MORRISTOWN – Sophie Thomsen hit the wall, shook the water out of her eyes, and looked up at the huge glowing scoreboard at the far end of the Morristown High School pool. As her vision cleared and she saw the time next to her name, Thomsen‘s arms shot up in celebration.
Thomsen broke the school’s 100-meter backstroke record which had stood since 2001, as the Colonials defeated Middletown South, 101-69, in a NJSIAA North 2-B semifinal on Tuesday. Junior Matt Critchley also rewrote the record board, lowering the 50-meter free in the Morristown boys’ 99-71 victory against Millburn in their own semifinal.
Thomsen, a freshman who was at most 2 years old when Shannon Sommerville set the record, sheepishly accepted hugs from teammates. “It’s very exciting,” said Thomsen, who dropped three seconds this season to 1:07.98.
“I didn’t really believe I could do it. I worked on my stroke rate and my turns. I felt they were the best I’d ever done. … But I didn’t know, and that’s probably why I was so excited. I feel like I’m on top of the world.”
Both Morristown’s boys and girls advance to sectional finals against Scotch Plains at the Raritan Bay YMCA, the boys on Thursday and the girls on Friday. The top-seeded Raiders girls defeated Mendham, 94-76, in Tuesday’s semifinal.
Morristown had already beaten Millburn, 106-64, on Dec. 22, but the Millers’ full lineup was unavailable. But the Colonials took advantage of a long break between meets to recharge, and revise the lineup.
Critchley won both the 50 and butterfly on Tuesday. Freshman Owen Breslin was first in the IM and breaststroke. Even in the distance events when Millburn’s Chris Balbo finished first, Jamie and Justin Viotto were second and third, with Sam Addis fourth in the 200 free.
Morristown junior Bianca Karpinski won both distance races. Thomsen led a 1-2-3 sweep of the 100 free, followed by Colonials teammates Meghan Crowley and Emilie Breslin. Thomsen and Shannon Crowley went 1-2 in the backstroke. Maya Carragher and Alanna Lenihan went 1-2 in the IM for Morristown.
The Colonials dedicated the meet to John Hyland, a Morristown banker and Ironman triathlete who is battling leukemia again. Hyland’s children, freshman Patrick and junior Kelsey, swim for the Colonials. The high school also hosted a swab drive for potential bone-marrow donors on Tuesday.
“The rest gave us the upper hand, and we’re ready to dive into the next round,” said Critchley, whose 50 free time of 24.78 seconds was four hundredths faster than Tom Long in ‘09. “When the coaches moved around the lineup, I said, ‘Why not?‘ and I got it. I kind of knew it was something I could do. I just had to get the chance, and put my mind to it.”
Staff Writer Jane Havsy: 973-428-6682; email@example.com; www.dailyrecord.com/writerjane/
Boys: Morristown 99, Millburn 71
Medley relay: Morristown (Michael Macchia, Owen Breslin, Matt Critchley, Brian Honicky) 1:50.77; 200 freestyle: Chris Balbo (Mb) 2:01.98; 200 IM: Breslin (Mt) 2:17.4; 50 freestyle: Critchley (Mt) 24.78; 100 butterfly: Critchley (Mt) 1:00.87; 100 freestyle: Derek He (Mt) 56.33; 400 freestyle: Balbo (Mb) 4:18.52; 200 free relay: Morristown (Breslin, Macchia, He, Jamie Viotto) 1:44.26; 100 backstroke: Macchia (Mt) 1:03.45; 100 breaststroke: Breslin (Mt) 1:13.08; 400 free relay: Millburn (Stav Zelnik, George Jiang, Evan Ng, Balbo) 4:01.75.
Site of meet: Morristown High School. Distances in meters. Team records: Morristown 14-1, Millburn 10-3.
Girls: Morristown 101, Middletown South 69
Medley relay: Morristown (Sophie Thomsen, Maya Carragher, Alanna Lenihan, Meghan Crowley) 2:06.84; 200 freestyle: Bianca Karpinski (Mt) 2:16.71; 200 IM: Carragher (Mt) 2:34.09; 50 freestyle: Annemarie Schroor (MS) 29.65; 100 butterfly: Lenihan (Mt) 1:10.63; 100 freestyle: Thomsen (Mt) 59.97; 400 freestyle: Karpinski (Mt) 4:50.82; 200 free relay: Morristown (Emilie Breslin, Casey Hasenbein, Kelsey Hyland, M. Crowley) 1:58.91; 100 backstroke: Thomsen (Mt) 1:07.98; 100 breaststroke: M. Crowley (Mt) 1:21.36; 400 free relay: Middletown South (Katherine Scott, Lauren Homack, Melissa Segovia, Schnoor) 4:34.32.
Site of meet: Morristown High School. Distances in meters. Team records: Morristown 13-2, Middletown South 9-2.