The Red Bank Catholic girls swim team won their eighth consecutive Shore Conference championship on Saturday night at the Ocean County YMCA.
Fans and spectators filled the stands to see the best high school swimmers in the conference compete and witness three broken records in the process.
Red Bank Catholic toppled the competition by scoring 281 points, and had swimmers place in the top five in nearly every event. Both Toms River North and Manasquan looked impressive, finishing in second and third with respective scores of 213 and 184.
It was the Caseys’ dominance of the relays that allowed them to cruise to another championship.
“I have been coaching here for the past eight seasons and every race these girls swim all out, and they go into each meet wanting to compete and to win,” Red Bank Catholic head coach Matt Bowen said.
The Caseys broke the 200 freestyle relay record, erasing a mark set by Manasquan last year (1:41.09). The foursome of Karli Rymer, Shannon Belforti, Jillian Crosby, and Jackie VanLew finished in 1:39.89.
VanLew had quite a day for the Caseys as she placed first in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:09.87 to finish well ahead of second-place finisher Julia Bland of Rumson-Fair Haven (5:18.38). She also had a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle (1:52.57).
The Caseys finished the meet with a record-breaking win in the 400 freestyle relay finishing in 3:35.18. Rymer, Belforti, Crosby, and VanLew erased their own team’s record posted last year (3:36.39).
“I knew going into this meet that we had a chance to beat the Shore Conference Championship meet record because we had a faster time at the Monmouth County meet,” Bowen said. “Three out of the four girls who swam today competed in the same race together last year so it was really exciting to watch it happen.”
RBC’s dominance of the relay events did not carry over to the individual events, however, as a number of swimmers from various schools swam away with a gold medal.
St. Rose sophomore Casey Lawson made a statement during the meet, winning the 200 individual medley (2:08.10), and the 100 backstroke (57.89).
“It feels great to come here and win two races, and to be able to swim my personal-best times in each one,” Lawson said. “I had no idea I would come here in just my second season, and be able to do so well it’s very exciting and rewarding.”
Wall’s Danielle Griggs also won two events. She finished just ahead of Manasquan’s Hannah Briant in the 50 freestyle (24.02), and placed first in the 100 freestyle (51.60).
“I came here to have fun, and there is so much tough competition here,” Griggs said. “I was just trying to swim good races each time, and give my team points in the standings.”
In the 100 butterfly, it was Shore freshman Helen Grossman who took first place. She broke the only individual record of the night, swimming 56.77 to break the previous mark held by Monmouth’s Jenna Seitz since 2006 (57.29).