IN THE NEWS: Mount's Swim Team Loses First Two Matches

CALDWELL – The Mount St. Dominic Academy swimming team is 0-2 early in the season.

The Lions to Montclair on Tuesday, Dec. 3 and West Orange on Thursday, Dec. 5.

Last season, the team was 4-5 and finished in fifth place of 11 teams at the Super Essex Conference Swimming Championships. It matched its win total from the 2017-18 season.

“We were very solid last year, but very small: 12 girls,” said Jane Sungurov, who began her third year as head coach. “We won four games with 12 players.”

While the team is larger this season, it lost about half of last year’s team to graduation because the team was made up of six seniors, five juniors and two sophomores.

“Some of them were very good swimmers: Tess Morrisey, Julianna Bender and Liz Mercuris,” Sungurov said, adding that many swimmers will contribute to this year’s team.

“We have a couple of very solid freshman, Amanda Rohde and Ava Solerno, and several seniors who are huge contributors to the team: Emma Clifford, Kate Cipoletti and Olivia Fisher.”

The team has many swimmers who are new to the team and new to the sport. “The challenges we are facing are the fact that most of our swimmers just learned how to swim.”

Sungurov said the team hopes to surpass the number of victories it had last year.

“Our goals for this season are to have a winning record and have fun doing it,” she said. “Also teaching new swimmers about the sport and having fun as a team.”

Last year, the Lions defeated West Essex, Glen Ridge, Verona and Montclair Kimberley.

“The meets that stood out most for me as a coach were the West Essex meet and the Glen Ridge meet,” the coach had said. “We were against much larger teams, double our size, but our girls swam so well we managed to win those meets.”

Sungurov, who has been a club swim coach for 20 years, said last season that while the team was solid and competitive, it sometimes lost because of its small number.

“We are not able to fill lanes, and even though we may win every event at a given meet, we may lose by points,” she had said.

The team was set to take on Glen Ridge on Monday, Dec. 9. It is scheduled to face James Caldwell on Tuesday, Dec. 17; Millburn on Monday, Jan. 6; Montclair Kimberley on Thursday, Jan. 9; Columbia on Tuesday, Jan. 14; West Essex on Thursday, Jan. 16; Newark Academy on Thursday, Jan. 23; Verona on Tuesday, Jan. 28; and Livingston on Thursday, Jan. 30.

The Essex County Championships are set for Monday, Jan. 20.

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