DEPTFORD TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Bridgewater-Raritan High School boys varsity swim team is headed to the NJSIAA Public A Tournament finals after defeating Passaic Tech, 126-44, in the semifinals Wednesday.
The team will face Cherry Hill East in the finals Sunday at The College of New Jersey.
"Coming into this year, the boys have been focused on getting back to the state championship," said coach Sean Foley. "They have worked hard to earn the top seed and a shot at winning a title. To come so close last year has really been a great motivating factor leading into this year."
In the semifinals, BRHS's Carter Weiland led the team with wins in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100 free, and was also part of the first-place winning 200 free relay team with Charles Hewitt Chris Ruhnke and Sean Doran, and the first-place winning 400 free relay team with Mark Rydberg, Hewitt and Doran.
In addition, Ruhnke, Doran, Trent Russano and Ryan Bugianesi had a win in the 200 medley relay, and Bugianesi took the win in the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly. Ruhnke also placed first in the 50 free and the 100 breaststroke.
BRHS's Michael Man took the win in the 500 freestyle, and Russano won the 100 backstroke.
Sunday will mark the team's attempt at its first state title since winning in 2011. They will face defending champion Cherry Hill East.
As they prepare, Foley said, the advice he is giving the swimmers is no different than the advice he has been giving all year.
"We have preached all year that we are a Band of Brothers, and we all need to go out there and beat the guy next to you for your brother, and leave nothing back, to empty the tank so to speak," he said.
BRHS goes into the finals with a 11-1 record on the season.
Foley said some of the standout moments of the year have been the team's win over CBA for the first time in the program's history, as well as a defeat of rival Westfield in the state sectionals.
Foley said it is always a privilege and honor to coach the team.
"As in almost every year, it is a privilege and honor to be able to help a great bunch of young men achieve success, and to realize dreams is the reason I am coach," he said.