Viking boys climb to .500 in swimming

By: Carolyn M. Hartko
   The South Brunswick High School boys’ swim team has reached to .500 mark for the season thanks to a 134-36 victory in a co-ed meet against Sayreville at home last Friday. South Brunswick overwhelmed the Bombers, winning all 11 events.
   In a co-ed meet, boys and girls go head to head in individual races, and relay teams are mixed. So, although the Lady Vikings certainly contributed to the win, it is the Viking boys’ squad that improved to 4-4. And when coach John Harding attributed the success to a total team effort, what that really meant this time around was that he got a united effort from both squads.
   "Everyone got involved for the most part, the girls and the guys," Harding said. "Not every single person swam, because we just have too big a team to do that in a co-ed meet. But everyone that swam contributed. Even all the relays – A, B, and C teams – all contributed at one point or another."
   This was also a meet where some of the younger swimmers got a chance to shine. For example, sophomore Casey Eriksen won the 100 breaststroke, and classmate Jim Gaylord won the 100 freestyle.
   "Two other sophomores – Jamie Ruzycki and John Olsen – have made great strides from last year," Harding said. "They’re really contributing to the scoring this year. And Jim Gaylord has probably been one of the biggest surprises of the season. He’s dropped 10 seconds in the 100 free and he’s really become a major contributor in the 100 and 200 free. When you go from a 1:10 to a minute (in the 100), that’s a pretty big deal. It’s a whole different level."
   Junior Brandon Lee doubled, winning the 50 free sprint, and the 100 fly. The other individual firsts went to Vikings Brett Niebanck (200 free), Jon Cusack (200 individual medley), Chrissie Tupe (500 free) and Jenn Kamm (100 back stroke).
   Sophomores Stephanie Lau, Caroline Tiffany and Ben Lee swam well in their events. Newcomers who made a splash included freshmen Travis Wardlaw (500 free) and Stephanie Bartolotta.
   The Vikings have just two meets left on the regular schedule before they cap off the season with the Greater Middlesex Conference Championships. Cranford visits tomorrow (Friday), and Old Bridge will be in town the following Friday.
   SPLASHES: Premier Lady Viking swimmer Amy Wolf has been out sick for a week. Harding was hoping to have her back for the Cranford meet. Wolf, a junior, is the only Viking so far who has qualified for state competition at the end of the season. She’s made the cut in both the 200 IM and the breaststroke.