Barnegat Boys Swim Team Cruises Into Section Final with Rout of Delsea

Feb 13, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy Kyle Smith churns through the 100-yard butterfly during the Barnegat boys swim teamˆs 124-45 rout of Delsea in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group C semifinals on Feb. 11.

The Barnegat High School boys swim team looked like a crew on a mission Monday, Feb. 11.

“We are,” said Kyle Smith, after Delsea made the trip across the state to St. Francis Community Center and was dealt a 124-45 drubbing. “We’re working really hard, pushing each other, trying to get the best out of each other. We were full steam ahead today.”

Barnegat’s mission, of course, was not simply to reach the NJSIAA South Jersey Group C championship, scheduled for Thursday at Gloucester Tech. The top-seeded Bengals have taken aim at sectional title No. 1.

“We believe this is the year,” Smith said. “Last year, it was our first time in the section final, swimming in that huge pool against a team we knew was really good. And the truth is we were a little intimidated by it all. But now we know what it’s about and our mindset is different this time.”

The Bengals (10-1) looked every bit like a title contender on Monday, when Smith, Dylan Cappuccio, Gareth Aguilar and Kaden Jason won the opening 200-yard medley relay and the squad never looked back, increasing the points margin in all but one event.

Austin Cappuccio, who won in 2:01.71, Alexander Kinder and Ethan Sackett scored 11 points in the 200-yard freestyle, before Dylan Cappuccio, Joe Coleman and Tyler Grant swept the top three spots in the 200-yard individual medley, and Michael Koser led the way in the 50-yard freestyle with a winning time of 23.70 seconds to give Barnegat a 44-18 lead through four events.

After Smith (:56.38) and Aguilar finished first and second in the 100-yard butterfly, all the Bengals had to do from there was not have all their swimmers disqualified during the next six events. Instead, they pushed on the gas pedal harder.

Austin Cappuccio finished first in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:57.33, followed by Christopher Longo and Logan Germano for a first-second-third sweep, before the team of Jason, Coleman, Hutton and Koser delivered a top time of 1:40.18 in the 200-yard freestyle relay, followed by a third-place effort from Dylan Cappuccio, Gavin Wheeler, Jordan Burton and Sackett.

Smith, Aguilar and Grant then swept the 100-yard backstroke, Dylan Cappuccio, Coleman and Wheeler swept the 100-yard breaststroke, and Barnegat’s top two 400-freestyle relays grabbed an additional 12 points to cap the scoring.

With such a lop-sided score, the only thing that seemed a bit off-kilter was the fact Barnegat walloped the fifth-seeded team in the section, not fourth-seeded Oakcrest, which knocked off the Bengals in last year’s section title contest.

“We were kind of expecting to see Oakcrest, but instead it was Delsea,” Smith said. “I wouldn’t say we were disappointed that we couldn’t beat Oakcrest, after what they did to us last year. We swim whoever we have to swim and just do our best with it. The only thing that matters is we’re in the section final again.”

The only question which remained heading into Tuesday was which team the Bengals will face in the final – either second-seeded Cedar Creek (8-0) or third-seeded Woodstown (8-3), whose matchups were postponed Monday and rescheduled for Tuesday. In last year’s semifinals, Barnegat ousted Cedar Creek, 106.5-63.5.

A victory in the final will give Barnegat its first-ever state section championship in school history.

“That’s what we’ve been working for all season,” Smith said. “Now it’s time for us to go after it. We’re going to be excited going to GCIT on Thursday.”

David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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