The first week of the abbreviated boys swim season is in the books.
It wasn’t exactly a monumental week in the standings with winter weather leading to cancellations for a majority of meets this past week, but there were still some notable results throughout the state that resonated in the rankings.
Meet this week’s Top 20:
*Records are based on meets submitted through www.njschoolsports.com by Monday, Feb. 22
1-Cherry Hill East (0-0)
Cherry Hill East has yet to swim a meet this season, but enter the year with an absolutely loaded roster while coming off a incredibly successful season. The Cougars have been one of the premier teams in the state for nearly a decade now, and there’s no reason they won’t be able to keep that up this year.
Pingry got off to a dominant start to its season with Matt Fallon and Jerry O’Mara showing off the Big Blue’s impressive center lane depth. Pingry has had one of the most talented rosters the last few years, and it showed in that first meet there’s little changing this season. Pingry gets a chance to further make a statement later this week with a meet against Bridgewater-Raritan, where a win would give Pingry an argument to be considered the state’s top team.
Bridgewater-Raritan will get its first major test of the season as it looks to prove it belongs as the state’s top team. The Panthers missed out on an undefeated season with a narrow loss in the Public A final, but enter this year with a decent amount of that roster intact. A win against Pingry would show there’s little drop off from last season.
4-Egg Harbor (0-0)
Egg Harbor has long been second fiddle to Cherry Hill East in South Jersey, but enters this season with sky-high expectations and enough chances to prove its standing in the Cape-Atlantic League. The first test is later this week against Mainland.
5-St. Augustine (1-0)
St. Augustine had an impressive start to its season by scoring over 100 points in a win over Mainland. The Hermits entered this season with sky-high expectations after returning key swimmers from a year ago from a team that reached last season’s Non-Public A final.
Westfield is the most successful swim program in the state, and while it hasn’t won a state championship in a few years, it’s still easily one of the elite programs. The Blue Devils have the chance to go undefeated this season with a localized schedule, asserted its dominance as Union County’s best.
What a statement from Christian Brothers Academy in their first meet of the season, showing they’ll have little trouble with their Shore Conference schedule with a dominant win over Marlboro. The Colts have dominated the conference since its inception and nothing should change this season with Kevin Truscio and Matthew D’Elia highlighting a roster that’s as dangerous for its depth as its center lane talent.
8-Seton Hall Prep (0-0)
Seton Hall Prep will get its season started later this week, with the Pirates looking to set the right tone opening up a year with a lot of promise. Seton Hall Prep is not only expected to be the top team in Essex County, but should be one of the biggest threats in Non-Public A.
9-St. Joseph (Met.) (0-0)
St. Joseph started the year with plenty of hype last season, but couldn’t make it out of the quarterfinal round of the Non-Public A tournament. The GMC squad holds similar early-season aspirations this year, and will look to make that point in its first meet of the season this week.
10-Bergen Catholic (1-0)
Bergen Catholic exceeded expectations last season and the Bergen County squad could very easily do the same again this year. The Crusaders already won their first meet of the season in dominant fashion, winning all 11 of the events with eight different swimmers responsible for winning the individual events.
11-St. Peter’s Prep (0-0)
St. Peter’s Prep has been among the top four teams in Non-Public A and there’s little doubt they’ll be in the mix again this season. The Hudson County squad opened up its season with a win over Union City, with Kevin Whitworth highlighting that effort with two individual wins.
12-Scotch Plains-Fanwood (0-0)
Scotch Plains-Fanwood finished last season as the third best team in Union County, and couldn’t even make it to the sectional semifinals. That might just be a rare blip for the Raiders, which returns enough talent to be considered one of the top contenders in Public B, and will get the chance to make that point starting this week.
Moorestown is also coming off a tough season, but is looking for a fast rebound as one of the state’s premier programs. It won’t take long for the Quakers to make that point either with a meet against Shawnee later this week.
Cherokee started to make a name for itself last year with a loss to Egg Harbor in the state tournament ending its season. The Chiefs will get plenty of chances to prove their worth to with a schedule loaded with South Jersey’s top teams. That first challenge comes against an Eastern team it eliminated in the state tournament last season.
Chatham had an exceptional year last season. The Morris County squad showed two straight regular season losses were not a true indicator of its upside, later earning revenge against Scotch Plains-Fanwood to reach the sectional final. Chatham’s season only ended against a Montgomery program that won the Public B title in dominant fashion. This season Chatham is looking to go undefeated in county play, with a busy stretch of meets to start the year.
Haddonfield hasn’t swam yet this season, but will get plenty of opportunities throughout the year. The Bulldogs finally won a Public C title last season after reaching the championship meet plenty before that, and are looking to do a bit more this season. With several meets against South Jersey’s best, Haddonfield will get the chance to show it’s more than the best Public C has to offer.
Montgomery had arguably the most exciting season of any team last season, going on a historic run for the program’s first Public B title. The Skyland Conference squad got things started on the right foot last week too with a dominant win over conference rival Hunterdon Central. Matthew Chen, Ethan Feng, Lucas Gold and Zaccharie Ouzilou showed Montgomery is still a team to fear in the state.
18-Ocean City (1-0)
Ocean City earned a huge win to start its season, finally earning a win over Mainland after getting run over by the Mustangs on a seemingly annual basis the last several years. Pat Armstrong and Matthew Woodside helped to lead the impressive effort, as the Red Raiders look to prove they can compete with the elite programs in the Cape-Atlantic League.
Mainland has been one of the absolute best programs in the state in recent years, and while it was expected to take a bit of a step back this season, they still belong in the Top 20 conversation. The Mustangs did suffer two lopsided losses to start the season, but both those losses came against ranked opponents and it came without Mainland’s full arsenal of swimmers.
Shawnee had one of the program’s best seasons a year ago, and will get the chance to build on that this year. That starts in a big way with a meet against Moorestown, with the Quakers looking to reestablish themselves as one of the state’s best teams. A win for Shawnee would show it’s still a team on the rise.
Thank you for relying on us to provide the journalism you can trust. Please consider supporting NJ.com with a subscription.