MONTGOMERY — After watching Montgomery take the top three spots in the 100-yard breaststroke, closing the team title race to a single point, Hillsborough High School girls swim coach Todd Sudol didn’t panic. In fact, he knew all along that his squad would emerge victorious.
“I stand behind my girls 100 percent of the time. We have two strong breaststrokers as well, with Emma Kohlenstein and Megan Bull,” Sudol said. “All they had to do was get some points, stay in the top six in what I thought was one of the most competitive races of the day. It was a smart move to by Montgomery to put its three best breaststrokers in, but I knew with the two we had in the pool we’d be fine.”
Sudol had every right to be confident, especially on a day where his swimmers set four meet records, including a 3:29.50 time in the 400 freestyle relay in the meet’s final race, as Hillsborough edged Montgomery 242-235 for the Somerset County Championship Saturday afternoon.
Senior Lindsay Temple set a pair of individual meet records in the 500 freestyle and 100 backstroke, respectively, and sophomore Julieyanna Parker set the meet record in the 200 freestyle. Both were on the 400 freestyle relay team that finished nearly three seconds ahead of Montgomery.
“I’m very confident in the 400 free relay; I saved my four for the end and I knew that if it came down to that, someone like a senior anchor like Lindsay Temple is not going to get beat. I think that’s what carried us through today: the performance of my seniors,” Sudol said.
Temple and Parker both swam on the 200 medley relay to open the meet, helping Hillsborough get off to a fast start. In the very next race, Parker broke her own record from the 2013 meet, finishing first at 1:52.27. Parker also won the 100 butterfly before leading off the 400 freestyle relay.
“I’m happy that I got to beat my own personal record,” Parker said. “ But I have to say that I’m just really proud of my team as a whole. We really stuck together and we really fought it out.”
For Temple, her pair of individual meet records came in the seventh and ninth races of the day, respectively.
“It was probably one of my goals to break those records,” Temple said. “I was close to the records in dual meets, but I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen or not today. I really wanted those records and I was just happy I went faster than I did last year.”
Montgomery’s Katie King also set a meet record in the 100 breaststroke, leading a 1-2-3 finish to put the pressure on Hillsborough. Michelle and Jenna D’Allegro finished second and third to round out the Montgomery top three. King hit the wall first at 1:04.34, eclipsing the record set by Hillsborough’s Rachel Stoddard in 2013. It was also a school and pool record.
“It was really exciting to win and get the records,” King said. “We wanted to go 1-2-3, more so than the individual win, to make it close with Hillsborough, and we really came together as a team.”
Having set four meet records en route to winning the county championship for the second straight year, Sudol said it was all about seeing the emotion of his squad.
“I can tell you this; we didn’t set out today to break any records. We set out to defend a title and the records came with it,” he said. “As a coach, I just want to see them enjoy it. I want to see them have a good time and have smiles on their faces, whether it’s a best time or they win a meet like this, you just enjoy seeing them happy.”