By Andrew Garda
garda@montclairlocal.news

Winning a championship once is hard. Doing it twice is even harder.

Yet that is just what the Montclair High School girls swim team did on Monday, Jan. 17, at NJIT in Newark, as they took the 2022 Super Essex Conference championship for the second time in a row. 

The Mounties previously took the title at the 2019-20 championship meet. Last year the county meet was canceled due to COVID-19.

When the girls took the title this time, they did so in grand fashion, winning with a huge 110-point lead over the second-place team from Newark Academy and third place Mount St. Dominic Academy. The girls’ regular season record sits at 4-0.

The boys (2-3) also performed well, finishing third behind winner Seton Hall Prep and runner-up Newark Academy.

The girls were led by some key performances.

Junior Ela Habjan placed first in 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke and was awarded the Cullen Jones Most Valuable Swimmer award while senior Lily Foung finished first in the 100-meter breaststroke. So far this season, Foung has also been part of a winning relay team in the 200m freestyle relay and a second-place 200m medley relay team, and she took third in the 200m individual freestyle against Caldwell.

Sophomore Lily Miklaszewski took first in the 50m freestyle with a time of 24.70,

Miklaszewski took second in the 50m freestyle and 100m breaststroke against Tenafly, while Habjan took first in the 100m backstroke, 100m freestyle and 200m medley and 400m freestyle relays against Caldwell.

As far as relays went at the county meet, the relay A team won all three relays while setting a new county record in the 200 meter medley relay race where the team of Habjan, freshman Reagan Gilligan, sophomore Carly Frank and Miklaszewski finished with a time of 1:47.34.

From left, Ela Habjan, Reagan Gilligan, Carly Frank and Lily Miklaszewski, winners and new record-setters in the 200m medley relay at the county meet.
Courtesy Raquel Wall
From left, Ela Habjan, Reagan Gilligan, Carly Frank and Lily Miklaszewski, winners and new record-setters in the 200m medley relay at the county meet.
Courtesy Raquel Wall
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The 200m freestyle relay featured a team composed of three freshmen — Avery Dollard, Keira Gilligan and Reagan Gilligan — and junior Caitlin Foung, finishing with a time of 1:47.85.

The last of the three relays was the 400m freestyle relay. Habjan, Frank, Caitlin Foung and Miklaszewski swam that race, and completed it with a time of 3:45.25.

For the boys, Leo Powers finished third in the 200m individual medley and ninth in the 100m breaststroke, while  junior Ian Habjan and senior Marcos Gutierrez finished fourth and fifth in the 50m freestyle, and junior Logan Driever placed fifth in the 500m freestyle and 10th in the 100m backstroke, with senior Vasillos Salatas and freshman Lucas Foung finishing just ahead of Driever at seventh and eighth, respectively. 

It was all fours for the boys relay teams during the meet, with all three squads taking fourth places.

The boys 200m medley relay team of Foung, Powers, Gutierrez and Habjan took fourth with a time of 1:45.09, and the 200m freestyle relay team of Gutierrez, sophomore Eli Muldoon, junior Kal Sobier and Foung finished fourth at 1:36.67. The 400m freestyle relay team took fourth with Driever, Muldoon, Habjan and Powers finishing with a time of 3:31.81.

The girls next face Millburn on Jan. 25 on the road before wrapping up the regular season against Columbia on Jan. 28. The boys face the same opponents to end their regular season.

More importantly, the team will have a chance to compete in the NJSIAA tournament. Teams will be seeded on Feb. 3, with Round 1 taking place on Feb. 8.

Montclair High School swim coach Edward Koenigfest (front, center) holds takes a selfie of the 2021-22 team.
Courtesy Raquel Wall
Montclair High School swim coach Edward Koenigfest (front, center) holds takes a selfie of the 2021-22 team.
Courtesy Raquel Wall
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