BY RAIN DERLIN
The girls swim team decisively won the GMC title on Thursday in North Brunswick, earning 674.5 points by taking first-place in six races and earning points up and down the roster.. The next highest team total was St. Thomas Aquinas’s 386.
Senior Lia Vendel led the team with 48 points after four victories. Vendel said, “I couldn’t be happier. This being the last year representing Old Bridge I made history.”
Junior Ashley Chui contributed 44 points for the team by winning the 100M butterfly, finishing third in the 50M freestyle, and contributing to key relay races. Concerning the team’s score, Chui shared, “I was surprised by how far ahead we were in terms of points.”
A high point of the meet was Vendel setting a new GMC record for the 100M breaststroke with her 1:04.06 finish. “I was so happy and so proud that everything was paying off after all the hard work I’ve been putting in,” said Vendel, who has swum on the team since her freshman year.
“Everyone tried to swim for themselves and the team,” said Chui, highlighting that the win is team effort. “My favorite aspect is being able to watch other people swim and support each other.”
Vendel also stressed the importance of everyone on the team making a contribution. “From swimmers who win their events and score the big points to the swimmers who score lower places but still earn us points, we collectively bring big wins. I am beyond proud of all the girls and how each one of them did something on the team.”
Senior swimmer Lili Shay agrees about the importance of team work on the squad. “We have team breakfasts, pasta parties, and go to dinner together after every meet. It’s nice knowing you have teammates that will always have your back.”
Of course, being a close-knit team doesn’t win championships alone. Shay gives a lot of credit to coaches Weiss and Dabrio. “Without them, we wouldn’t work hard at our practices and dominate at meets.”
The swimmers themselves train and practice year-round to achieve these high levels of success. Vendel said, “I show up to practice every day and work very hard in the pool. I also weight-lift outside of the pool to gain muscle.”
Between the relationships they have built and the success they have found in the pool, this team is something special. Senior Melissa Neglio said, “I have been on swim teams my whole life, but there is nothing like the Old Bridge High School swim team.”
Posted on 2/4/22
Photos by Lors Photography