The girls’ swim team enjoyed a historic end to its season as the Knights qualified for the NJSIAA state tournament for the first time in school history and also won their opening round matchup as they hosted Gloucester Catholic, 101-67, on February 7.
“It was so much to take in,” said head coach Nolan Silbernagel. “First state meet, being the home team, defeating a swim program with a very strong tradition in the sport; it was almost all too good to be true. The girls really stepped up and embraced the moment and definitely had their fastest meet of the year.”
Leading the way for the Knights was Olivia Soultanian ’22 as she won two individuals races in the 200 (2:15.93) and 500 (6:20.93) freestyles. Also earning individual wins was Maddie Soultanian ’22 in the 100 freestyle (59.94) and Kelsey Breuer in the 100 breaststroke (1:29.64).
The Knights were also able to win two of the three relays as the team of the Soultanians, Laura Howard ’21, and Rebecca Michaels ‘22 were victorious in the 200 (1:55.28) and 400 (4:06.22) freestyle relays.
At the conclusion of the meet, the team threw Silbernagel into the pool to celebrate the program’s first-ever state tournament win.
“I have been in the pool my entire life,” said Silbernagel, “but that was probably the happiest I have ever been to enter the water.”
Unfortunately for the Knights, their magical season ended on February 11 as they fell to Morris County power Villa Wash 95-75 in the quarter-finals of the Non-Public B state tournament.
“The girls did incredible against a really strong opponent,” said Silbernagel. “We were within striking distance the entire meet but we just were not able to have a huge event and grab a lot of points to take a lead. The meet was not officially decided until the final event so I am very proud of the girls for making it so competitive.”
Gill was led by Maddie Soultanian as she touched first in two individual events, the 50 (30.10) and 100 (1:06.80) freestyles. Also winning their events were Michaels in the 100 backstroke (1:10.87), and Olivia Soultanian in the 200 freestyle (2:27.35). The team of Maddie and Olivia Soultanian, Howard, and Michaels were also victorious in the 200 freestyle relay (2:08.98).