MIDDLETOWN, NJ:  In the world of sports, a coach is seemingly always on the lookout for an athlete on their team who is going to ‘step up’, take the reign’s and help lead their teammates to victory.

   This season for the Middletown South High School girl’s swimming program, senior captains Isabella Destounis, Victoria Ireland, Paige Larson and Caroline McGann have stepped up, not only athletically, but as leaders and most importantly academically as well.

   “These four girls were selected as co-captains of the Middletown South swim team because of their dedication to the sport, enthusiasm and the way in which they lead others by setting a strong example with their effort and intensity,’’ Middletown South head coach Denise Skinner said. “Each one responds to the call of leadership. Their thoughtful remarks and comments are well-received by the team. Academically, the girls have above average GPA’s and are members of various Honor Societies.’’ 

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    Captains on the roster have had record setting careers for the Eagles.

   “Victoria will be going to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill to swim,’’ Skinner said. “During her time on the team she has set school records in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke. She also holds a meet record in the 100 breaststroke at Monmouth County Championships. This season she placed first in the 100 fly at Monmouth County Championships. 

   “Caroline will be swimming at Bucknell University. She holds school records in the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay. Caroline was selected for the Complete Athlete Award.’’ 

   Coach Skinner is continually impressed not only with the ways in which the four captains have showed progress in their chosen events, but with their strong and commendable interactions with their fellow student athletes as well.

   “I see improvement every day with each athlete,’’ Skinner said. “As the season progresses, so do the times. The girls are getting faster and improving upon their skills. Camaraderie strengthens as the season goes on as well. It is true that the girls distinguished themselves by personal hard work, but they also earned much respect for their demonstrated ability to foster growth in their younger teammates. At the high school level it takes much courage to lead and each one possesses such courage.

   “Caroline, Victoria, Isabella and Paige are outstanding leaders, swimmers, teammates, friends, competitors, and overall people of character, integrity, dedication, attention to detail and hard work. They are always willing to do whatever is necessary to be the best they can be and whatever is important for the good of the team.’’ 

    Middletown South is scheduled to compete at the Shore Conference Championships on January 30 at the Rutgers University Sonny Werblin Recreation Center, Busch Campus.

   “All of the 46 girls that are currently on the team have contributed significantly to the team's successful season,’’ Skinner said. “Over the last four years, our team has made tremendous strides and earned significant accomplishments. We won a Shore Conference title two years ago which was the first time in our school's history since 1995 and placed second last year.

  “We also won three Monmouth County Championship titles and earned second place this year- a loss that was only by 6.5 points. Our season is still in full effect, so we look forward to what else it will bring.’’