By Rich Fisher
When it comes to the town of Princeton and the sport of swimming, it’s kind of like meshing peanut butter and jelly.
It always goes great together.
This summer, it was better than ever. The Community Park Swim Club of Princeton enjoyed another outstanding season in the Princeton Area Swimming and Diving Association, as the swim team went 4-1 in the regular season, and the diving team went 4-0. The swim team is in Division I. The diving team is in Division II.
Not only that, but the Bluefish set a team record for competitors, which are predominantly homegrown products.
“This year’s team is by far the largest group we have ever had with 190 participants,” coach Andy Sichet said. “With the perfect coaches, fantastic parent volunteers, and Community Park staff, the 2012 year has been the smoothest team to head coach. With the brand new facility in place, I think we all had high expectations of our swim and dive team. Neither team has disappointed the Princeton community.”
With Princeton recreation executive director Ben Stentz looking on, the new pool re-opened in May after extensive renovations made it the place to be on hot summer days. Named after Stentz and the two previous rec executive directors, Don Barr and Jack Roberts, the pool has been christened Barrobertstenz. Its improvements no doubt helped draw even more swimmers to the PASDA team. The Bluefish squad consists of numerous Princeton High swimmers and, as witnessed by the Little Tigers’ success this past winter, Community Park is providing an outstanding feeder system.
Sichert inherited the program three years ago from Mark and Amy Coleman, who ran it for a few years after the long tenure of Princeton High coach Greg Hand.
“I spoke with coach Hand this summer about the large legacy he left and the success of the PHS swim team,” said Sichet, a former swimmer for the powerful St. Joe’s of Metuchen program. “Most of our high school swimmers are PHS swimmers.”
Princeton has long been a hotbed of swimming, and it starts at an early age. When it comes to Community Park, the participants are having fun, but do maintain an intensity sometimes not seen at the rec level.
“Our population is very much focused,” Sichet said. “They know that by working hard, reward is within reach. Most kids come to practice all five days per week, and every meet we had close to a full team attendance.”
Sichet oversees both the swimming and diving programs and is assisted by Mike Uchrin, Sarah Miller, Justin Petrozzini, Jesse Lieberman, Emily DeClement, Kasey Sohmer and Victoria Freeland. The coach notes that this year’s main point producers were Natalie Hansford, Gabriel Bar-Cohen and Gefen Bar-Cohen, Madeline Hoedemaker, Hannah Ash, Charlotte Singer, Will Stange and Jake Valente “to just name a few we can always count on winning events.”
Despite the fact that Community Park is a recreation summer team, which is more low key than competitive club teams, the Bluefish still get their share of studs.
“We have a mixture of swimmers,” Sichet said. “From kids who swim only in the summertime to yearround club swimmers. The truth is that all levels have contributed to our successful season. But as a summer recreation team, our mission statement is to introduce kids to a wonderful sport that rewards individual performance as well as learning to compete as a team. Our primary focus is proper strokes and speed.”
The complete team roster is as follows: Winnie Naggar, Clara McClintock, Morgan Linsley, Hannah Ash, Paul Lacava, Alyssa Lacava, Philip Lacava, Hunter Allen, Gwendolynn Allen, Ella Jones, Andrej Elez, Leah Thompson, Emily Bauser, Emily Becker, Katharine Becker, Isabella Diggan, Kate McLaughlin, Derek Decker, James Patten, Emma Hastrup, Chris Hastrup, David Lawrence, Allie Rho, Matthew Shanahan, Aiden Rose, Ava Rose, Caroline Sullivan, Heather Wertenbaker.
Jackson Burden, Margaret Schrayer, Taylor Whittington, Maggie Lynch, Jack Lynch, Grace Lynch, Oliver Hunsbedt, Regitze Dalsgaard Zdravkovic, Gustav Dalsgaard Zdravkovic, Taryn Wilcox, Aleigh Meredith, Harry Meredith, Teddy Meredith III, Aavya Srivastava, Sarah Taylor, Guillermo Velez, Maya Ferguson.
Sophia Navarrete, Nathaniel Boutross, Bobby Ahmad, Ruby Reynerston, Sophia Craver, Alana King, Daniel King, Caleb Wagner, Kylie Jones, Madison Csontos, Annabella Kirk, Elizabeth Blizzard, Madeline Hoedemaker, Grace Hoedemaker, William Stange, Taketeru Numata, Ayaka Numata, Ingrid Kuribayashi, Eric Li, Brendon Li, Hanna Svenson, Maxwell Svenson. Ria Sharam, Dhruv Sharma, William Allan, Emily Hancock, Gabriella Morabito, Erin Kiesewetter Soren Beeson, Camille Beeson, Lisa Knigge, Julia Knigge, Peter Knigge, Bridget Lawn, Lily Rooney, Isabella Phillips, William Phillips, Myles Ryan, Marko Elez, Stefan Elez, Jessica Johnson, Maddie Johnson, Camila Smith, Noah Chen, Thomas Galvin, Anna Galvin, Anna Hiltner, Natalie Hansford.
Derek Hansford, Joey Goldstein, Sofia Manekia, Rocio Soto, Phoebe Olszewski, Ally Tracchi, Thibaut DeVico, Stephen Kratzer, Jason Kratzer, Nicole Kratzer, Katherine Montanari, Georgia Johnson, Julian Velazquez, Audrey You, Matthew Hawes.
Hailey Hawes, Jenifer Miller, Brett Torgerson, Jackson Miller, Charlotte Singer, Grayson Shanley Barr, Chris Declement, Owen Brown, Julia Brown, Grace Brown, Cole Valente, Lydia Buckley, Emily Buckley, Abigail Buckley, Kathryn Frawley, Theodore Darenkov, Alosha Darenkov, Emily Rounds, Jonathan Petrozzini, Abby Walden, Amelia Emison, Oliva Rist. Lili Dudas, Lora Brand, Noa Brand, Isabelle Clayton, Ava Mitchell, Grace Ghunt, Claire Decker, Lydia Griebell, Faythe Endres, Kirstin Carter, Robyn Carter, Coc Mi, Eva Petrone, Jaxon Petrone, Lydia Cohen, Gabriel Bar-Cohen, Abigail Pitarresi, Gefen Bar-Cohen.
Lucy Kreipke, Charles Elliott, Jordan Petrone, Gabriella Poniz, Camilla Poniz, Megan Lynch, Arshdeep Singh, Tara Shawa, Rhea Bhatt, Macy Geller, Jake Valente and Janna Dutaud.