MILLBURN, NJ - It's no secret that the Millburn girls swimming teams reputation for excellence incites fear and reverence throughout the state. Their 10 meet win streak off the block this year is the longest single-season win streak in program history since 2011. The Lady Millers memorable 2016-2017 campaign was led by junior Megan Balbo, who turned in an incredible season.
"Going undefeated for the first ten meets of the season was really special," said Junior Megan Balbo, Millburn's most valuable female swimmer. "It's really great to be part of a team that is like a family outside of the pool, yet is also able to be very successful in the pool."
Balbo led the way with what may be her strongest individual performance in a single year. The freestyle phenom was crowned the county queen in the 200 freestyle and took second in the 500, which ended in a photo finish. Balbo also contributed her services to her team's winning 200 and 400 yard freestyle relays for the second year in a row.
Balbo is not only known for her dominance in freestyle but lends her skills to the medley events. Balbo held the best times on the team in the 200 individual medley (2:13.93), and the 100 breaststroke (1:14.83). Also, Balbo's best 100 butterfly time (1:07.21) ranks second on the team.
"My times have improved from last year," Balbo said. "But more importantly I think I have certainly become more confident in myself, both in the pool and out of the pool, which should allow me to become a stronger swimmer for the future."
There are not many swimmers as talented as Balbo. However, none of her times are God-given. Balbo spends at least 20 hours each week on either dry land or aquatic training. Effectively, Balbo is left with minimal time to keep up with the up-tempo, high demand Millburn High School. "I learned from a young age that time management was very important, and I always find the time to get my work done," she said.
Although Balbo seems to have turned many heads with her individual dominance, the junior is very team oriented.
"Every time I step up on the blocks, I know that I need to do my best for the team," said Balbo. "It is amazing the group of girls that MHS swim team has, and how supportive each and every one of them is of the team, and I can't imagine being a part of a better team. Coach D'Anna always emphasizes that our team is very special and that we are truly a family, and I couldn't agree with him more."