The SHP Swim team was defeated by #1 seed St. Augustine Prep 91-79 in the semifinals of the NJSIAA Non-Public A State Tournament on February 20 at the Raritan Bay Area YMCA in Perth Amboy.
SHP started strong with a 1-3 finish in the 200 Medley Relay, led by the winning foursome of Karl Burghardt, Kyler Alcebar, Richard Poplawski, and Aryan Kapoor (1:36.07) to take a 10-4 lead, but St. Augustine took the lead back with a 1-2-3 finish in the 200 Freestyle and never gave it up. The meet did remain close throughout. First place finishes by Richard Poplawski in the 200 IM (1:53.29) and Cormac Rouse in the 50 Freestyle (21.76) helped keep the Pirates within 4 points after 4 events. St. Augustine stretched the lead to 10 after 6 events, but a strong 500 Freestyle lead by 1st place finisher Richard Poplawski (in an impressive time of 4:35.75) narrowed the margin to 58-52 with 4 events remaining. The next three events were all close but with St. Augustine prevailing, giving them an insurmountable 14 point lead going into the last event, the 400 Freestyle Relay. The SHP four of Cormac Rouse, Connor O’Neill, Aryan Kapoor, and Richard Poplawski won that relay in 3:17.70.
In spite of the loss, the Pirates swam their fastest meet of the year, tallying 4580 Power Points, an amount only topped by last season’s squad in SHP history. The Pirates finished the year at 12-1 and were Essex County and Super Essex Conference Champions.
SHP will send 3 relays and 3 individuals to compete in the Individual Event Championships on March 4-5 to conclude the season.