The Ocean City High School girls swimming team's most successful season in program history adds another milestone today - the team's first state semifinal appearance.
The Red Raiders, ranked No. 1 in The Press Elite 11, swim against Princeton High School at 3 p.m. at the Neptune Aquatics Center in Neptune Township in Monmouth County in a state Public B semifinal matchup of unbeatens.
Ocean City, the South Jersey champion, is 13-0, while Princeton, the Central winner, is 12-0.
"it's a very exciting time for the team," Ocean City coach Kate Merz said. "We're excited, but we're treating it like any other meet. We want to go as far as we can and keep the same positive attitude that we've had all season."
Ocean City is led by seniors Noel Styer and Rachel Chain, freshman Amanda Nunan, sophomores Aly Chain (Rachel's sister) and Amber Glenn, and juniors Gabby Breazeale and Erin Myers. Freshman Aleva Parker, senior Julie Cusack and junior Maddie Brady are important scorers.
Ocean City won the Cape-Atlantic League National Conference title for the fourth straight year. During the regular season, the Red Raiders won eight of the 11 races at the Hackney High School Meet, seven races at the CAL Individual Swimming Championships, and their third straight Division B title at the South Jersey Coaches' Meet.
O.C. topped Haddonfield 95-75 on Feb. 12 for the South Jersey Public B championship, the first sectional title in the history of the program.
Meanwhile, Princeton topped Lawrence 110-60 for the Central crown.
"We're pretty relaxed, laying low, tapering and eating healthy," said Styer, a 17-year-old Longport resident. "We have a lot coming up, with team states and individual states (the Meet of Champions), so you can't die out. I'm kind of not questioning about Princeton. We know the North Jersey schools are bigger and talented. We'll have to bring our 'A' game and swim our best, and hopefully come out on top."
Princeton's top swimmers are Melinda Tang, Brianna Romaine, Madeline Deardorff and Jamie Liu. The Little Tigers are two-time Mercer County champions.
The Mainland Regional girls swimming team won its first South Jersey Public B title last year. The Mustangs lost to Kinnelon 100-70 in the state semifinal. Chatham beat Kinnelon 91-79 in the the 2013 state final.
Ocean City edged Mainland 87-83 on Feb. 10 in its South Jersey semifinal.
Chatham, of Morris County, this year's North II champion, meets Mountain Lakes, the North I winner, today in the other state semifinal. The state championship meet is Sunday at a site to be determined.
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