MKA Girls Swimming: A Small but Mighty Group
On January 20, 2020, 17 high school swim teams competed in the Super Essex Conference Swim Championship at NJIT, Seton Hall Prep (SHP) boys and Montclair High School (MHS) girls emerging as victors. This meet is typically predictable for the boys as SHP has been taking home the 1st place trophy for decades. This year proved more exciting than most, however, as MHS gave SHP a run for its money (scoring 268.5 to SHP’s 289).
On the girls side where the teams are more equal, this meet is consistently exciting with the 1st place spot always up for grabs. This year was no different, MHS handily beating all the other teams for the first time since 2009.
Enter MKA girls, a group of 6 swimmers who had won only one dual meet during the season and whose sole goal was to show up, swim hard and improve their last place finish (30 points) from 2019. They - the smallest group there - stood on the side, completely unnoticed, blending in, not the subject of any photograph or recipient of any accolade. It didn’t matter. In a qualifying meet that awards the top 12 swimmers of each event team points (majority of swimmers earn no points), each and every MKA girl stepped up, swam their personal best times and scored points for the team, coming in 6th place overall (120 points), quite a jump from 2019. No other team produced this percentage of scorers.
Natalia Eichmann (senior) finished 5th in both the 50 free (25.79) and 500 free (5:28.82), earning 20 points, an especially amazing feat considering she does not train in the off season and went head to head with girls who spend 12 to 20 hours per week doing so. Arianna Jobst (senior), Bella Masella and Lindsay Driever, all three-sport athletes, relied upon their competitive spirit to edge out the next fastest swimmers, at least one an All-County standout. Jobst finished 11th in the 100 back (1:06.80) and 12th in the 50 free (27.35), earning 3 points. Masella (sophomore) finished 5th in the 100 fly (1:04.12), earning 10 points. Driever (freshman) finished 4th in the 200 free (2:03.25) and 6th in the 500 free (5:29.93), earning 20 points. Mia Forysiak (sophomore), a reliable swimmer who consistently brings her A game to meets, scored 6th in the 200 free (2:04.73) and 7th in the 500 free (5:33.30), earning 16 points. Ella Wheeler (freshman), just off an injury and obviously not hindered by the break, scored 10th in the 200 free (2:06.98) and 11th in the 500 free (5:45.88), earning 10 points. The 200 medley relay team of Jobst, Masella, Driever and Eichmann placed 9th overall, earning 8 points. The 200 free relay team of Masella, Jobst, Forysiak and Wheeler placed 7th overall, earning 14 points. The 400 free relay team of Forysiak, Driever, Wheeler and Eichmann placed third overall, earning 24 points.
Kudos girls. People noticed.