SFDS Girls Compete In Aquatic Olympics
By Mary Grace Savage
What young athlete doesn’t dream of going to the Olympics to win a medal?
Many of Rockaway’s girls did just that at the CYO Swimming Olympics. This is a different kind of event because the girls are swimming for individual recognition as opposed to scoring points for the team. All of the competition was organized by age group and stroke with 21 teams registering 457 swimmers in Session 1 and even more for Session 2. The meet organizers did a tremendous job and are to be commended.
SFDS got off to a fabulous start with the novice medley relay. Shavon Kelly in back, Chelsea Kellar in breast, Emily Kelly in fly and Sarah Harrs as the free anchor combined for not only the first place gold medal, but they shattered last years medley record by more than 17 seconds. The bantam medley relay was Jordana Cotilletta in back, Brianne Carroll in breast, Devin Nuszer for fly and good old reliable Lauren Atwood for free, combining beautifully for the third place bronze. Catherine Dinerman, Molly McNulty, Kate Magee and Morgan White competed for the novice free relay placing seventh in a field of 17. Patricia Scherpf, Megan Dolan, Marybeth Lograno and Meaghan Judge had even more competition for the bantam free placing seventh out of 21 teams.
Susan Richter swam well for tenth place in novice backstroke. The team had three brave the novice breaststroke with Sarah Donahue getting a medal for fifth, Sarah Duffy stroking for ninth and Jessica Iori gliding for tenth. Bantam free had a huge field of 53 swimmers with Daisy Diehm placing fifth, a fantastic effort by Grace Munns for seventh, Casey Duffy at 15th and Nora Marley 26th.
The girls were really shining in backstroke with Caitlin O’Rourke 19th out of 30, Michele Rudolph 12th, Carolynn Fitzgerald tenth, Lauren Spadaro eighth, Kerry King fifth, and the ever intense Maureen McCluskey with perfect form for first. In bantam breast the team had Allison Blutstein go for 13th in a crew of 23, Casey McCormack with a great time for seventh and a terrific swim for Kelly Werner earning a bronze medal in third. Alanna Quinn was the sole bantam flyer attaining the sixth place award.
Session 2 began with an intense battle in the junior medley. Alyson Lee in back, Keara Savage for breast, Pamela Kellar for fly and a super swim from Samantha Swenson as the free anchor combined for a gold medal. The senior medley was also a close event for Patricia Keenan, Elisa Kearney and Samantha Cotilletta to sneak in at fifth place. The junior 50 free had 39 entries with a terrific show by our girls as Alisha Fiorina swam for 20th, Kathy Muldoon 18th, Christina Comis 16th, and Sheila O’Rourke at 11th. The real star of the event today was Gena Cholakis showing grace, power and beauty in her first place swim.
In junior 50 back, Nora Howard went off for a strong 50 but unfortunately had to try to immediately repeat it because another swimmer had false started. She, as always, rose to the occasion and achieved 12th place out of 28 swimmers. Katie O’Neill had a terrific swim for fourth place and Marisa Rudolph dominated the pool with her gold medal performance by following her own advice to "swim your heart out."
Katie French competed for 28th in the junior breast, with Erin Casey 26th, Katie Scherpf 24th, Courtney Donahue 18th, Amanda Boggiano 9th, and a really impressive job by Patricia Killian swimming for the bronze. In junior fly, Cara O’Donnell did a great job for ninth place, Clare Ollquist looked strong for fifth and Kathleen Firtle was awesome in her swim to third place.
All eyes were on Michelle Ryan for the 100 free. The pressure kept mounting as over and over the team heard the announcements, "she set the junior free record last year", and "She’s going for the senior free record this year". If anyone can take that heat and turn it into speed, it’s Michelle. It was a swim for the books with the gold medal and the record time of 54.77 seconds going to a very deserving young lady.
Meghan Casey competed to 15th place in the senior back. Katelyn McCluskey and Barbara Drozdzik made us proud with their sixth and seventh place swims in the 50 breast. Bridget Mahoney was a powerhouse going for eighth place in the senior fly. For the individual medley, Michele Elefant was strong for fourth place and Christen Mullen did a fabulous job attaining the silver medal. Our junior free relay was up against a strong crowd of 19 teams with Marisa Spadaro, Casey Mulligan, Jenna Boggiano and an amazing effort by Karolina Pormanczuk, who passed four other teams on her final lap, zoomed in for fourth place. The senior free saw great times from Patricia Ollquist, Nicole Dima and Ellen Lynch to place seventh out of 17.
This was a terrific way to end the season, made even better by the wonderful celebration at the appropriately aquatic setting of Kelly’s Waterfront. Many thanks to Annie Kellar for setting that up and for everything else you do. This gave us a chance to express our gratitude to our ninth graders, Elisa Kearney, Jackie Kenel, Christen Mullen, Michelle Elefant, Barbara Drozdzik, and Patricia Ollquist, who will be moving on. We will miss you. We also wanted to say thank you to our "retiring" coach, Marybeth Kearney for her many years of time and service. She will be tough to replace. Nicole Finn is another volunteer we’ll miss as she goes off to college. She filled many spots as coach, volunteer certified lifeguard, and timer. This program has become huge and benefits more than 100 girls in our community. Many thanks to St. Francis de Sales sponsorship, Jim McKeon, Jim Curley and Fr. Lou. It couldn’t be done without the amazing support and dedication of our parent/volunteer coaches like Sean Kellar, Gary Nuszer, Meg Kelly, Kathleen Casey, Marybeth Kearney, Lynne O’Donnell, Verne and Rich McCluskey, all the "phone list people" and my personal timer and "stat" man, Pat Savage. But of course, it always comes down to the kids. They are really the champions.