Normally, teams like Ocean City and Egg Harbor Township are mentioned when talking about the elite girls swimming teams in the Cape-Atlantic League, but this season Mainland Regional has risen to the top, winning nine straight meets to start the season, including convincing victories over both Ocean City and EHT.
And while junior star Katie McClintock has continued to smash school records and grab headlines, senior Grace Gallagher arguably has been the heart and soul of one of the Mustangs’ best teams in recent years.
Our Bunting Family Pharmacy Athlete of the Week not only is one of the top freestyle swimmers in the league, but also an unquestioned team leader and captain. In a 97-73 win over EHT on Tuesday, Gallagher was the anchor for the winning 200 medley relay team and also took first place in the 100 freestyle event.
“We have a lot of new girls this and there’s a really good dynamic between everyone,” Gallagher said after the win. “We work really well together. We’re doing well and motivating each other, and that’s really what’s been driving us. Our hard work is paying off.”
Mainland (9-0) has been handling the competition with relative ease this year, averaging 115 points per meet and scoring more than 100 points in seven of its nine wins. The Mustangs really haven’t even been challenged yet, even against quality teams such as EHT, Ocean City, Atlantic City and Vineland. Only EHT and Ocean City were even able to score more than 60 points against Gallagher and the Mustangs.
Gallagher said the challenge now for Mainland is to continue pushing through the midseason dual meets, as the Stangs prepare for the league championships and state playoffs in February.
“We have to put in the work at practice, for sure, just going at it every day and lifting each other up. It comes in stages and waves, and every person goes through a lull, so we have to motivate each other,” she said. “For every tough meet we have, we just tell each other to do what has to be done. Just get it done, work for the team and we’ll be fine.”