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Varsity Swim Update

Luke Bernstein and Nick Looney, Staff Writer

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Well over halfway through the season, the Oratory Prep Swim Team is firing on all cylinders with an overall record of 5-3. In two months of meets, the team has competed against many excellent as well as a few sub-par teams leading to this.  

The first week of the season always begins with matchups against two very different calibers of opponents. OP’s first meet was against Westfield, who are consistently highly ranked in the state. While Oratory did not win by any stretch of the imagination, (the final score being 68-102) the team did succeed in blowing their old times out of the water and post an impressive score. Unsurprisingly, the “crack team” of Meisner, Herrighty, Elmer, and Heffernan won many events. Meisner took the 200 and 500 free events with a time of 5:17.08 in the long distance 500. Herrighty’s 1:06.12 won the 100 breaststroke, Elmer took the 100 backstroke with an astounding 59.81, and Heffernan dominated the 100 butterfly with a 55.55.

After a tough loss to Westfield, the Elizabeth meet served as an opportunity to clear our heads and get back on track, with Elizabeth being a historically much easier opponent. Oratory managed to win every single race, save for the 500 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay. Freshmen James Slowinski and Patrick Herrighty had their first opportunity to score points, with James being on the winning team of the 200 freestyle relay, and Herrighty winning the individual 200 freestyle with a 2:08.85. The meet closed with a final score of a whopping 115 to 55 in favor of Oratory.

The last meet before Christmas break was the New Providence meet, one of Oratory’s biggest sports rivals. This meet was even more important considering the drama surrounding the tough loss at the New Prov meet the year before, and the fact that the team “powerpointed” (recorded times with the intent of using them for placing in the state tournament) stakes were high. Shockingly, Oratory won every event besides the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke, which were both won by New Providence sophomore John Goceljack. MVP much? Some of the more astounding swims included Aidan Herrighty’s blazing fast 50 free with a time of 23.37, and a major upset in the 200 freestyle relay in which the B relay, consisting of Jake Nowacki, Botond Rice, Michael Cantaluppi, and James Slowinski, finished first after the A relay’s Sam Ilagen suffered a cramp that caused him to fall way behind, and New Providence’s A relay’s slowing in pace that can only be attributed to fatigue. The B relay finished with a time of 1:49.07. Oratory finally beat rival New Prov with a final score of 104-66 in favor of the Rams.

Following the Christmas break, the OP swim team was back in action with a swim meet against Plainfield. OP won every single event at this competition, with Ian Ellmer, Aidan Herrighty, Patrick Heffernan, and Samuel Ilagan starting the day by winning the 200 Medley Relay. Ellmer was then victorious in the 200 Freestyle and 100 Butterfly. Aidan Herrighty picked up another two wins, with a victory in the 200 IM and a tie in the 100 Freestyle with Plainfield’s Sincere Nelae. Third relay member Patrick Hefferan also had two individual wins, with victories in the 50 Freestyle and the 100 Breaststroke. Rounding out the 1st places finishes was a win by Patrick Herrighty in the 500 Free and by Nick Kardis in the 100 Back. In the last event of the meet, another win was garnered by the 400 Freestyle Relay team of Patrick Herrighty, Ian Ellmer, Patrick Heffernan, and Luke Bernstein. The final score of this meet was 126-43.

After this great success, the OP swim team had a bit of a stumble in their only “home” meet of the season against Summit in their practice pool, the Summit YMCA. Only one OP swimmer won an event at this meet, with Patrick Heffernan pulling in a victory in the 100 Butterfly with a 54.72. Even with this rather unfortunate result, the team still had a positive record, sitting with 4 wins and three losses following this competition.

After this unfortunate showing, the OP swim team looked for a rebound against Union High School. This was a great success with Oratory winning easily by a score of 123-43. This meet was almost an exact replica of the Plainfield meet with OP winning every event, except the 50 and 100 Freestyle. This meet featured the standard 200 Medley Relay team of Ian Ellmer, Aidan Herrighty, Patrick Heffernan, and Andrew Meisner who easily won this first event. Herrighty went on to win two more individual events at this meet by destroying the 200 Freestyle and 100 Breaststroke. Heffernan also had two individual successes with victories in the 200 IM and 100 Butterfly. Another relay member, Ian Ellmer had a victory in the 100 Backstroke. Also racking in victories at this meet was Luke Bernstein in the 500 free, and two victories from Union swimmer Kai Legband. OP swam unopposed in the final event of the meet, the 400 Freestyle Relay, where James Slowinski, Luke Bernstein, Chase Polito, and Patrick Hefferan secured another victory. This gave Oratory a much-needed boost heading into the Union County Championships just a few days afterward.

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