By BRIAN CUNNIFF
The Cape May Tech girls swimming team did it again.
Two days after winning a state playoff meet for the first time in program history, the Lady Hawks went on the road and stunned a higher-seeded opponent to advance into the tournament’s third round.
Cape May Tech, seeded sixth in the South Jersey Public C Tournament, got second- and third-place finishes in the final event, the 400 freestyle relay, to squeeze out an 86-84 victory over third-seeded Woodstown Thursday evening.
“It was insane,” Tech coach Dawn Dudley said by cell phone during the team’s bus ride home from Woodstown. “It was up and down the entire meet. They were winning, then we were winning. Then they were winning and then we were winning. It went like that the whole time. It literally came down to the last relay. We needed at least second and third and the girls did exactly what they needed to do. I’m so happy for them.”
The victory brings the Lady Hawks back to their home pool, where they’ll swim against second-seeded Middle Township on Monday for the right to advance to the South Jersey title meet. Middle earned byes through the first two rounds. Middle and Cape May Tech share the Special Services School District’s aquatics facility. Middle will officially be the home team for Monday’s meet, which is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start.
“Honestly, our girls wanted it so bad,” Dudley said. “After winning the other day, all they talked about was getting back home to swim against Middle. They had that mindset that they wanted to be there.”
Ruby Redmond, Savannah Bruno, Cameron Muir and Lindsay Robbins made up the 400 freestyle relay team that finished second for Cape May Tech (6-2). They broke the school record they set in the playoff win over Cedar Creek, posting a time of 4:11.19.
Jackie Garcia, Catie Teefy, Nicole Wright and Jacque Jamison were the swimmers in Tech’s third-place relay team.
Robbins, Bruno, Muir and Alyssa Hicks made up the winning 200 freestyle relay team. And Robbins placed first in the 200 freestyle and second in the 100 backstroke.
“It was very exciting,” said Robbins, a sophomore. “It was such a close meet throughout the whole thing. We just really wanted to win and they pushed us hard and we worked together to get there. … We’d never won a playoff meet before so to win two playoff meets is really exciting for us.”
Redmond added another important first-place finish for Tech, setting a personal-best time of 6:25.21 in the 500 freestyle. She was also second in the 200 individual medley.
And Muir picked up two important second-place finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyle races, both with personal-best times.
“We had so many personal bests today,” Dudley said. “The girls swam their hearts out.”
Cape May Tech and Middle met earlier this season, on Dec. 14. Middle took a 104-66 decision.
The winner of Monday’s meet will qualify for the sectional championship meet for the first time in program history.