PERTH AMBOY, NJ - The story of the Greater Middlesex Conference Girls Swimming Championships was of course East Brunswick High School winning a fourth consecutive title with 630 points. JP Stevens High School was second with 441 while Metuchen High School claimed third with 365 points. Spotswood High School is not listed among the schools competing in the event, which includes 16 teams from high schools in Middlesex County. The reason is simple. Spotswood does not have an official swim team. However, the Chargers did send four swimmers to the meet held on January 27 at the Raritan Bay YMCA.
Even though Spotswood High School does not have a swim team that competes during the winter season, the school is still able to send swimmers to participate in individual events at the annual GMC Tournament. This year four girls were very proud to represent Spotswood High School in the water. Courtney Buhl, Gabrielle Dellaglio, Erin Drebych and Hannah White were the Charger swimmers in the yearly January Championship. For Buhl, it was her fourth year at the championships. It was the first for freshmen, Dellaglio, Drebych and White. The girls were accompanied by Spotswood High School math teacher, Amy Mikulak. Normally, Alyson Collins, an art teacher at SHS, is the coach for the girls. However, this year Collins was unable to attend the meet.
Buhl competed in the 100 Freestyle as well as the 100 Backstroke. The senior was the fourth seed in the freestyle event and the sixth for the backstroke. Dellaglio swam the 200 Individual Medley and the 100 Backstroke. Drebych swam the 100 Freestyle and the 100 Backstroke while White competed in the 50 Freestyle and the 100 Backstroke. Since the swimmers are swimming the events as independents, their times in the meet are typically shown at the bottom of the field in each race. However, all four competitors did indeed make a splash in the water, swimming personal bests.
While the girls may not have an official swim team to compete for at Spotswood High School, all four swimmers are members of competitive travel teams and spend a large majority of their time in the pool. Buhl spent eight years swimming for the Raritan Valley Riptide in East Brunswick. She's swan the past two years for the Metuchen-Edison YMCA Manta Rays. Dellaglio, Drebych and White all swim for the Riptide. Both the Riptide and Manta Rays have year-round competitive swim teams that participate in national swim events.
"I was nervous because it was a whole different crowd of people and most of them I've never swam against before," Dellaglio said of her first experience swimming at the GMC Championship. "Spotswood doesn't have a team so I didn't know what to expect. Seeing some of my friends from my club team made the experience so much more fun and exciting. Our summer coach Carrieann Egan-Ragavas, who coaches NBTHS Raiders was there and she spoke to us about what to expect. Coach Carrieanne is the reason I have a love of swimming. She was my first swim coach for the Brookside Swim Club. It was great having her support at the GMCs. It's disappointing Spotswood doesn't have a swim team but I'm glad I will be able to participate in the GMCs and represent the school."
Even though Spotswood High School doesn't officially have a swim team, competing in individual events such as the GMC Tournament allows the swimmers to still get exposure and recognition for their accomplishments in the water. At the 2015 GMC Championship, former Charger Katie Mulcahy claimed second in both the 200 Individual Medley and 500 Freestyle. Mulcahy received a swimming scholarship from Wagner College in New York last fall. Currently, the 2016 graduate of Spotswood High school is a freshman at Wagner and a member of the Seahawks' swim team.
On the boys side, Saint Joseph High School claimed victory with a considerable margin over second place East Brunswick High School. The Falcons earned 648 points in the pool while the Bears put up 511. Another Riptide swimmer made his own splash for St. Joe's. Milltown native, Andrew Thompson finished first in the 200 Individual Medley and third in the 500 Freestyle. The Falcons' championship swim team also includes two other Milltown swimmers, CJ Talerico and Trent Tighelaar, as well as Tyler Catania. Catania is from Spotswood.