Sparta HS girl swimmers look ahead


Freshman Miranda Doller does the 100M Fly in 1:02.

By Rose Sgarlato
SPARTA — Sparta High School Girls Swim team placed an overall fourth among 12 teams in the Hunterdon Warren Sussex County Swimming Championships on Jan.27.
The event took place at Phillipsburg Elementary School in Phillipsburg NJ. Eight girls qualified for the competition but only six attended: Bridget Hilgendorff, Alexis Faria, Chloe Rippey, Miranda Doller, Michaela Bleakley and Carissa Song.
The girls' 200 Medley Relay swam by seniors Bridget Hilgendorff (backstroke), Chloe Rippey (breaststroke), Alexis Faria (butterfly) and freshman Miranda Doller (freestyle) placed an overall second in this event.The girls' 400 Freestyle Relay included Rippey, Hilgendorff, Doller, and Faria who set a new school record with a 3:48.71while taking second place. And more recently on Feb.5, they beat Kittatinny in the first round of the state championships.
Like most swimmers, these young women have been at it since 8 years old and younger practicing six days a week in the pool all year round belonging to different Northern New Jersey club teams. Some of them will be going on to swim at college.
Sparta Independent talked to a few of the swimmers.
Alexis Faria started swimming competitively at 4 years old. The senior is excited about possibly going into the first state championship and beating her own 200 M freestyle record on Jan 27 at 1:57.06 shaving off two-and-a half seconds. In the beginning of the season, she broke a 50 Freestyle record at 25.09.
“Usually when I am in the pool, I know every point counts and everything adds up,” said Faria.
Faria is looking forward to the Meet of Championships in March and swimming for Bucknell University in September.
Chloe Rippey’s specializes in breast stroke and placed second in the 200M on Jan.27 and is proud of the team's almost undefeated record until a loss to Pope John by only four points. Her club team is Lakeland Hills YMCA.
Swimmers breathing down Rippey’s neck is what motivates her.
“Competition pumps me up-it sends adrenaline through my body which pushes me to go faster and try harder to try and beat them,” she said.
The adrenaline factor won’t end as Rippey goes on to attend Liberty University in Lynchburg VA to swim on the Divisional 1 team.
Bridget Hilgendorff does backstroke and freestyle swimming for Randolph YMCA (RANY.) She is excited about beating Kittatinny in the first state rounds and is optimistic about the next step.
“It’s been awesome breaking more records then past years, and it would be great to win Thursday and get past the second round.”
Hilgendorff will major in biology at Connecticut College next fall but unlike her fellow seniors , she is on the fence about swimming there.
Last, but certainly not least is freshman Miranda Doller, age 14 who is a freestyle and butterfly swimmer. Doller’s travels everyday to swim for Scarlett Aquatics in Morristown. Her favorite race is the 100 Fly and her recent best time was 1:02.
Swimming for the high school is a new experience for Doller in terms of contributing to the whole.
“I like swimming for the team and for other people knowing that I am giving the team more points,” said Doller. “It’s hard to always lower your time-I do my best. If I don’t succeed in lowering my times, I have to accept it. It’s an individual sport too and things have to come together for you.”
Certainly Doller like her teammates is in the fast lane to a bright future.
And the overall bond, like any team, seems even more prevalent giving the amount of time these athletes are together.
“The friendships that I have made along the way and the feeling of support it gives you has been great. And It’s satisfying to know you have done so well,” added Rippey.