Seton Hall Prep Swimming has a long and successful tradition that features 27 Essex County Team Championships, a dual meet winning percentage of over 83%, and 24 individual state titles. The first SHP swim team competed during the 1937-38 season, and other than a two-year hiatus during the Second World War has continued ever since.


The program first gained prominence under William “Doc” Ferinden, who was head coach from 1939-40 through 1954-55, and then again in 1962-63. Ferinden’s teams compiled a 90-12 dual meet record (2 years of data are missing) and won the prestigious National Catholic Championship in 1941 and 1942.


Coach Harry McGarrigle would guide the Pirates to an undefeated 11-0 season in 1957-58, the last of his three years at the helm. He would be succeeded by Jim Fetten, who would have a 35-10 record over his four seasons.


It was during Fetten’s tenure that SHP swimming would have its first individual state champion, Dick McDonough. Dick McDonough remains SHP’s most decorated swimmer, winning two state championships in each of his junior and senior seasons, capturing the 200 Freestyle and 150 IM (An event no longer swum) in 1959 and the 100 Butterfly and the 100 Freestyle in 1960. This was the beginning of an amazing run of 15 individual event championships in 10 years for SHP swimmers. In 1961 Fred Larue was state champ in the 200 IM along with Fred Brown in Diving. Pat Powers would win the 200 Freestyle in 1962 and come back in his senior season of 1963 to win double gold in the 200 Freestyle and the 100 Butterfly. Joining him as a state champ in 1963 was Mike Faltraco in the 200 IM. Fred Brown would win his second state Diving championship in his senior year in 1964 (and will perhaps be the last, as diving was discontinued in the 1980s). Bill McDonough, Dick’s younger brother, would add to the family and SHP trophy case by winning the state 100 Freestyle Championship in 1965. The Prep’s first relay Championship would come in 1967, with the foursome of Terry Smith, Joe Slowinski, Dave McDonough and Tom Keough winning the 200 Medley Relay. Tom Battaglia would cap the run with a dominant double in 1968, capturing both the 100 Butterfly and 400 Freestyle. The coaches at the helm during this run were Fetten, Ferinden, and Rev. William Gibbons (41-12 from 1963-64 through 67-68).


John Prisco would begin a 13 year run as head coach with the 1968-69 season, compiling a 99-43 dual meet record. Prisco’s run would be highlighted by two individual state championships – Bill Barrett in 1973 taking the crown in the 400 freestyle, followed by Frank Fitzgerald the following year in the 100 backstroke – as well as the first two Essex County Team Championships for SHP in 1980 and 1981.


John Slevin (65-18-1) would take the helm beginning in 1981-82. His seven year run would see three Essex County Championships in 1982, 1983 and 1986, plus the championship of the inaugural Iron Hills Conference Meet in 1983, with a repeat in 1984. 1983 featured a state championship in the 400 Freestyle Relay, featuring Ron Karnaugh, Charlie Webber, Chris O’Connell, and Tom Rathbun.


Ron Karnaugh would go on to be a double state champion during the 1984 season, winning both the 200 IM and 100 Backstroke titles. His winning time of 1:55.12 is still the SHP record, the oldest on the list. He would continue after graduation to become the most prominent of all SHP swimmers, finishing 6th in the 200 IM at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, and becoming the American record holder in the event in 1993.

 

Randy Schweitzer would become head coach in the 1988-89 season, serving for 30 seasons until stepping aside following the 2017-2018 season. SHP had a 370-40 dual meet record during these years, and won the Essex County Championship for 21 consecutive years, from 1998 until 2018. Under Schweitzer SHP won the Iron Hills Conference Championship 16 times, from 1992-96 and 1998-2008, and has won all 9 Super Essex Conference Championships since the conference was established in 2009-10.

Prominent swimmers during these years include 4 individual state championships. In 1991, the 200 Freestyle Relay team of John Mitzak, Josh Bischoff, Scott DiGiacomo and Derek Fogg took gold with a winning time of 1:27.31, a state record which would stand for several years and still the school record for the event. Mike Przywozny would win the state crown in the 100 Freestyle in 1994. (Mike still holds the school record in the 500 Freestyle at 4:43.95 set in 1993). Kevin Wilson would win 2 state titles in 2009 in the 100 Freestyle and the 100 Breaststroke; his time of 57.19 in the 100 breast remains the school record. Wilson was also named Swimmer of the Year by the Star-Ledger that season. 

2011 graduate and 2012 Olympic Trials qualifier Kyle Madley holds the school record in the 100 butterfly at 51.18 set in 2010. 2015 graduate Justin Dunn holds three individual school records: 1:43.66 in the 200 Freestyle set in 2014; and 20.67 in the 50 freestyle and 45.06 in the 100 freestyle, both set as runner-up performances at the 2015 state Individual Championships. 2015 also saw two new school records in two relays; Colby Dixon (’17), Tavish Boyle (’15), Brandon Wang (’16) and Justin Dunn swam 1:35.81 in the 200 Medley Relay, and the 400 Freestyle Relay team of 2015 graduates Jack Pietrucha and Connor Mailley along with Dixon and Dunn set a new mark in 3:12.89.

Coach Schweitzer’s longtime assistant Joe Alexander took over as Head Coach beginning with the 2018-19 season. The team went 12-1 in dual meet competition and won the Essex County Championships for the 22nd consecutive season and the Super Essex Conference Championships for the 10th consecutive season. A highlight of the championship meet was the 200 Freestyle Relay Team of Matt Prior, Jack Devilbiss, Mike Pietrucha and Roo Fenton setting a new county and conference record in a time of 1:29.00. The season featured a number of record setting performances; in the metric distances, senior Roo Fenton set a new record in the 50 Freestyle at 23.90, and sophomore Jaeden Yburan established a new mark in the 200 IM at 2:09.38. In the yards distances Yburan would set a new record in the 100 Backstroke at the County/Conference championship and would go on to lower his mark at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions at 51.85. The 200 Free Relay Team of Yburan, Prior, Luke Shea and Fenton would also set a new record at the Meet of Champions in 1:26.72. Roo Fenton, a senior now swimming at the University of Connecticut, was the team MVP, capturing the Cullen Jones Award for the 3rd consecutive season as Outstanding Swimmer at the Essex County Championships, and swimming as a finalist in the Meet of Champions in 2 individual events and 2 relay events. His top finish at the meet was 2nd place in the 50 Freestyle in 20.80

Roo-at-MOC

Roo Fenton '19 on the podium at the 2019 NJSIAA Meet of Champions awaiting his second place medal for the 50 Yard Freestyle. Fenton was the team MVP in 2018-19, capturing the Cullen Jones Award for the 3rd consecutive season as Outstanding Swimmer at the Essex County Championships, and swimming as a finalist in the Meet of Champions in 2 individual events and 2 relay events.


Seniors Jeff Cueva, Ben Amoreno, Colby Dixon, Mike Dellanno and Ryan Ross Receive the Trophy as SHP wins the 2016-17 Essex County/Super Essex Conference Championship Meet.

Ron Karnaugh '84 - Former American Record Holder in the 200 IM

Pictured above, Ron Karnaugh ’84 – Former American Record Holder in the 200 IM.

Pictured above, Kevin Wilson – 2009 Star-Ledger Swimmer of the Year.

Pictured above, 2015 graduate Justin Dunn holds three individual school records: 1:43.66 in the 200 Freestyle set in 2014; and 20.67 in the 50 freestyle and 45.06 in the 100 freestyle, both set as runner-up performances at the 2015 state Individual Championships.

Pictured above, 2011 graduate and 2012 Olympic Trials qualifier Kyle Madley, who holds two SHP records, 51.18 in the 100 butterfly set in 2010, and 52.04 in the 100 backstroke set in 2011. 

Pictured above, 2014-15 Essex County Tournament Champions.

SETON HALL Preparatory School

120 Northfield Ave, West Orange, NJ 07052     |     Main Phone:  973.325.PREP [7737]

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