DEPTFORD TOWNSHIP – The Egg Harbor Township boys swimming team gave a good performance with fast times and three race wins, but Cherry Hill East still pulled away in their South Jersey Public A title meet Wednesday.

Cherry Hill East won some close races plus all three relays and won the meet 105-65 at Gloucester County Institute of Technology.

The defending state champion Cougars, top-seeded and ranked No. 2 in The Press Elite 11, improved to 11-0. Second-seeded EHT, No. 3 in the Elite 11, ends the dual meet season at 8-2.

EHT sophomore Joey Tepper won the 200-yard freestyle in 1 minute, 44.80 seconds and returned to take the 500 freestyle by three lengths in 4:43.29. Eagles senior Cristian Bell was first in the 200 individual medley in 1:56.16.

Instead of swimming the 100 backstroke, his top event, Bell was in the 100 butterfly to help the team get points. He took second by 0.31 seconds to Cherry Hill East’s Jackson Brookover, who won in 50.72.

Bell, a first-team Press All-Star his first three years, will swim for Yale University next year.

“I swam my best time in the fly for the high school season,” said Bell, 17. “We had a real good season and a good meet today with a lot of best times. I’m leaving but I’m looking forward to the team growing on the base of what we did this season and getting faster.”

Cherry Hill East returns to GCIT on Feb. 21 for a state Public A state semifinal against an opponent to be determined.

East’s Jack Watson won the 50 freestyle in 22.01 seconds, edging out Egg Harbor Township’s Zach Evans by 0.37 seconds. East was up 35-27 after four races. Watson took the 100 freestyle in 48.02. Also for the Cougars, Brookover won the 100 backstroke in 52.06, and Brandon Bell, Cristian’s freshman brother, was second for EHT in 53.07. East’s Anthony Moon won the 100 breaststroke in 57.75, and the Cougars swept the event by also getting second and third.

“They beat us out in some close races, and they were stronger with depth,” Egg Harbor Township coach Mark Jamieson said. “We switched our lineup in a few areas to have a chance to win it. We had best times in nearly every swim, and that’s all you can ask. Cherry Hill East had a big punch in the breaststroke. We wish them good luck. We have a young team and we plan on being back here next year and closing the gap.”

One of the leaders will be Tepper, a first-team Press All-Star last year as a freshman.

“I’d say this was the best meet we’ve had, and it was probably the best for Cherry Hill East, too,” said Tepper, 15. “A lot of people had really good times. I’m glad we did as well as we did, but it wasn’t what was necessary to take the meet.”

East’s Watson, Moon, Brookover and Mike Treglia won the 200 medley relay by just under three seconds in 1:35.96. EHT was second in 1:38.79. Moon, Anthony Cheng, Andy Murphy and Treglia took the 200 freestyle relay in 1:31.37, beating EHT by 0.42 seconds. The Cougars’ Mike Sommeling, Justin Anderson, Brookover and Watson won the 400 freestyle relay in 3:20.09. EHT ended second in 3:23.71.

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I’ve been at The Press since January of 1983. I cover all sports in general, but mostly lifeguard racing, and high school field hockey, football, swimming, basketball, crew, baseball and softball.

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