our swimmers, we were able to do so much better,” said Xu. “Now we are going for power points so we are able to get a higher seeding in states.”

The team’s camaraderie has helped spark its powerful efforts.

“The entire team just feels like a big family, everybody knows each other and we are all really friends with each other,” said Xu. “It is a big friend group.”

Baytin, for his part, savored the big win over the Pirates. “I don’t think we have ever beaten them by this much before,” said Baytin. “It was fun.”

Looking ahead to the homestretch of the season, Baytin believes he can do much better.

“I have just been getting back in shape, the season is far from over,” said Baytin. “The fun stuff is still coming.”

PHS head coach Carly Misiewicz had fun watching Baytin race to his record swim.

“Daniel never ceases to amaze me,” said Misiewicz. “He is just such a stellar athlete and will do anything.”

David Xu’s stellar effort also impressed Misiewicz. “David is so versatile, whether it is the 200 free, the 200 IM, or whatever he is thrown into,” said Misiewicz. “It was the 500 free today and the 100 back that he did the other day for us. He is just so strong. He is such a competitor and such an athlete. I feel so honored and privileged to have so many swimmers like him and like Daniel Baytin with their versatility. I can put them on the 500 free one week and the 50 the next week.”

In the win over WW/P-S, PHS competed hard from the start.

“Going 1-2 in that medley relay set the tone, the energy was up 110 percent,” said Misiewicz, whose team is looking at a busy stretch with  meets at WW/P-North on January 11, at Trenton Central on January 12, and at Nottingham on January 17.

“We had a really good meet, a really fun meet against Notre Dame the other day (a 128-42 win in January 3). You never know with two back-to-back tough meets against really good competitive teams. You never know how we are going to perform, getting back in the swing of things at school. Overall, I think we are exactly in the spot that we need to be.”

The Tigers were also competing against the clock in the meet with the Pirates.

“Our main goal was not to just win today but really thinking about power points and states everything,” said Misiewicz. “We are sitting second in the section right now, trying to inch up a little closer to that top seed which is Chatham. We are just trying to think big picture and what are we capable of right now and things like that.”

A big factor in the team’s success this winter has been its depth.

“It was a team effort, it was a team win across the board – the energy was super high,” said Misiewicz, who got first place finishes from Brophy in the 200 free, Daniel Guo in the 100 butterfly, and Zach Guan in the 100 backstroke in addition to the wins by Baytin and Xu.

“I just think across the board, there are people who are surprising me and really stepping up and just dropping tremendous time. Someone like Tyler Cenci in our outside lanes, he is at practice every single day, just working and working all the time.”

As PHS looks to have another big postseason in the wake of last year’s heroics which saw it win the county meet, the Public B Central Jersey sectional title, and advance to the Public B state final where it lost to Chatham, Xu believes the Tigers could exceed those feats.

“I feel like we are in a really good spot and maybe even better than last year actually,” said Xu. “I am really happy with how the team is doing right now.”

Baytin is happy with how things are going in his final campaign with the program.

“Our team is a lot faster this year,” said Baytin, who is planning to continue his swimming career at the Division I level next year. “When I was here as a freshman we were fast but nowhere near as fast as this team. The younger guys are growing, they are a lot bigger.”