Madison Swimming Closes Off Season With Double Wins Against Park, Morristown Beard


Kerry Cozzolino

From left to right: Connor Calabria, David Ameiva, Coach Nancy Leib, Justin Lee, Coach Lisa Moretti, Allison Lee, Principal David Dreschel, Shannon Kelley, Anika Suerka, Artha Abeysinghe, Nick Modi, Lily Barisonek, Doyle Keane, Shane Faraher, Sterling Hart. Not pictured: Sam Derosa, Grace Futter

Yanyan Li, Staff Writer

Park Regional

Before Madison’s meet against Park Regional (Hanover Park and Whippany Park combined) there was a ceremony to honor the 15 seniors on the team. Juniors Owen Weller and Bella Guarino announced each senior, as they walked through a tunnel of underclassmen to go take pictures with their coaches and families. 

Following the ceremony, the Madison High School swim team was victorious in their final home swim meet, with both teams beating out Park.

The girls won 94-76 due to a strong second half of the meet. Following two events (200-yard freestyle and 50-yard freestyle) with no first or second-place finishes, the score was tied 31-31. However, after that, the girls started to score more points and they never lost their lead.

Senior Lily Barisonek took two wins in the 200-yard individual medley (2:20.89) and the 100-yard butterfly (1:04.08), swimming the latter event on a last minute notice. Her sister, sophomore Erin Barisonek, took a win in a close 100-yard backstroke (1:05.23) race between her and Park’s Michelle Zhao and finished second behind Lily in the 200-yard individual medley (2:23.12). 

Other individual event winners included junior Bella Guarino in the 100-yard freestyle (1:01.06) and sophomore Emma Dooley in the 500-yard freestyle (6:08.02).

Relay winners were the team of Erin Barisonk, Bella Guarino, Lily Barisonek, and senior Shannon Kelley in the 200-yard medley relay, with a combined time of 2:04.52, and Bella Guarino, freshman Evelyn Juliano, junior Fiona Beacom, and junior Amanda Beneventano in the 200-yard freestyle relay (2:00.50).

The boys’ meet was much closer, with the lead changing multiple times throughout the competition, but the Dodgers managed to take the win.

Junior Owen Weller and Park’s Quinn Danus faced off a total of four times this meet. First came the backstroke leg of the 200-yard medley relay, when Weller out-touched Danus and contributed to the overall victory of the Dodger “A” relay of him, freshman Anuthra Abeysinghe, senior Justin Lee, and senior Artha Abeysinghe that finished in a time of 1:48.07.

Madison extended their lead when junior Evan Katz got his first individual win of the season in the 200 yard freestyle (2:12.20) and senior Doyle Keane came in second (2:19.14). The Dodgers had an individual win drought after the 200 free until Artha Abeysinghe won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 54.84. 

Before the 100-yard backstroke, the score was tied 62-62 between the two teams. After Park swimmer Quinn Danus had gotten the best of Owen Weller in their first individual event, the 200-yard individual medley, they had a rematch in the 100-yard backstroke.

The race was incredibly close, and when they both touched the wall, many people couldn’t tell who won until the official declared that Danus had won. He had beaten Weller by a margin of 0.39 seconds, swimming a 56.59 compared to Weller’s 56.97. That finish put Park in the lead 71-69.

Before the final event of the meet, the 400-yard freestyle relay, Park was still winning 80-76. The only way that the Dodgers could pull through with a victory was by winning the relay. And they did just that, with the Madison “A” relay of Justin Lee, Doyle Keane, Artha Abeysinghe, and Owen Weller taking first (3:34.91).

Weller and Quinn Danus anchored their respective relays in their 4th race against each other, and Weller’s split of 52.26 was the fastest of the field and a season-best time for him (in a high school meet) by a second, cementing the Dodger Boys win of the very close 86-84.

Morristown Beard

The Dodgers had much more lopsided victories in their final regular-season meet against Morristown Beard, with the girls winning 119-50 and the boys winning 99-71.

The girls swept all three relays. First, Erin Barisonek, Bella Guarino, Lily Barisonek, and Shannon Kelley won the 200-meter medley relay (2:18.98). Later in the meet, Amanda Beneventano, freshman Layla Knoll, Fiona Beacom, and Guarino won the 200-meter freestyle relay (2:12.17). Finally, Emma Dooley, Erin Barisonek, Beneventano, and Lily Barisonek won the 400-meter freestyle relay (4:50.74).

Shannon Kelley grabbed two individual wins this meet, marking the first time she has won an individual event overall this season. She swept the sprint events, taking the 50-meter freestyle (32.27) and the 100-meter freestyle (1:16.28)

Lily Barisonek also had two individual wins, finishing first in the 200-meter individual medley (2:35.82) and the 100-meter breaststroke (1:29.25). Her sister Erin took the 100-meter butterfly victory (1:12.50).

The Dodger boys were two for three in relays, with Owen Weller, Anuthra Abeysinghe, Justin Lee, and Doyle Keane winning the 200-meter medley relay (2:02.99). Keane’s freestyle split in the medley relay (27.73) was an improvement of over a second from his previous best relay split of 28.95. Additionally, Lee, Artha Abeysinghe, Jacques Chemaly, and Weller won the 400-meter freestyle relay (4:11.02). 

Individually, the Dodgers won every event besides the 200-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly, which were won by Morristown Beard swimmer and brother of Madison senior Shane Faraher, Collin Faraher. 

Owen Weller was the lone swimmer to sweep his individual events, winning the 50-meter freestyle (27.36) and the 100-meter backstroke (1:07.97). Additionally, Justin Lee won the 200-meter individual medley (2:31.57), Artha Abeysinghe won the 100-meter freestyle (1:02.42), Jacques Chemlay won the 400-meter freestyle (4:45.10), and Shane Faraher won the 100-meter breaststroke (1:18.76).

The Dodger wins in this meet meant that the girls finished off their season with a 7-2 record, and the boys ended with a 5-4 record.

What’s Next?

The Dodgers will compete next in the NJSIAA sectional tournament, where they are in the North 2, Group C section with different teams grouped together based on school size and location. The boys’ North 2 Group C section has 18 teams while the girls’ has 15. The winner of the sectional tournament moves on to play in the big state tournament. 

The boys’ team is seeded 4th, meaning that they will get a first-round bye and swim in the sectional quarterfinals. The girls’ are seeded 3rd and will also get a first-round bye to swim in the sectional quarterfinals. 

Seeding is determined by a system called the powerpoint system, where a team can select two meets from their regular season to be “powerpointed”. In those meets, every time that a swimmer swims is given a certain amount of points, and all the points are tallied up at the end of the meet. Next, the average number of powerpoints scored in each meet will be used to determine a team’s powerpoint score. The team with the highest powerpoint score in the group has the highest seeding, and so on. 

State tournament brackets are released February 3rd.