BRICK TOWNSHIP — The Huizing twins, juniors on Brick Township High School’s girls and boys swim teams, are looking forward to competing in the Ocean County championships at the YMCA this weekend.
The boys will swim at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 9 and the girls at 3 p.m. on Jan. 10.
Kaitlyn Huizing will compete in the backstroke and 500-yard freestyle events. She qualified for both events based on her time for the Shore Conference championships that take place next month, as well as in the butterfly, 50 freestyle, 200 free and individual medley.
“I love to swim those events,” she said.
Kaitlyn swam the backstroke and 500 free in the county meet last year and placed in both. “I hope to better my times, and in backstroke I want to get my time under 1:06.”
Her brother Tyler is the defending county champion in the distance medley, with a time of 2:07, and has swum it only once this season, clocking a 2:10. Tyler is close to the school record in the individual medley and has qualified for the Shore Conference meet in that event as well as the butterfly, 50 freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke.
Tyler will also swim the butterfly event in the county meet, where he is getting close to the state championships cutoff time of :55.21 for qualifying with a :56 season best.
Both also will swim for their school teams’ medley relays, while Kaitlyn will swim the 4×50 relay and Tyler the 4×100.
Both also swim for the Ocean County YMCA club team. They’ll be rooting for each other this weekend.
“We’re always cheering for each other at races,” Kaitlyn said. “Our entire team comes out to cheer for everyone [on the boys team].”
And does Tyler, who is nine minutes older than his sister, give advice?
“Not really. Sometimes,” he said with a laugh. “He’s ready,” Kaitlyn said of her brother and the county meet.
“She should be in the top 10 in her events, at least,” Tyler said.
No pressure there.
They carry the hopes for their respective teams for a competitive showing in the county meet, despite their teams’ winless starts in dual
“We have 10 to 15 best times per meet. They’re not qualifying times, but they’re dropping times, and that’s good,” said first-year Brick Township High School girls coach Darren St. Jean.
“We have a lot of new freshmen, and they never swam, but all their times are improving, and that’s great,” Kaitlyn said.
Also qualifying for the Shore Conference championships and carrying high hopes in the county girls meet are junior Jess Joseph and sophomore Mikayla Serafin.
Joseph has qualified for the Shore Conference championships in the breaststroke and has the 500 free qualifying time within reach. She’ll swim the 50 freestyle and the breaststroke in the county meet. Serafin qualified in the individual medley and is close to qualifying in the breaststroke and will swim both in the county meet.
Senior Sam Sabo is another valuable contributor in the medley relay and 200 freestyle relays that are expected to pick up some points.
Kaitlyn will start in the backstroke in the medley relay, followed by Joseph in the breaststroke, Serafin in the butterfly and Sabo as freestyle anchor. The order changes in the 200 free relay, where Joseph leads off, followed by Serafin, Sabo and Huizing as the anchor.
St. Jean also praised Tiffeny Ring for giving the team some depth in the butterfly and sprint freestyles.
As for the boys’ team, Tyler Huizing and the Essington brothers, Matt, a senior, and Nick, a junior, are the only swimmers with ample experience from last year’s team that had 11 seniors. The graduated standouts include Travis Spier, Josh Lyons, Mike Bange, John McQuilken, Mike Neigel, Pat Schaefer and Colin Crilley.
This year’s roster carries 17 swimmers, 12 fewer than last year and the lowest since the 2006 season, when it had 16 on the roster.
“We’re off to a slow start but we’re not swimming badly,” coach Barbara Floyd said. “It’s a very young team. The guys are improving individually and swimming well. In our first meet, we had 42 best times, and in the second meet the number was in the 30s and then 22 in the third meet.”
“All the guys we have are swimming better times than last year,” Tyler said.
Along with Huizing, the Essingtons qualified for the Shore Conference championships in a good number of events. Matt is six-tenths of a second away from the school record in the 50 free and qualified for the Shore Conference meet in that event as well as the 100 and 200 freestyles, the individual medley, backstroke and breaststroke. Nick qualified for the Shore Conference meet in the distance freestyles, the butterfly, breaststroke and individual medley.
Matt will swim the backstroke and 100 free in the county meet, and Nick will swim the distance freestyles.
Three juniors provide the bulk of the depth — Andrew Bajor in the backstroke and individual medley, and Brandon Gardner and Michael Delpome in the butterfly and individual medley. Sophomore Brian Mayer is at his best in the sprint freestyles.
“After that, we’re pretty young with nobody really standing out, but we’re coming along,” Floyd said.