If the Phillipsburg girls swimming team is particularly motivated this year, there’s a good reason for it: The team is playing for someone who really, really matters to them.
As reported by Lehigh Valley Live, Phillipsburg girls swimming coach Jack Trent had to leave before the season began to continue his Naval service in Afghanistan. The coach’s departure came shortly before the 2015-16 season began, with Trent forced to leave his team before his third year as a head coach.
“We found out right before summer that he had to go to Afghanistan for close to a year,” senior swimmer Meghan Whalen told Lehigh Valley Live. “It is really hard on the whole team, especially the seniors because we were extremely close with him since freshmen year and we really wanted him to see what we had accomplished over four years and how we had built the program from winning one meet freshmen year to possibly going undefeated this year. We miss him very much but we are extremely proud of him for serving our country.”
“His service definitely inspires the team. We have a team saying for when we want to break a record or get a best time and it is, ‘do it for Trent.’ In his absence, he told me to be a leader on the team and to make sure that everyone is working hard because he believes we can go undefeated and make it to states.”
For Trent’s part, the honorary measure for his service is hardly unnoticed, as he told Lehigh Valley.
“It means a lot to me that the girls team cites me as one of the reasons for wanting to have a special season,” Trent said. “I am very close with the team. I see most of them year round. I coach them in the summer and they spend a lot of time in my classroom throughout the year. They held an amazing going away party before I left and just recently sent me a very nice care package. The support they give me is unbelievable and I am thankful for it every day.”