Madison Swimmers Compete at Morris County Championships

Top+image%2C+from+left+to+right%3A+Anuthra+Abeysinghe%2C+Jacques+Chemaly%2C+Owen+Weller%2C+Shane+Faraher%2C+Artha+Abeysinghe%2C+Justin+Lee+%28Photo+credits%3A+Sharliyn+Chemaly%29+Bottom+image%2C+from+left+to+right%3A+Lily+Barisonek%2C+Amanda+Beneventano%2C+Bella+Guarino%2C+Erin+Barisonek

Yanyan Li

Top image, from left to right: Anuthra Abeysinghe, Jacques Chemaly, Owen Weller, Shane Faraher, Artha Abeysinghe, Justin Lee (Photo credits: Sharliyn Chemaly) Bottom image, from left to right: Lily Barisonek, Amanda Beneventano, Bella Guarino, Erin Barisonek

Yanyan Li, Staff Writer

On Saturday, the best swimmers on the Madison Swim Team took hours out of their weekend to put on fast suits and make the drive to the County College of Morris to compete in the Morris County Championships. 

Counties was a meet dedicated to the top swimmers in Morris County, with all athletes having to meet certain qualifying times during the 2021-22 swim season in order to compete. The meet was supposed to be hosted by Morristown High School, the usual host, but due to COVID-19 concerns, it was moved to the County College of Morris.

The CCM pool is a “yards” pool, unlike the Morristown pool which is a short course meters pool. This year marked the first time that Counties took place in short course yards.

The top 12 finishers in every event score points for their team, and the school with the most points at the end of the meet are crowned as county champions. 

Girls

Sophomore Erin Barisonek, junior Bella Guarino, senior Lily Barisonek, and junior Amanda Beneventano opened the meet in the 200-yard medley relay, finishing seventh with a combined time of 1:59.52

Next came the 200-yard individual medley. The Barisonek sisters swam in the same heat and both scored points for their team, with Lily getting on the podium finishing third with a time of 2:15.8, an improvement from when she swam the event at Counties in 2020 and finished fifth, and Erin finished seventh with a time of 2:21.67. Bella Guarino also scored for the Dodgers, finishing ninth with a time of 2:23.15.

Amanda Beneventano was the lone Madison swimmer in the 500-yard freestyle. She had just gotten under the qualifying time less than two weeks ago in the meet against Parsippany, and was placed in the slowest heat. However, she managed to drop 17 seconds off her entry time to win her heat in a time of 6:01.79 and place 18th overall. In fact, she beat multiple swimmers that had been placed in faster heats than her. 

The same quartet that swam the 200-yard medley relay also swam the 200-yard freestyle relay, placing eighth in a time of 1:49.70. Lily Barisonek’s split of 26.25 marked the first time that a swimmer on the girls’ team has gone under 27 seconds this season in a 50-yard freestyle.

Erin Barisonek scored additional points for the Dodgers when she placed twelfth in the 100-yard backstroke, swimming a time of 1:05.55.

Lily Barisonek had the best performance for a Dodger at this meet when she tied for second with West Morris’s Taylor Weth in the 100-yard breaststroke, swimming a time of 1:08.98. This marked the second time Barisonek finished second in the event, a repeat of her achievement in 2020. Bella Guarino finished 14th with a time of 1:14.02.

The Dodger girls scored 60.5 total points to earn a ninth-place finish overall out of 16 teams. Their performance was a massive improvement from their 2020 showing, where they placed 14th out of 17.

Boys

The Dodger boys started off the meet strong with a 5th place finish in the 200-yard medley relay, where junior Owen Weller, freshman Anuthra Abeysinghe, senior Justin Lee, and senior Artha Abeysinghe together swam a time of 1:44.42 to break a 3-season standing team record. The previous record, set in December 2018, was held by Gabe Peralta, Michael Lee, Zach Ruiz, and Morgan Bruhn and was a time of 1:44.70.

Next, freshman Jacques Chemlay and Artha Abeysinghe placed 10th and 25th in the 200-yard freestyle, swimming times of 1:54.12 and 2:05.35 respectively. Abeyshinghe improved from his 30th place finish in the same event in the 2019 Counties meet. 

In the 200-yard individual medley, Owen Weller earned the first individual points for the Dodgers when he finished 8th with a time of 2:04.33. His finish was a massive improvement from 2020 Counties, when he finished 22nd in the same event. Anuthra Abeysinghe finished 14th with a time of 2:14.37.

Other results included Justin Lee finishing seventh in the 100-yard Butterfly with a time of 56.16 (six places higher than his finish  at the 2020 Counties), Artha Abeysinghe finishing 23rd in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 53.47, and Artha Abeysinghe, Owen Weller, Justin Lee, and Jacques Chemaly finishing seventh in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:34.96.

Owen Weller finished 6th in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 56.16, once again improving on his 2020 Counties result of 14th in the same event. Jacques Chemaly finished 12th with a time of 1:00.69.

In the final event of the meet for the Dodgers, Anuthra Abeysinghe and senior Shane Faraher finished 18th and 22nd respectively in the 100-yard breaststroke with times of 1:07.19 and 1:08.99.

The Dodger boys finished 8th overall out of 16 teams and scored a total of 59 points. This was an improvement from 2020, where they finished 11th out of 18 teams.