MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn boys swimming team is a perennially impressive program, but this year there seemed to be a void going into the season. Many believed the graduation of the speedy Chris Balbo would be a fatal blow to the Millers’ 2016-2017 campaign.
The naysayers were quickly silenced as the Millers soared to an 11-3 record, with their only blemishes coming from Seton Hall Prep, Morristown, and Scotch Plains-Fanwood in the third round of the state tournament. Every Millburn swimmer had to decrease their times to compensate for the loss of Balbo, but the team couldn't have accomplished what they did without junior Evan Ng.
Ng carried the heavy workload of the 200 freestyle (1:55.55), 500 freestyle (4:55.50), 200 individual medley (2:05.87), 100 butterfly, during championship meets, and helping in the 400 freestyle relay (3:39.41), and the 200 medley relay (1:41.75). Ng inherited the 200 IM from Balbo this year; he hopes this race will make him a more well-rounded swimmer.
Swimming in Balbo’s shadow for the first few years of his high school career, Ng exploded into stardom simply by staying his course. “I really didn't change much,” said Ng. “I mean, my club team has helped me get better for the high school team. I have just been doing the same thing, and my times just start to get better every year.”
Despite his impressive season, Ng believes he is capable of faster times. “This year has been a tough ride for me,” said Ng. “Between academic stuff, music stuff, it’s tough to get in the pool more, even though I’m trying to push for that.”
When he is not in the pool, Ng balances his time between academics and music. A hard-working student, Ng juggles four honors classes at Millburn High School and he anchors the flute section of the MHS Wind Ensemble.
In addition to the normal pressures of junior year, Ng also spent this season trying to impress scouts. The 20th ranked University of Minnesota, among other schools, have approached Ng. However, as made evident through his times, Ng has used the attention as motivation. The Miller coaches encourage him to “bang out times” then talk to schools.
Ng will get the chance to lead his Millers to a deep run in the state tournament in his Senior season. He believes his performance will improve if his time management does. “I have to figure out a way to manage my time better between music, school, and swimming. I really want to get in the pool more next year.”
An improved Evan Ng may be a frightening thought to fathom for opposing schools. Ng and the rest of the swimming squad, including Ethan Muhlon, Henry Chen, Eric Wang, Teddy Maguire, Justin Mon, and more are sure to impress next year as they chase the state title.