A Summary of the 2017-18 Seton Hall Prep Swimming Season

The 2017-18 SHP swim season proved to be a tremendous success. The team was undefeated in the regular season, won the SEC/Essex County Championship and advanced to the semifinals of the NJSIAA Non-Public A tournament. Paced by 8 seniors (all of whom were in the starting lineup) while also featuring solid contributors from all grade levels, the team would end the season as arguably the fastest in school history.

The Pirates would finish December at 5-0 and began the New Year on January 3 with a decisive 112-58 win over rival Morristown. The team was at 8-0 going into the SEC/Essex County Championships on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, January 15 and continued their fine performance, capturing eight first places out of 11 events and winning every event on points in soaring to victory. The Pirates scored 382 points, nearly 200 more than runner-up Montclair which had 187.

The top six finishers in each individual race also received medals. Here are the rest of the SHP medalists:

Second Place - Lenny Brown (12), 200 Freestyle; Alex Wang (12), 200 IM; Luke Shea (11), 100 Butterfly; Jaeden Yburan (9), 100 Backstroke; Saverio Kaufman (12), 100 Breaststroke.
Third Place - Saverio Kaufman (12), 200 IM; Luke Shea (11), 50 Freestyle; Jaeden Yburan (9), 100 Butterfly; Matt Prior (10), 500 Freestyle; Dominic Palumbo (12), 100 Breaststroke.
Fourth Place - Ryan Martynowicz (12), 200 Freestyle; Dominic Palumbo (12), 200 IM; Ryan Martynowicz (12), 100 Freestyle.
Fifth Place - Lenny Brown (12), 500 Freestyle; Joe Gigantino (12), 100 Breaststroke.
Sixth Place - Matt Michaels (12), 50 Freestyle.

The Pirates would go on to finish the regular season at 12-0 with Morristown having been the fastest meet at 4150 power points. This gave them the 4th seed in the NJSIAA Non-Public A Tournament and a quarterfinal match against St. Augustine Prep, which had defeated the SHP in the tournament last year. The first event, the 200 Medley Relay, would set the tone. St. Augustine came out blazing fast and led the Pirates after 3 legs in spite of the SHP relay (Alex Wang, Saverio Kaufman and Matt Michaels) being ahead of its season best pace. However, junior Roo Fenton come from behind in a blistering 20.89 anchor leg to win it for the Pirates in a season best time of 1:37.39. This, combined with the SHP B relay taking 3rd gave the Pirates the early 10-4 lead. St. Augustine would win the 200 Freestyle and close within 4, but in the next two events Seton Hall would finish 1-3-4, with the senior trio of Wang, Dom Palumbo and Kaufman grabbing the places in the 200 IM, and Fenton, junior Luke Shea and Michaels doing the job in the 50 Free to give SHP the lead 39-23 at the break. The Hermits showed strength in the next three events, cutting the lead in half to 59-51 with four events to go. However, event 8, the 200 Freestyle Relay, would turn the tide back in SHP's favor as a 1-3 finish extended the lead back to 14, with the A relay of Michaels, senior Ryan Martynowicz, Shea, and Fenton posting a season best 130.88. The 100 Backstroke would then put SHP in the driver's seat, with freshman sensation Jaeden Yburan coming out of the B position to win the race in a personal best 53.67, and Wang and sophomore Joe Labrador taking 3rd and 5th to extend the Pirate lead to 18 at 79-61 with 2 events to go. The 100 breaststroke was next, and as they have so often done in their careers, seniors Palumbo, Kaufman and Joe Gigantino would win the event by going 2-3-4 to give SHP their largest lead at 20 and clinch the meet. St. Augustine would take 1st in the 400 Free Relay to close the meet, with the Pirates taking 2-3 to yield the final 94-76 score. The strong overall effort by SHP boosted their power point total to 4418, at the time 3rd best in school history.

Next up for the Pirates was the powerful CBA Colts in the semifinal, and the Pirates would push themselves to even greater heights in what would be a tremendously exciting meet. Races were competitive and intense throughout, and the NJSIAA Meet Director took the unusual step of praising both squads over the loudspeaker after the meet was ended.

The Pirates took the lead after the first event as Alex Wang, Saverio Kaufman, Matt Michaels and Roo Fenton won the 200 Medley Relay in 1:37.44, with CBA taking second and third, giving SHP an 8-6 lead. CBA would finish 1-2-4 in the 200 Freestyle to take an 18-12 lead. This event exemplified the competitiveness of the meet, as Matt Prior (1:48.67), Lenny Brown (1:49.76) and Ryan Martynowicz (1:50.64) swam times that would have swept the top three at the Essex County meet, but they could only finish 3-5-6 at this meet.

The Pirates bounced back in the next two events; Alex Wang won the 200 IM in 1:57.30, and with Saverio Kaufman tying for third (2:02.22) and Dom Palumbo taking 5th (2:05.01), SHP was within three. The 50 Freestyle would be the Prep’s best event with Fenton (21.64), Michaels (22.36) and Luke Shea (22.62) finishing 1-2-5, enabling the Pirates to retake the lead at 32.5-29.5.

Matt Michaels (52.73) and Jaeden Yburan (54.02) finished 2-3 in the 100 butterfly, but CBA’s 1-4-5 finish got them to within 1 point. The teams would split the 100 Free, with Fenton winning in 48.73 and Luke Shea taking 4th in 50.09. After 6 of the 11 events, SHP led 47.5-46.5.

CBA would then take 1-3-4 in the 500 Free, with Matt Prior taking second for the Prep in 453.20. Lenny Brown would break 5 minutes for the first time for SHP in 457.60, finishing 5th. CBA lead at this point by 5, 57.5-52.5, but the SHP foursome of Michaels, Prior, Shea and Fenton would win the 200 Freestyle Relay in 1:30.68; CBA finished 2-3 and the Pirates trailed by only 3, 63.5-60.5.

In the next two races, 4 of the 6 Pirate swimmers would swim SHP career bests, only to find that it was not enough to stand up to CBA, who pulled away at this point. Jaeden Yburan would swim a lifetime best 53.41 to finish 2nd in the 100 backstroke, with Dom Palumbo 5th in an SHP best 57.11; Alex Wang would swim an SHP best 1:01.20 and Saverio Kaufman a lifetime best 1:01.52 in the 100 breaststroke, but this was only enough for a 3-5 finish. CBA would take 1-3 in the 400 Freestyle relay to make the final score 96.5-73.5.

The 13-1 Pirates totaled 4519 power points in the CBA meet, the second highest total in school history, a mere 9 behind the 2014-15 team. The team’s seniors thus have the privilege of having swum on the two fastest teams in school history.

The last event of the year was the NJSIAA Meet of Champions, the state championship for the 11 individual events. Roo Fenton put together a series of outstanding sprint performances and was the Prep’s top finisher, placing 5th in the 50 Freestyle in a time of 20.99 seconds. In Saturday’s preliminary round, Roo had gone 20.96, becoming only the second swimmer in SHP history to go under 21 seconds in the event. Roo also took 11th in the 100 Freestyle in 47.72. Two relays also placed for the Prep: the 200 Freestyle Relay of Matt Michaels (22.46), Jaeden Yburan (22.64), Luke Shea (22.03), and Fenton (20.60) finished 10th in 1:27.73, the second best time in school history in the event. The 200 Medley Relay Team of Alex Wang (25.67), Saverio Kaufman (28.19), Michaels (23.90) and Fenton (20.61) finished 11th. Lenny Brown also represented the Prep on relays in the preliminary round. Matt Prior had qualified for the event but could not compete due to illness.

The senior class leaves as one of the deepest and strongest in school history. Here is a list of the seniors and their events in the thrilling CBA meet: Lenny Brown – 200 Freestyle; 500 Freestyle, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay.
Brendan Flood – 200 Medley Relay Freestyle; 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay.
Joe Gigantino – 200 Medley Relay Breast; 100 Butterfly; 100 Breaststroke.
Saverio Kaufman – 200 Medley Relay Breast; 200 IM; 100 Breaststroke.
Ryan Martynowicz – 200 Freestyle, 100 Freestyle; 200 Free Relay; 400 Free Relay.
Matt Michaels – 200 Medley Relay Butterfly; 50 Freestyle; 100 Butterfly; 200 Freestyle Relay.
Dom Palumbo – 200 Medley Relay Breast; 200 IM; 100 Backstroke.
Alex Wang – 200 Medley Relay Backstroke; 200 IM; 100 Breaststroke; 400 Freestyle Relay.

The Super Essex Conference has selected its All-Conference First and Second Teams for the 2017-18 season. Seton Hall Prep swimmers earned an amazing 8 of 11 slots on the First Team and 5 of 11 on the Second Team. Congratulations to the following swimmers:

  • First Team • 50 Freestyle - Roo Fenton (11) • 200 Freestyle - Matthew Prior (10) • 100 Backstroke - Jaeden Yburan (9) • 100 Butterfly - Matthew Michaels (12) • 200 IM - Alex Wang (12) • 200 Freestyle Relay - Luke Shea, Jaeden Yburan, Matthew Michaels, Matthew Prior • 400 Freestyle Relay - Luke Shea, Matthew Prior, Alex Wang, Roo Fenton • 200 Medley Relay - Alex Wang, Dominic Palumbo, Matthew Michaels, Roo Fenton
  • Second Team • 100 Freestyle - Ryan Martynowicz (12) • 200 Freestyle - Lenny Brown (12) • 100 Breaststroke - Saverio Kaufman (12) • 100 Butterfly - Luke Shea (11) • 200 IM - Dominic Palumbo (12)

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