SEWELL – There were swimmers with more experience and some with more notoriety, but you would be hard-pressed to find two swimmers who accomplished more at the South Jersey Coaches Invitational Saturday than Jake Narvid and Matt Murphy.
The two Gloucester Catholic underclassmen combined to win three individual events including one in meet record time in Division B at the Gloucester County Institute of Technology Saturday afternoon.
Narvid, a sophomore, won both the 200 free and 500 free in personal best time, while Murphy, Narvid's classmate, won the 100 breast in a meet record time.
Narvid just touched out Mainland senior Brett Clauhs to win the 200. Narvid hit the touch pad in 1 minute, 47.60 seconds while Clauhs was right there at 1:47.62.
The finish in the 500 wasn’t as hectic, but it was Narvid who made sure of that. He sprinted out to a nice lead and maintained it for 300 yards. During the next 100, Haddon Township senior Ryan Brennan started to close the gap and was within a body length turning into the final 100 yards, but Narvid had another gear and powered his way through that last 100, building on his lead again to win the race by more than five seconds. Narvid finished in 4:42.54.
“Everything is a sprint,” Narvid said. “Of course the 500 it is more the first half being the sprint and the back half you’re powering through it. I saw him (Brennan) coming up that’s why I knew I had to split faster on the way back. That’s why I thought it would be an all-out sprint. I knew I had to keep pushing it as much as possible.”
After finishing third in the 200 IM behind Mainland’s Destin Lasco and Nate Hays of Ocean City, Murphy went in as the top seed in the breast. His seed time of 58.48 was faster than the record of 58.96 set in 2016 by Delsea’s Nick Lyons. Murphy’s winning time of 58.74, while not quite his seed time, was good enough to take down the record.
“I was the first seed, but I knew there was still going to be strong competition,” Murphy said. “The weakest part of my race has always been the (underwater) pull out on the turn. I knew if I nailed that I had a chance to be in good shape in the race.”
From here on out, the meets carry added significance and it becomes more important to put in the work and be ready to swim fast. On Monday, Gloucester Catholic swims in the Tri-County Conference Championship meet and it has Bishop Eustace in a double-dual next Saturday. The playoffs will follow shortly after that and, then, finally individual states.
Murphy knows exactly what it’ll take.
“I know it’s going to be fiercely competitive,” he said. “I am going to have to bring my “A” game.”