Gov. Livingston Girls Swim Wins Sections Over Red Bank, 97-73


 NEPTUNE, NJ - This was Gov. Livingston girls swim team's time to grab the title that eluded them last year. The No. 1 seeded Lady Highlanders swam past the talented No. 2 seeded Red Bank Regional High School, 97-73, to win the Central C Sectional title on Friday at Neptune Aquatic Center.

Not to be outdone by the Governor Livingston boys team, who clinched their own Central C Sectional title a day ago with a win over Lawrence, the ladies swam fast and furious right till the end. Winning both girls and boys sectional titles is an outstanding fete.

The feeling that today's meet was going to be special started immediately with the A medley relay team of Sarah Montagna, Ashlyn Shallcross, Bailey Gold , and Sarah Polizzi not only touching the pads first but setting a new All-time GL record of 1:54.09.  Also finishing  with a sub two minute swim, were Julia Woo, Jen Collins, Indiana Curtis, and Sena Hur at 1:59.08.  
"It was a great way to start the meet," said Coach David Closs. "I told the girls before the meet started that we have to win relays where we can and we need third places too.  We start off and they win the 200 medley relay in record breaking fashion and our B relay was outstanding.  I've never had a B relay in 12 years of coaching here go under 2 minutes and they went a 1:59 which is unbelievable."   
Aidan Donahue stepped up next with a win in the 200 free in 1:58.98, advancing GL;s lead to 8. Montagna was next up and showed her four stroke class with a win in the 200 IM in 2:18.81. The 50 free saw a rare tie between GL's Curtis and Red Bank's Tara Crilly in a speedy 25.75. Closs was quick to highlight this swim, "Something clicked with Indiana about two months ago and she's been swimming great, she went a 25.7 and tied for first which was unbelievable." 
The trio of Gold (58.79), Shen (1:04.76), and Shannon Sieczka (1:08.02) with a 1/3/5 finish extended GL's lead to 14. 
Red Bank narrowed the margin in the 100 free with a win from standout Maeve Kelly in 56.71, and a close second from sister Claudia Kelly in 56.8, plus a 4th place finish that narrowed their deficit to 6 points.

Next, GL's strong 500 freestyle trio was up for the challenge with Donahue, who already had a first place finish in the 200 free, came through again with a critical victory in 5:21.67. Montagna held on for a hard fought 3rd in 5:37.15 and Collins placed fourth in 5:50.29 --  pushing GL ahead by 12 points.
In the 200 free relay, the foursome of Polizzi, Nicole Biegel, Curtis, and Donahue touched the wall first in 1:44.94 in a shootout with Red Bank's  team. Donahue's anchor leg proved again to be too much - which was truly heroic given the fact she literally just got out of the pool after winning the 500.  Up by 14, with the 100 back and 100 breast the next two events, GL's impending victory was starting to set in.  
Gold, in what was easily the most decisive win of the evening, cruised to her second win of the day in 58.99 and Woo touched out Red Bank's Mairead Kelly in 1:07.87 to 1:08.01 for 3rd.  Next, in the battle of both teams, the talented breaststrokers, with the meet already out of reach, GL's Shallcross and Red Bank's Maeve Kelly fought neck and neck for four lengths of the pool before Shallcross put it away at the end for the win in 1:11.08 to Kelly's 1:12.57.
"Ashlyn had a great meet.  She went a best time in her 200 IM, and won the 100 breaststroke with a dynamite swim," said Closs.  Biegel took 3rd  in 1:14.75 and Collins just behind for 4th in 1:15.75. GL's lead had grown to an insurmountable 22, with one event left.
With the meet now a fait accompli, senior captain Sieczka led-off for the 400 free relay and she did not disappoint with a sub 1:00 leg to start off. Donahue threw down yet another great relay leg followed similarly by Woo. GL's anchor Bailey Gold dove into the water - down by a body length to a very good Red Bank free relay team and Red Bank's star Maeve Kelly. The problem for Red Bank, however, is that Bailey Gold does not like to lose, which is why it rarely ever happens [Gold has yet to be defeated this entire season in either the 100 back or 100 fly] and she proceeded to out swim Kelly and touch her out for a 1:51.49 to 1:51.81 finish. 
Gov. Livingston girls and boys swim team are two wins away from the State Championship.

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