CLIFTON, NJ - The Thursday night girls swim meet between Mount Saint Dominic Academy and Columbia High School was tied at 78-all heading into the final event of the night--the 400-meters freestyle relay. Columbia then won with a time of 3:50.75, while the MSDA quartet finished at 3:51.21, leading to a final score of, 88-82, on Jan. 14, at the Clifton Boys and Girls Club.
That outcome pushed the Lady Cougars to 10-0 overall and 6-0 in Super Essex Conference contests, while the Lady Sea Lions fell to 4-4 on the year and 3-4 in the league loop.
While Columbia High School will go into the Essex County/SEC championships meet undefeated, Columbia must still face Montclair High School (5-1) and Millburn High School (5-2-1, 4-2-1), as well as West Orange (3-3, 2-3), before the battle for the regular season title is over.
The Essex/SEC championships clash is slated to start on the morning of MLK Day, Monday, Jan. 18, and, for the third straight year, will be held at the Raritan Bay Area YMCA in Perth Amboy.
Among the standout Lady Sea Lions during Thursday night's contest against Columbia, were the four members of the 200-yards medley relay team, a unit which opened the event by turning in a first place time of 1:56.26--the best so far this season for Andrea Galea, a senior from West Orange who swam the backstroke leg; Julinna Bender, a ninth-grader from South Orange who did the breaststroke; Fiona Palumbo, a sophomore from Morris Plains who swam butterfly; and Tess Morrissey, a ninth-grader from West Caldwell who anchored that effort with the freestyle portion.
In addition, the Mount won five of the eight individual events, as Galea won both the 50 free at :25.27, a personal best, and the 100 back (1:00.78, also a personal best); Bender finished first in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.57, a personal best by over two seconds); Palumbo won the 100 'fly (1:05.28, a PB); and Morrissey touched first in the 100 free, where she turned in a time of :57.19, also a personal best effort; while Kaitlyn Ianiro, a senior from West Orange finished second in the 200 free and third in the 100 free; and Ina Gonzales, a junior from Lake Hiawatha ended up second in the 500 free and third in the 200 free.