Mainland impressive in swimming wins over Vineland
LINWOOD — Some of the best swimming in South Jersey is happening at Mainland Regional High School, as the Vineland boys and girls teams had the misfortune of finding out on Wednesday afternoon.
The Mustangs' boys squad dominated the Fighting Clan, winning 139-31, while the Mainland girls won their third straight meet after a season-opening loss to Ocean City, topping Vineland 97-73 behind some strong efforts from Hadley Egan, Chloe Fuetterer and Valerie Spiers.
The Vineland girls finished first in six of the 11 events, but Mainland (3-1) showed its depth by racking up points with second- and third-place finishes. The Mustangs also won the 200 medley relay and scored second- and third-place finishes in the 200 and 400 free relays.
"I've been pleasantly surprised. We're a young team and pretty inexperienced. We just tried to focus on today to see if we could go into the (holiday) break feeling good about ourselves. We didn't really swim crazy fast today, but fast enough," said Mainland girls coach Mike Schiavo. "Every meet is different. We're trying to find different ways to challenge them and we're playing around with the relay orders to see who can handle the pressure. We're a young group and I'm just trying to find ways to build them up."
Schiavo said he has been very impressed with Egan, a swimmer who doesn't have a ton of experience but who has made strides the past two years to become somebody the Mustangs can count on to score big points.
"Hadley Egan has come so far in a couple of years. She's just doing such an awesome job and taking on a lot of responsibility. She's starting to understand what she's got in her and is working really hard in practice. She's also been swimming through some pain," Schiavo said. "Hadley and Danielle Schuster, who is a freshman, got third in the IM and second in the 400 free. She's just so fun to watch. She doesn't know how to quit. She told me that after the IM she couldn't feel her legs, but then she goes out and gets second in the 400 free. Little things like that are big for us. Hopefully they'll realize this was a good win, but we still have a lot of work to do."
Egan also showed her versatility by winning the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, while also teaming up with Fuetterer, Georgia Ridgeway and Adrianna DiVentura to capture first place in the 200 medley relay. Jenna Carastro and Giavanna Lupi had big days for Vineland, as each won a pair of individual events. Carastro took first in the 200 IM and 100 butterfly, while Lupi touched the wall first in 100 and 200 freestyle events.
On the boys side, it was all Mainland, as the Mustangs swept first place in all 11 events. Senior Brian McGroarty — who recently signed a letter of intent to swim at LSU next year — took first in the 200 free and 100 butterfly and also was a part of two winning relay teams.
Freshman sensation Destin Lasco easily won the 200 IM as well as the 100 backstroke, while Justin Liu captured the 50 and 100 freestyle events.
"We're just trying to have the best swims we can. We know we're training hard, we go into each meet just thinking that we have to swim faster than we did the last meet, and hopefully it works out that way," McGroarty said.
The Mustangs have been absolutely hammering the competition so far, jumping out to a 5-0 start — and none of the meets were even remotely close. McGroarty said the team just has to stay focused as the grind of January and February approaches.
"It's going how we expected. We had a lot of adrenaline coming out (today) and we just have to keep that going," he said. "We just have to work on getting some yardage in and getting our endurance and technique up. The freshmen are fitting in nicely. They are solid swimmers who are really contributing."
Contact Dave O'Sullivan: firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @GDsullysays