Fontbonne Hall Tops BK At Girls CHSAA Championships
The Fontbonne Bonnie swimmers showed a commanding presence last weekend at the GCHSAA girls swimming championships at the Nassau County Aquatics Center. Tallying up the points, the Bonnies took a commanding lead over fellow Brooklyn rivals Bishop Kearney, St. Saviors and St. Edmunds and held on to it, which placed them fourth overall out of 11 teams in the league.
The Bonnies were bouncing back and forth between third and fourth place throughout the entire meet, but came up 16 points short of third place.
Their shortfall was due to three swimmers who fell ill the day before the weekend-long meet began, and were unable to compete.
The team held strong and made their presence known on day one qualifiers with at least three to four members of the team returning for day two in each of the eight individual events.
"We placed extremely well in all races. I was seeing times drop drastically by more than half the team, which got more of the team in for day two and edged out the opportunity for other Brooklyn teams," said Head Coach Laura Shea Delin"
Junior powerhouses Alexa Morrissey and Elaina Anastasio had outstanding performances in the event final. Both placed comfortably in the top eight in their individual events and swam supportive roles in the 200 Medley Relay and 200 Freestyle Relay events.
"Alexa and Elaina come in higher in the standings each year they are with us," said Coach Joe Verponi. "Alexa is the calm solid force, Elaina is the energy ball. She gets everyone excited for their race, including herself and you put them together and watch out."
Michelle Powers, FHA senior captain and three-time MVP of the team, finished sixth in the 100 Backstroke and 50 Freestyle, adding to the overall point total. Michelle also was a major player in the 200 Medley Relay and the 200 Freestyle Relay as well.
"Michelle did great once again at champs," stated Delin.
Senior Justine Macready, whose performance in the 100-yard Butterfly was spectacular all year long, finished sixth overall in the event.
The championship round top finisher for the team was top newcomer, Jennifer Keim. Jennifer came in third in the city in the 500 Yard Freestyle, a grueling 20 lap event, and fourth in the 200 yard freestyle.
"She has become our key long distance swimmer and we are lucky that she can handle her own at the beginning stages of her high school swimming career," said Delin. Keim slashed her times in both events with a personal best of 5:58.45 in the 500 Free. Keim stepped out of the 20 lap event and right back into the 200 Free Relay on day two with Morrissey, Anastasio, and Powers to capture third overall in the 200 Freestyle Relay with a school record breaking time.
As coach Delin was going back and forth on the pool's bulkhead to be behind the diving block with as many of her Bonnies as she could, her team erupted in cheers when she was announced as the recipient of the Girls Catholic High School Athletic Association Coach of the Year for Swimming.
"I couldn't be more pleased. It is a privilege to be able to do what I love and to do it for my alma mater. I work with a great group of people in this league and a wonderful coaching staff."
Delin is supported by Kathi Kocur, KJ Hanley, Joe Verponi and Bill Shea. "I learned to be the best from the best - Mr. Verponi and my father were my coaches when I swam for Fontbonne. They are and continue to be my inspiration."
Delin will be heading into her tenth year of coaching the Bonnie's and is looking forward to remaining in the A division. Fontbonne is one of only two Brooklyn schools to be in the top division. The team gave a final farewell to six graduating seniors. The group was a good core to the team and will be missed.