Time off seems to help rested Jaguars team

BY MIKE WHITE Staff Writer

Staff Writer

JACKSON — Jackson High school boys swimming coach John Pelano decided to use a different training method before his squad competed in last weekend’s Ocean County Championships.

Pelano gave his troops more rest than he would have in the past prior to a big meet. The time off appears to have agreed with the Jaguars. All the swimmers who partook in the event posted at least one personal-best time, Pelano said.

“We mixed it up a bit and tapered off before this meet a little bit,” Pelano said. “We had a number of real solid performances by the guys. Any time you go into a meet of this caliber and you post personal-best times, it is a success, no matter where you place as a team. We concentrate and improving technique and lowering times. I think we are accomplishing those goals.”

Danny Murphy led the Jags by finishing third in the 100 butterfly and fourth in the 200 individual medley, respectively. Murphy posted a time of 54.94 seconds in the fly and finished the IM in a time of 2:08.65.

“He swam two great races,” Pelano said. “The finish in the 100 fly was unbelievable. Any one of those guys in the top three could have won that race. It was one of the most exciting races of the event. They all finished within a half-second of each other.”

In addition, Murphy competed in both the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay events. Murphy teamed with Taylor Brink, Eric Skurka and Ryan Van Woeart to finish third in the 200 medley relay event in a season-best time of 1:49.28.

The same quartet combined to place sixth in the 400 free relay with a time of 3:37.97. That time was two seconds faster than the squad’s previous best.

“We really shaved time off both events,” Pelano said. “The guys swam unbelievably. It is really exciting to see a team like that work so hard and then lower the time. We were extremely satisfied with those swims. I feel by the end of the season, we might be able to lower the times even more. We just need to keep focused and working hard.”

Van Woeart sliced five seconds off his best time ever in the 200 free and one second off his 100 backstroke. Van Woeart swam a 2:00 in the 200 and a 1:02.44 in the backstroke.

“He’s been improving those times steadily all season,” Pelano said. “His times in this meet were no surprise. We knew they were coming.”

Jackson had a couple of underclassmen qualify for the Shore Conference meet scheduled for Feb. 3. Sophomore Chris Spall swam a personal-best time of 2:33.14 in the 200 IM, and freshman Alex Carpenter finished the 100 fly in 1:10.50.

“It’s nice to see all the hard work is paying off,” Pelano said. “This will be great experience for both guys.”

Senior Nick Cavallo cut 3.5 seconds off his time in the 100 butterfly (1:02.17) and two seconds off his best time in the 100 breast (1:13.97).

The Jags collected a total of 150 points to finish ninth overall at the event held at the Ocean County YMCA.

“I’m really proud of the way we performed at this meet,” Pelano said. “It was a total team effort. Sure, we would have liked to have finished a little better as a team, but I still consider this meet a huge success. We got guys swimming hard and cutting times, and setting new personal-best times. As a coach, I can’t ask them for more than that.”