Handicapping the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament isn’t tough because there’s no need to look further than the 34-time defending champions.
Last season, St. Joseph High School boys snagged six of 11 events to defeat runner-up South Brunswick 579-359.5 for its 34th GMC title.
The Bishop Ahr girls also dominated the 2011-12 GMC contest, touching first in seven of 11 events. The Trojans beat their closest rival, East Brunswick, 514-321.
Though both teams have faced some hurdles, St. Joseph (8-2 in dual meets) and unbeaten Bishop Ahr (5-0) are on pace to repeat in today’s boys championship and Friday at the girls showdown at the Raritan Bay Y in Perth Amboy. The Falcons, who won the Pirate Invitational, have lost only to CBA and Westfield in dual meets.
“This is a big meet for everyone and it should be exciting in a brand-new pool,” St. Joseph coach Steve Whittington said about moving the event to the Perth Amboy Y from Rutgers University.
“This has always been a big meet for our team and something that we don’t take lightly,” he added. “We’ll be prepared.”
St. Joseph swimmers to watch include Andrew Nesbitt, seeded No. 1 in the 200 free and tied for first in the 100 free, and Ethan Louie, the top seed for the 500 free and the 100 backstroke. Both athletes are having outstanding seasons. Nesbitt was recently named the Pirate Invitational Most Valuable Swimmer.
South Brunswick (8-2) and East Brunswick (9-2), the boys teams that finished second and third, respectively, last year, also are poised to challenge.
Bishop Ahr coach Amanda Miller said her squad is looking to defend its title and knows that South Brunswick is aiming to be the spoiler on Friday.
“My girls have not seen any division action since mid-January,” Miller said. “We have four division teams yet to swim — Metuchen, North Brunswick, Old Bridge and South Plainfield.”
Swimmers to watch include current GMC champions and meet recordholders Kaitlyn Kuhn (100 free) and Jessica Schmidt (50 free). At the Pirate Invitational, sophomore Katrina Kuhn went under a minute (59.98) in the 100 backstroke and a repeat of that time will break the 2006 GMC meet record of 1:00.16. She will be challenged by East Brunswick’s Colleen Dwyer, Miller noted.
Senior Michelle Kierencew, who won two individual titles in each of Bishop Ahr’s GMC championships, will swim for titles in the 100 breast and 200 IM. And fellow seniors Annie Bucca, Caroline Coffey, Katrina Dy, Emily Ludwig, and Julia Weiczorek will be swimming for medalist positions.
East Brunswick and South Brunswick are contenders for the girls trophy. The teams finished in second and third place, respectively, at last year’s GMC meet.