by W. L. BILL ALLEN, JR.
CALDWELL– It was not all that long ago that the swim squad from Mount Saint Dominic Academy went 12-1 and won an Essex County Championship meet and Super Essex Conference regular season and championship meet titles, as well.
Since 2012, however, the Lady Sea Lions have posted marks of somewhat more mediocre marks of 6-4 in 2013 and 6-5 in 2014.
Now, though, the locals may just be on the verge of returning to prominence, as the Mount aquatics army is off to a very healthy 3-1 start to its current campaign.
MSDA kicked-off its 2015-16 slate by knocking-off Newark Academy, 97-73, on Nov. 30, prior to overwhelming Montclair Kimberley Academy, 107-62, on Dec. 3, being drowned by Montclair High, 120-50, on Dec. 9 and then rebounding to lick Livingston, 94-69, on Dec. 12.
“I think that, as this point, we’re doing well and we’ve won the meets that we were supposed to win,” said Mount head coach Kelley Searfoss, a former Seton Hall Prep assistant mentor who is now in her fourth campaign at the Lady Sea Lions club’s controls.
Among those who Searfoss looks to for consistent point scoring are two West Orange dwellers: Andrea Galea, a senior who competes in the 50-yards freestyle and the 100 backstroke, and fellow 12th-grader Kaitlyn Ianiro, who takes part 200 & 500 free fracases, Molly Brodowski, a senior backstroker from West Caldwell, Tess Morrissey, a ninth-grader from West Caldwell who competes in 50- and 100-yard freestyle races, Julianna Bender, a ninth-grader from South Orange (200 IM, breaststroke), Ina Gonzales, a junior from Lake Hiawatha (100 & 200 free) Brigette Molineiro, a senior from Cedar Grove (200 & 500 free) and Natalie Nasti, a ninth-grader from Verona who most often battles in 200 free and 100 backstroke battles.
“Montclair is very, very good and, while we were missing some of our best girls when we faced them, I don’t think we would’ve beaten them even at full strength and I think the only team with a real chance to beat them out for the county or conference championship might be Caldwell,” mused Searfoss adding, “We finished third and the county/conference championship last year and if we could finish, at least, third this year, it will be a good year for us.”
Tuesday, Jan. 5, should see the Lady Sea Lions taking on crosstown competitor Caldwell in the Caldwell Community Center at 7:30 p.m., with a trip to battle Millburn at Newark Academy set for 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, followed by a clash against Columbia at8:30 p.m. in the Mount’s home waters at the Clifton Boys and Girls Club at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, and the Essex County/Super Essex Conference championships meet on MLK Day, Monday, Jan. 18, at the Raritan Bay Area Y.