This story was written and contributed to The Jefferson Chronicle by Jefferson Township High School student Tyler Delp.

Captain Ani Bahl comes up big in the meet of the year as the Boys Varsity Swim Team faced off against the Kittatinny Cougars in a very even match-up on December 19th, the Jefferson Falcons were looking to soar with a win over the Kittatinny Cougars at Kittatinny High School.

From the first horn, the meet was off to a hot start, with the Falcons team of T. DenBleyker / W. Barnish / A. Bahl / C. Obaytek taking first place. The Falcons also followed up by getting third place in the relay to give Jefferson the early lead over the Cougars. The 200-yard freestyle was taken by Ani Bahl of Jefferson to extended the Falcons lead. “I knew that the best of their swimmers were yet to swim, so I knew the pressure would fall on our swimmers in the later events,” Bahl said relating to his hot start to the meet. But the Cougars would not back down, earning first place in every single event after the Bahl win.

At the intermission, the Falcons were leading by eight points and looking to capitalize the lead and pull through with a win. “I felt like it was going to be tough to hold them off, but we definitely could push through and keep it close,” Falcons swimmer Kyle Thomas said.

The meet was coming down to the wire as the Falcons were trying to hold onto the lead that they had since the opening horn. The final two races were nothing short of action-packed. The boys 100-yard breaststroke was the last individual race of the meet, with the meet tied up at 70. Sean Sharma of Kittatinny came in clutch with a first-place finish with a time of 1:12.47, but the Jefferson boys did not shy away from the moment and got 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place to put Jefferson up 79-77 going into the final race of the meet.

“We saw that the meet was going to be very close, so everybody on the team stepped up and swam a lot of best times,” Tim DenBleyker said. The entire meet came down to the final race of the day up next, the 400 freestyle relay. The relay team from Kittatinny of S. Stolyarov / R. Newell / S. Sharma / J. Riva took first place but the Jefferson boys got second and third which resulted in the meet ending in a tie, the team’s second tie in the past three seasons.

The Jefferson Falcons will next face off against Hackensack on January 6th, and look to continue their exceptional swimming.

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