Girls swimming: Haddonfield claims Public C title and ends campaign with perfect record
For the first time in program history, the Haddonfield women’s swim team finished their season with an unbeaten record. Ranked No. 5 in NJ.com’s Top 20, the Bulldogs capped off the winter with a Public C championship over Mountain Lakes in a 101-69 effort Sunday at Deptford.
“It’s insane. The adrenaline was so high for all of us today and it’s so exciting to win,” said Haddonfield junior Alyssa McHale.
The Bulldogs have been strong all season, knocking out ranked opponents in Cherry Hill East, Moorestown, Cherokee and Shawnee to prepare for a hungry Mountain Lakes team.
“We’re going to swim against the best teams in the state over the course of the year and I think they’ll learn from that. It absolutely helps them prepare for the February fixtures,” Haddonfield head coach Bob Querubin said.
McHale helped the Bulldogs to seven first-place finishes, breaking the school record in the 50 freestyle with a clip of 23.51 to give his team an eight-point lead.
“Alyssa gets this record to cap off how awesome this season has been for everyone. She’s so into it and will do anything we ask of her. You want someone like her to get a school record,” Querubin said. .
“I was definitely going. I’m so glad I got it, it’s hard to put it into words,” McHale added.
Katharine Skelly followed it up quickly with a timestamp of 52.84 in the 100 freestyle for the victory, and the Bulldogs took a 53-41 lead to build some breathing room after a close fight outside the gate.
“I felt really good. I’m happy to have come close to my personal best in an important event. It was a tight game at the start and it was exciting to see us take a bigger lead,” Skelly said.
Senior Sydney Mullin put in a terrific performance in her last double meet, taking wins in the 200 freestyle (1:52.7) and 500 freestyle (4:52.31). She was also part of two winning stints in the 200 FR (1:39.08) and 400 FR (3:37.25).
She was joined by Molly McDonnell, Skelly and McHale in the 200 freestyle relay. Maria Jellig, Skelly and McHale were the other three swimmers in the 400 FR.
Junior Lilliana Kuball recorded a victory in the 100 breaststroke in 1:06.17.
For Mountain Lakes (11-2-1), Lily Hann notched two individual wins in the 200 individual medley (2:06.45) and 100 butterfly (54.41).
“Lily is amazing. She’s nailed it, I bet on her every time. She’s the toughest kid I’ve ever coached,” Mountain Lakes head coach Dave Leshnower said.
Lorelai Page also picked up a victory, completing the 100 backstroke in 57.34. The Lakers clinched a stint in the 200 MR behind Mira Marino, Ella DiScala, Hann and Page.
Mountain Lakes reached that point by defeating Ramsey, Indian Hills and Rumson-Fair Haven in the playoffs.
“The journey began four years ago. We have a good group of girls and it’s hard not to want to win a state championship with them,” Leshnower said.
“Bobby and his coaches, I love these guys. I’ve known them for a long time, they gave me a figurine before the game. It’s really cool to see two class teams getting into it. Lots of respect to them.”
Top seed Haddonfield (13-0) ended their celebration in the water, including the coaches.
“It’s been about 20 years since I’ve been in the pool. It’s so exciting and relieving. To be part of this race is just phenomenal,” Querubin said.
“Without the technical staff, this season means nothing. They were very helpful and did a great job.
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PJ Potter can be contacted at [email protected].