Just Keep Swimming:The WHS swim teams remain undefeated

The Blue Devil boys and girls swim programs, led by coaches Jeffrey Knight and Steven Whittington, respectively, are having yet another historic year. Both teams are ranked second in the state, according to nj.com. While only halfway through their seasons, they both look to add 2022 to the championship banners hanging in the WHS gymnasium, and they have the talent to do just that.

Senior captains Colman Scanlan and Billy Maguire have led the boys team to a record of 8-0 as of Hi’s Eye print deadline. Not only have they won every meet, but, in seven of the eight, they beat their opponent by at least a 60-point margin.

With regard to their success, Scanlan said, “Our coach has told us we have serious potential this season. We know the strength we have, now it’s all about how badly each swimmer wants to win.”

The highlight of their season thus far was their upset win against then second-in-the-state Christian Brothers Academy (CBA). Scanlan pointed out that the last time they beat CBA was in 2016, which was also the last time WHS won the state championship.

Members of the Blue Devil boys swim team
courtesy of Varsity Vantage (Photo Courtesy of Varsity Vantage)

The similar trajectory of the 2016 championship season and 2022 season is no coincidence. Scanlan explained that the depth of the team has enabled them to win by large margins.

“We’ve got the strong[est] swimmer in lane four aiming for first, but the guys in lanes two and six are right behind him, ready to take second and third,” he said.

With equal success, senior captains Sarah Kennedy, Emma Heinze and Erin McKinney have led the girls team to an undefeated 9-0 start as of Hi’s Eye print deadline. Though ranked eighth in preseason, their current record has propelled them to second in the state. They have beaten all of their competition comfortably so far, with an impressive win over Scotch Plains-Fanwood on Dec. 23, who were ranked tenth in the state at the time.

The Blue Devils look to a much tougher schedule ahead, including Summit and number one ranked Bridgewater-Raritan. Kennedy, a Scranton University commit, has her eye on the prize: “Our biggest goal is to beat Bridgewater because we haven’t [beaten] them since 2015. And then, [winning] states.”

Kennedy explained that the team’s camaraderie is a key contributor to their success. “It’s like a huge family. We are [always] with each other because we also swim club [together] four or five hours a day” she said.

Similar to Scanlan, Kennedy noted that the range of the swimmers allows for them to win even while facing some adversity. “Recently, we had to switch up our whole lineup and every[one] was on board with it… Every girl steps it up in the race no matter what.” The team is in pursuit of their first state championship since 2014.

The girls and boys swim programs are some of the most decorated programs at WHS. They are, undoubtedly, continuing the Blue Devil tradition of excellence with a perfect start to their 2021-2022 season.