Sean Carney will take over at the helm and try to navigate the East Brunswick High School girls swim team to repeat success this season.
Carney graduated from East Brunswick in 2008 and swam under coach Jeff Sundberg, who preceded him. Carney was assistant to Sundberg last season and was given the top spot after Sundberg stepped down.
“I’m excited to be head coach,” Carney said. “I want to lead this team to another special year.”
The Bears will be the Greater Middlesex Conference team to watch.
During the 2014 campaign, the Bears were atop the GMC, claiming the Red Division title. East Brunswick also swam its way into the NJSIAA Central Group A Tournament final where it was ousted by Montgomery 129-41.
“I definitely hope that as a team we can get back to where we were in the past and win GMCs again and I also hope we make it as far in states as we did last year because last year was the first time we were able to do that as a team,” senior Claire Watson said.
Watson will be one of the Bears’ standouts this season according to Carney. She’s a distance swimmer who competes in the 200 and 500 freestyle.
Her goal is to hit personal bests in both races to close out her high school career. Her current best in the 200 freestyle is 28.10 and in the 500 freestyle it’s 54.00
Other swimmers to watch are juniors Darby Vandeveen and Sara Park. Vandeveen competes in the fly and the individual medley. Park does the backstroke and freestyle.
“All three of them are great swimmers,” Carney said. “I could really put them in anything and they’d do what I ask of them.”
Watson sees the value in her teammates as well.
“Darby is very versatile,” Watson said. “I think she has really improved over the past couple of years and every year she comes back a little bit stronger and it’s really great to see. Sarah is a great sprinter and she’s that person that the other girls are able to look up to and hope to get to where she is.”
As for why the Bears were so successful in 2014, both Carney and Watson attribute it to the team’s depth. They excelled in sprints, individual medleys and backstroke.
This year East Brunswick also has a strong crop of incoming freshmen that have club swimming experience to build from.
“It’s going to be exciting to see how that all pans out this season,” Watson said. “I think that everyone is very supportive of each other and we all want to see each other succeed.”
Carney hopes to combine the experience of his veteran swimmers with the energy of his incoming freshmen, plus his own knowledge of the program to yield positive outcomes. His team is behind him.
“I think that coach Carney is a great coach,” Watson said. “He really knows what he’s doing and we had him as an assistant coach last year so everyone on the team is really glad to have him back. He’s definitely for the team, he puts us first and always does his best for us.”
Staff Writer Alyssa Davis: email@example.com