Ocean City High School senior Amanda Nunan has been the Cape-Atlantic League’s leading female swimmer since her freshman year.
Her accomplishments are hard to match.
Nunan completed her high school career March 5 with her fourth straight win in the 500-yard freestyle and third straight win in the 200 freestyle at the State Individual Swimming Championships. No other girl in the meet won two individual races this year. The event, held at Gloucester County Institute of Technology, is commonly called the Meet of Champions.
She also led Ocean City to four consecutive South Jersey Public B titles, three state final appearances and a state championship in 2016.
Nunan is The Press Girls Swimmer of the Year for the fourth season in a row.
“I’m so happy. It’s an honor to be the Swimmer of the Year,” said Nunan, an 18-year-old Egg Harbor Township resident.
The senior led the Red Raiders to a 10-2 record. O.C., ranked second in The Press Elite 11, lost to Chatham 95-75 in the state championship meet Feb. 26 at The College of New Jersey.
“I always do my best every time I go in the water, because I don’t want to let my team down,” Nunan said. “It was disappointing to not win the state final, but you couldn’t ask for much more. We worked so hard to get as far as we did.
“I was so blessed to be on the team. I think the dual meets are more fun (than big invitationals) because everyone on the team is there.”
She’ll swim next season for the University of Tennessee.
Nunan’s top showcase in high school was the Meet of Champions at GCIT, where she won seven individual titles out of a possible eight in her career. She was out-touched in the 200 freestyle final as a freshman in 2014 and then won everything else.
She won the 500 freestyle by the closest margin of the four years on March 5, finishing in 4 minutes, 48.12 seconds to edge out teammate Maggie Wallace by 0.09 seconds. Nunan also took the 200 freestyle in 1:49.30, out-touching Megan Bull, of Hillsborough, by the same margin of 0.09 seconds.
“It was exciting to get two wins again, after I was second (in both events) the previous day (in the qualifying),” Nunan said. “They were a lot closer than in previous years. I was pretty nervous going in, but I’m happy with the wins. I love swimming with Maggie. We do that every day in practice, and she really pushes me.”
Steve Warrington took over as Ocean City’s coach last winter. He guided the Red Raiders to a 15-0 record and the program’s only State Public B championship in 2016.
“Amanda never seems to be bothered by the pressure,” Warrington said. “She puts more pressure on herself, but she has some kind of adrenaline that pushes her to the elite level.
“I’ve never seen her lose. When she’s about to be out-touched, she does something to finish the race and win. She has been pushed by teammates and others, but she always does something to pull it out.”
Nunan competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 400- and 800-meter freestyle events in Omaha, Nebraska, in June 2016. At Tennessee, she’ll swim the 500-yard freestyle and up, including the 1,000 and the 1,650. She said she might also do the 200 freestyle.
“I’m so excited to go to Tennessee,” Nunan said. “It’ll be like high school swimming, where everyone is so supportive.”
Team of the Year
Ocean City was the only Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland or southern Ocean county girls team to win a South Jersey title and the only state finalist. The Red Raiders were top-ranked in the Elite 11 until losing to Bishop Eustace 94-76. O.C. took first place in seven of the 11 races against Eustace and broke four school records.
Ocean City dominated the CAL American Conference and beat rival Moorestown 87.5-82.5 in the South Jersey Public B final. O.C. topped Manasquan 92-78 in the state semifinal.
“I continue to be impressed by the team in every meet,” Warrington said. “Moorestown was gunning for us, and I knew that if we could beat them we had a good chance to get to the state final. The team always seemed to show its true colors under pressure. At the Meet of Champions, wow, that’s swimming!”
Coach of the Year
Southern Regional coach Bill Entrikin is the choice for leading the Rams to the first two playoff wins and their first 11-win season. Southern beat Vineland on power points in a South Jersey Public A first-round meet after the two teams tied 85-85. The Rams beat Eastern Regional 90-80 in a quarterfinal meet.
“I guess I’m surprised (to be Coach of the Year) the same way the kids surprised me this year,” Entrikin said. “The freshmen and returnees, everyone swam at least a little better than I expected, and some much better. It was a whole team effort.”