Mount Saint Dominic Academy


MSDA Swim Team

Mount swimmers conclude season at 3-7

By NANCY D’UVA Contributing Writer for The Progress

CALDWELL – The Mount St. Dominic Academy swimming team has concluded its season, and team members showed determination throughout the year.

The squad finished with a record of 3-7.

“We performed very well, given our small size,” said head coach Kelly Searfoss. “For most of our meets, we had 15 girls or fewer competing. They were never discouraged by this disadvantage, though, and gave their best in each meet.”

Season Highlights

One of the highlights of the season was the team’s performance at the Essex County Championships.

“Six of our swimmers competed in the meet, swimming several personal best times and placing high in their events,” Searfoss said. “For the most part, these were their best performances of the year.”

These swimmers were sophomore Julianna Bender, freshman Emma Clifford, senior Ina Gonzales, sophomore Tess Morrissey, junior Fiona Palumbo, and freshman Delaney Smith.

“I’m extremely proud of their performances at the county meet,” Searfoss said. “Several swam best times, which is especially impressive considering they really weren’t rested for the meet. Their swims show just how competitive they are.”

Morrissey placed second in the 100-yard freestyle in 56.65 and third in the 50-yard freestyle in 25.87.

“She is a sprint free expert, but can score in every event,” Searfoss said. “She is crucial to the success of all relays and anchors the medley relay.”

Palumbo placed fourth in both the 200-yard individual medley (2:18.89) and the 100-yard butterfly (1:00.91).

“She is an incredible all-around swimmer and is extremely competitive,” Searfoss said of Palumbo, who swims the butterfly in the medley relay. “She anchored several relays to come-from-behind finishes.”

Smith came in sixth in both the 200-yard freestyle (2:05.26) and the 500-yard freestyle (5:29.48).

“She’s the distance free expert,” Searfoss said. “We counted on her to lead the 200 and 500 free all season. She’s still improving. Watch for her next year.”

Bender was seventh in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:11.93) and 12th in the 200-yard individual medley (2:28.12), while Clifford came in 10th in the 100-yard backstroke (1:07.09) and 16th in the 50-yard freestyle (27.52).

“Julianna is extremely strong and a talented breaststroker; she is the key to the success of our medley relay,” Searfoss said. “Emma usually takes our top spot in the 100 back and leads off the medley relay. She is also a versatile freestyler.”

Gonzales placed 18th in the 100-yard freestyle in 1:01.49 and 19th in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:18.

“She was our team captain and heart of the team,” Searfoss said. “She scores in all freestyle events and is vital to our free relays.”

In the 200-yard medley relay, Clifford, Bender, Palumbo, and Morrissey placed fourth in 1:57.41. In the 400-yard freestyle relay, Smith, Bender, Palumbo, and Morrissey placed fifth in 3:51.03.

Team Members Contributions

Other team members include senior Nicole Zavala.

“Nicole returned to competition after serving as scorekeeper last year,” Searfoss said. “She competed in free events.”

Juniors Courtney Callahan, Deja Kemp-Salliey, Meghan Stein, and Skye Stripeikis, sophomores Lily Coyle, Dani Dabroski, and Natalie Nasti, and freshman Olivia Fisher also contributed.

“Courtney is a natural backstroker and adds depth in the 100 back and medley relay events,” Searfoss said. “Deja drastically improved over the last three years and has a great freestyle technique. Meghan is reliable in the fly, breast, and individual medley, but injury ended her season early. I’m looking forward to more progress next year. Skye is a strong, steady swimmer who has typically competed in the fly and individual medley but has shown promise in distance free this year. I expect more improvement next year.”

Searfoss continued: “Lily is a great sprint freestyler and rounds out our 50 and 100 free lineup. Dani is a skilled breaststroker who is constantly improving. Natalie is a skilled, hardworking swimmer; she rounds out the free and back events. Olivia is a versatile swimmer who can score in nearly any event.”

Read the article in The Progress.

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