HomeHaddonfield NewsFontaine closes out high school career on high note at Meet of...

Fontaine closes out high school career on high note at Meet of Champions


Haddonfield Memorial High School senior swimmer Sophie Fontaine has achieved a lot during her time as a Bulldawg.

Her appearance at the 2016 NJSIAA Meet of Champions was the fourth in her career. In her first three years, she had swum in five finals at Meet of Champions as an individual or part of a relay team. She owns multiple school records and helped the Bulldawgs to back-to-back sectional championships in 2015 and 2016.

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However, one achievement missing from Fontaine’s resume was a Meet of Champions gold medal.

In 2015, Fontaine came up short three times, finishing second in the 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke and as part of Haddonfield’s 200-yard medley relay.

Returning to Meet of Champions for her final high school meet, Fontaine would not be denied.

Fontaine finally won an individual state title, finishing in first place in the 100-yard backstroke finals on Feb. 28. Fontaine swam a time of 0:54.61, beating second-place Caroline Gmelich of Trinity Hall by a little more than a second and coming up just 0.22 seconds short of the meet record.

“It was a sense of relief,” Fontaine said. “It was a bittersweet moment, knowing that it was over. But obviously it was exciting.”

Fontaine has had a distinguished swimming career. In addition to being one of Haddonfield’s fastest swimmers during her career, Fontaine has been a key swimmer with South Jersey Aquatic Club for more than a decade. She also swims with Haddon Glen Swim Club in the summer and owns two Tri-County Swimming Pool Association records in the 100-yard freestyle and 50-yard backstroke.

Despite her past successes, Fontaine was extra motivated this season after coming up just tenths of a second short of gold at last year’s Meet of Champions.

“It was definitely something that motivated me,” Fontaine said. “I remember what it felt like last year.”

To help cut her times down a little bit more, Fontaine worked on nuances and technical details in her swimming, hoping a few small changes would make a big difference in the pool.

“I really worked on specific things,” she said. “Focusing on the little things to help me drop time in backstroke.”

Fontaine admitted she was a bit more nervous than usual entering the meet. Not only was it the biggest meet of the season, but also it was her last one swimming for her high school team.

Prior to swimming in the 100-yard backstroke final on Sunday, Fontaine competed in the finals of the 200-yard freestyle. In that event, she wound up in third place, finishing behind a pair of Ocean City High School swimmers, Amanda Nunan and Maggie Wallace.

Fontaine admitted she was disappointed coming up short in the freestyle, but she was able to regain her focus.

“It was disappointing at first,” she said. “But I was looking afterward to the backstroke.”

In her final individual race, Fontaine saved the best for last. She shaved a few tenths of a second off her preliminary time to grab the win.

Overall, Fontaine was happy with her Meet of Champions performance. In addition to top-three finishes in the individual events, she was part of the Bulldawgs fourth-place 200-yard medley relay team and sixth-place 400-yard freestyle relay team.

Fontaine admitted while it was fun to win an individual title this season, it’s hard to compare it with the team sectional championship Haddonfield won earlier in February.

“Obviously, the personal victories are great to have,” Fontaine said. “But it’s so different having the team. It’s so much more fun swimming with your team.”

Fontaine will remain a Bulldog for the next four years, as she will be going to Yale University in the fall. Fontaine described Yale as a school where she would be able to balance academics with swimming best.

“Out of all the schools I looked at, it’s the place I felt I would be best supported as both an athlete and a student,” Fontaine said.


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