Montclair Kimberley swimming, big showing for a small team at Essex County tourney
When the dust settled, the Montclair Kimberley girls swimming team ended up beating teams that had several more swimmers at the recent Essex County Championships.
The Cougars finished sixth in the county girls swimming team standings even though they only had six swimmers competing on Jan. 16 at New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.
While the MKA girls team has a total of 13 swimmers, the MKA boys only had two compete in the championships and have six boys in the program. In dual meets as of last week, the Cougar girls were 2-2 and the boys were 1-4.
Montclair Kimberley head coach Gretchen Ievers was very happy with the girls results at the county meet.
"I was thrilled with a sixth-place finish for the girls, last year we placed 10th," Ievers said. "It was a great showing."
The boys had two juniors who competed, Tyler Davis (200 individual medley, 2:35.57) and Payam Ekrami (50 freestyle, 27.39).
Ievers will have more team members starting next season, as there is a good crop of swimmers at MKA middle school.
"I was worried about the depth of our program," the coach said. "I have been very impressed with how the girls team has committed to working hard. I’m excited that we have been able to secure wins early this season. We’ve already seen so much improvement."
Senior Lindsay Driever contributed mightily to the county team results. Driever had the best finish at the county meet, a third in the 500 freestyle with a season team-best time of 5:23.27. She also came in fourth in the 200 freestyle with a season-best 2:00.18.
Driever also pitched in for Montclair Kimberley's 200 individual medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay teams that came in seventh and fourth, respectively.
As part of the 400 freestyle relay, Driever and the other three MKA swimmers (3:52.75) were three seconds from catching Mount St. Dominic for second place. The other three Cougars swimmers were freshman Sasha Steele, junior Hannah Ewing and sophomore Marin Ievers, the coach’s daughter.
It was in the 500 freestyle where Montclair Kimberley had its best result, with three swimmers finishing in the top 11. Along with Driever's third, Ewing came in sixth (5:23.27) and Ievers was 11th (5:46.22).
After Driever, Ewing had the next-best individual result, as she came in fifth in the 200 freestyle (2:01.63).
Steele had an impressive debut in the county meet, where she came in sixth and eighth in the 50 freestyle (26.25) and 200 individual medley (2:20.50), respectively. The Cougars also have another up-and-coming freshman in Maren Wheeler, who was part of the 200 medley relay team that finished seventh (2:03.07). Wheeler also came in 12th in the 100 breast stroke (1:17.43) and 17th in the 200 freestyle (2:15.54).
Montclair Kimberley swimming results Essex County Championships
(Jan. 16 at New Jersey Institute of Technology)
200 Medley Relay
7. Sophomore Marin Ievers, freshman Maren Wheeler, senior Lindsay Driever, junior Hannah Ewing, 2:03.07
4. Lyndsay Driever, senior, 2:00.18
5. Hannah Ewing, junior, 2:01.63
17. Marin Wheeler, freshman, 2:15.54
200 Individual Medley
8. Sasha Steele, freshman, 2:20.50
6. Sasha Steele, freshman, 26.25
14. Phoebe Hirsh, sophomore, 1:00.53
3. Lindsay Driever, senior, 5:16.88
6. Hannah Ewing, junior, 5:23.27
11. Marin Ievers, sophomore, 5:46.22
12. Marin Ievers, sophomore, 1:07.09
20. Phoebe Hirsh, sophomore, 1:09.45
12. Maren Wheeler, freshman, 1:17.43
400 Freestyle Relay
4. Freshman Sasha Steele, sophomore Marin Ievers, junior Hannah Ewing, senior Lindsay Driever, 3:52.75
200 Individual Medley
22. Tyler Davis, junior, 2:35.57
32. Payam Ekrami, junior, 27.39