By Bob Nuse
Will Murray loves being a part of the Princeton High boys’ swim team.
And make no mistake about it, the Little Tigers love having Murray as part of the team.
“We bond really well as a team,” said Murray, a sophomore who won the 100 butterfly and was second in the 200 individual medley to help Princeton to a 95-75 victory over Steinert on Tuesday. “Last year I was a freshman and I joined the team just for something extra to do after school. There were something like 17 or 18 seniors and they saw me in the hall and would say, ‘It’s Will from swim.’ I just immediately felt like a part of the team.”
Murray had a solid freshman season and has become an even bigger part of the team this year. His win in the fly helped break open a close meet, while his strong anchor leg in the 200 free relay sealed the win.
“I love having him as a part of the team,” Princeton coach Carly Misiewicz said. “He’s someone that just really brings a positive energy and he’s another versatile swimmer. I could use him in the 50, the IM, to 200 free, the fly, the 100 free, really just about anything. And he never has anything bad to say about it. He always wants to do what is best for the team. Knowing that I could put him almost anywhere is a great thing to have.
“He is someone who does not give up. He’ll keep fighting and fighting. When he finished he came out to me and said his finish was bad. It wasn’t the greatest finish but he still did what he had to do to get him in the end.”
Princeton improved to 3-0 with the victory over Steinert. In addition to the victory from Murray, the Little Tigers also picked up a pair of individual triumphs from Logan Eastburn in the 50 free and 100 free, as well as victories from Owen Tennent in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke.
“I knew that they had a couple really good swimmers,” Misiewicz said of Steinert. “Going into it the guys knew that it was going to be a tough meet. We lost a couple of our guys to Holiday Classic tapers. For us it is what can we do the day of? We can’t worry about who is healthy and who is not or who is tired. Just get in and do your best and beat the person next to you. That’s what I always tell them.
“I talked to them at the break and once that 100 fly came and we went 1-2-4 that helped us a lot. It set the tone from that point out.”
Princeton led 34-21 after the 50 free. The lead grew to 45-26 after a strong 100 fly, but Steinert crept back into it and trailed just 60-50 after the 500 free. Princeton pulling out the win in the 200 free relay helped open the lead right back up.
“I took one breath in the middle of the pool,” Murray said of the relay. “I saw him right there and thought this was coming right down to the end. I put my head down and just kept swimming. I don’t know how much we won by but it was way too close for comfort.
“As soon as it was over everyone was smiling and cheering. It’s just the best feeling in the world to know that everyone was rooting for me.”
Having the support of his teammates is one of the things Murray loves the most about swimming for Princeton High. He’ll look to continue to improve as the season goes on and continue to contribute.
“Personally, I hope I can get a lot better,” Murray said. “I feel like I am doing the same times I was doing last year and I am hoping that I can improve. With this team you just always want to get better. The coaches are great and they want to motivate us to win. The kids on the team motivate me, personally. I’ve made a lot of friends on this team. I see them in the hall and they are people I didn’t know before this season. We’re just always trying to make each other better.”
Princeton had opened the season with victories over Ewing and Hightstown before the decision over Steinert. The Little Tigers were scheduled to be the host to West Windsor-Plainsboro South on Thursday and will be the host to Robbinsville on Tuesday.