Cole emerges as great comeback story


By: John E. Powers
   Peter Cole has been a little overlooked in the scheme of the talented and deep Hillsborough High School boys’ swimming team.
   For the most part, the senior has been a complimentary part to outstanding teams the past two years. Last season, it was graduated star Frank Ippolito, junior Pat Kuehne and a torrid late season surge by senior James VanBiervliet that took the forefront as Hillsborough won Somerset County, Skyland Conference and Public A state titles.
   This year, Cole has been just as important a part, though perhaps not as heralded as some of his better-known teammates.
   This past Saturday, Cole played a big part in helping Hillsborough take second in the Somerset County Championships behind Bridgewater-Raritan. He and relay mates VanBiervliet, Kuehne and Sean Downey set a county relay record in the 200 medley by going 1:50.91. Cole went 30.82 in the breaststroke. He also placed fifth in the individual breaststroke race in a time of 1:10.58 and was ninth in the 50-yard freestyle with a 26.22.
   He is this week’s Hillsborough Beacon Athlete of the Week.
   Cole missed virtually his entire sophomore year because of a heart irregularity that has since cleared up. He got back into competition last year and has been a key component in his team’s success. He qualified for the Meet of Champions in the breaststroke last year and also as a member of the medley relay team.
   "He’s battled back," Hillsborough coach Todd Sudol said. "He hasn’t hit his peak this year."
   Cole said there was some talk before the medley relay – the first event of the county meet – about a possible run at a record.
   "We really wanted All-American status, which means you are one of the best teams in the country," said Cole, who would like to continue swimming in college next year. "One of the parents yelled out that we had a chance."
   Of the most importance was winning the race.
   "During my turn I took a peek and I was really catching up to the Pingry kid – we were three seconds behind there," he said.
   The Raiders wound up making All-America honorable mention status and now have the fourth-fastest time for the event in the state. Pingry, which had its 2005 county record of 1:53.02 eclipsed, finished second in 1:51.63.