By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
Princeton High swim coach Carly Misiewicz knows what the value that a swimmer like Dan Barberis can bring to the team.
Barberis, a senior, does not swim with a club team. Yet, once the high school season starts, he is all in with the sport and a big contributor to the Little Tigers’ success.
“The other day when we swam, he was 23.3 (for the 50 free) already, and when we swam Notre Dame (in the season-opening meet), he was also 23.3,” said Misiewicz, whose boys team improved to 2-1 with a 127-41 victory at Nottingham on Tuesday. “So he is definitely going to be a solid sprinter this year. We just have little things like the start and turns that we need to work on with him.
“Dan is someone who comes to practice every day and you tell him something to work on and he really soaks it up and really tries to work on it. He is always asking for that feedback.”
Barberis moved away from his usual sprint events and swam the 200 free in the triumph over Nottingham. He was also part of the winning 200 free relay and 400 free relay. The break from sprinting was a little different, but something he enjoyed.
“Today I tried something new, which is usually a good thing,” Barberis said. “This was a good team-building meet. Normally I do the 50 and the 100 and the two 200 relays. Ever since I started swimming I have never really been good at swimming long distance. I just developed as a sprinter.”
Since Barberis is not a club swimmer he prepares for the season by participating in X-Cel Swimming’s High School Fall Warmup Program. And once the high school season starts he is in the pool with the Little Tigers every day working to get better. He’s also established himself as one of the Princeton team leaders at practice.
“A bunch of swimmers are from clubs,” said Barberis, who in addition to swimming, also enjoys skiing. “Usually at practice, I am saying when we go or what the set is. I enjoy coming back every year and getting it all done. I like being part of the team. We have another good team this year.
“Team-wise, I would really like us to get at least second in the county meet. Personally, I really want to drop time in my 50 and go under 23 seconds.”
The Princeton boys opened the season with a 113-57 loss to Notre Dame, but bounced back to defeat Hightstown, 126-44, and then top Nottingham. In the victory over the Northstars, Calvin Ristad won the 200 free, Mitchell Tam won the 200 individual medley, Will Murray won the 50 free, Vlad Stepanov won the 400 free, Karl Lackner won the 100 backstroke, and Milos Seskar won the 100 breaststroke.
“We saw Notre Dame first and they are strong and very good this year,” Misiewicz said. “But it was a wakeup call for our guys that we could say, look, we have all this potential let’s show everybody what we can do. I’m hoping we can get back on the podium this year at the county meet.”
The Princeton girls also improved to 2-1 on Tuesday, topping Nottingham, 116-54. The Little Tigers opened the season with an impressive 93-77 victory over Notre Dame before falling to Hightstown, 90-80.
“For us, opening up with Notre Dame on the girl’s side and beating Notre Dame was really a big deal,” Misiewicz said. “So that started us off on the right foot. We followed that up with Hightstown and they were runner-up in the county last year and are also a very strong team this year. We were missing a couple of girls. So we just have to get a better idea of who we are and what we have to work with.
“It’s still early in the season and I am still trying to find the best places where I can put people and really maximize everything. We were down by 20 against Hightstown and closed the gap to eight towards the end. So our back half is our strong suit with the 200 free relay, backstroke, breaststroke and 400 free relay.”
In the decision over Nottingham, Nicole Saengtawesin won the 100 butterfly and 400 freestyle, Erica Oake won the 200 IM, and Satya Baliga won the 100 backstroke.
“We have a good mix of club and high school kids.” said Misiewicz, whose teams were scheduled to swim against West Windsor-Plainsboro North on Thursday. “It’s nice to have those standout non-club kids as well.
“Dual meets are great and they tell you a lot. But you might not have everybody on a given day. So what it really comes down to is counties at the end of the season. Our record is what it is. It’s nice to win meets. But we’re really working to be our best at th end of the season.”
By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor