By Warren Rappleyea
South Brunswick High School girls’ swimming team entered the final week of the regular season with eight wins in nine meets, while also looking forward to the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) championships Jan. 28-29.
The Lady Vikings were scheduled to swim at Piscataway Township High School Jan. 18, and coach Ryan Webb was hoping to end the campaign on a high note.
“We have so much depth this year and we’re getting points from everyone in our lineup, and that’s really helped us succeed,” he said. “We have the talent to do very well in the GMC meet.”
Webb said his team began to realize its potential after edging John P. Stevens High School by four points in the second meet of the season. It came down to the final event, and South Brunswick earned second- and third-place finishes to pick up the victory.
“That was a big test for us, and it was so early in the season,” the coach said. “Winning that meet really set the tone for the rest of the year because the girls gained a lot of confidence.”
The Lady Vikings have just four seniors: Megan Ung, Nina Trach, Shelly Wang and Alice Zheng. The four all participate in various relay events. Ung also competes in the breaststroke and butterfly, Wang handles the backstroke and Trach does the individual medley (IM) as well as the breaststroke.
Several juniors have also played key roles. They include Nina Mendes, Senya Agrawal, Kallen Mitchell, Prithka Okade, Kusha Krishna and Emily Butman. Webb employs them all in various relay events. Mendes and Mitchell also compete in distance freestyle races, and Okade competes in the IM.
South Brunswick’s sophomore class includes Chelsea Li, Kristen Chung, Marisa Keiser, Ishika Patel and versatile Mona Ranadive. An influx of freshman has helped as well. The newcomers include Michelle Foong, Shuyang Liu, Nina Soukhanovskii, Niyatee Desai, Vani Chawla and Libby Snyder.
The Lady Vikings’ lone loss came at the hands of defending GMC champion East Brunswick, but Webb was pleased by his team’s effort.
“Many of the girls had their best times in that meet,” he said. “That’s all you can ask for as a coach. They work hard, and I can see the growth every time I log their times into my computer.”
South Brunswick’s boys, meanwhile, were also wrapping up the regular season at Piscataway, and a win would put them at .500. With only two seniors, the Vikings have a bright future. Webb’s boys dropped the first three meets of the campaign before bouncing back.
Nick Borghi competes in the butterfly, freestyle and backstroke, while fellow senior Chris Swierczek is free style sprinter. Both are also in the medley relay.
Webb’s juniors include Carlos Catalano, Brian Huang, John Liu, Rishadh Midha, Rohan Mody, Adam Razick, Swarndeep Sharma, Derek Tang and twins Arjun and Abhay Dhillon. Brian Chen represents the sophomore class, along with Mihir Subhedar, Kedar Tadki and Roshan Soni. Freshmen include Charles Armour, Luke Barglow, William Hoffman, George Sheng and Codi Shi.
“I’m seeing continual improvement,” Webb said. “The boys work hard and they never give up. It’s great for me to see all of these young swimmers get better.”