The River Dell/Westwood Swim Team faced off Paramus High School last night for their final meet of the season and the Lady Hawks came out on top while the Golden Hawks fell short to the Spartans.
“It was bittersweet because all of my best friends are from swimming," senior Shannon Hogan said. "To know that the reason we met was ending is sad.”
Seniors Pete Mari, Brendan O’Connell, Tim Barnes, Shannon Hogan, Albert Figueiredo, Greg Stengel, Liam Oberlander, Nicole Alvarez, Maddy Pizzuto, Laurel Passaretti, Emily Chack, Jennie Mantell, Emily Rizzo, Brianna Devine, and Kim Evan will all be missed next season. However, they ended the season on a good stroke.
To start the night off, the girls 200 medley relay claimed the second, third and sixth spots as senior Laurel Passaretti swam the freestyle leg to get their relay team third place. An all senior relay by Emily Chack, Jennie Mantell, Emily Rizzo, and Nicole Alvarez picked up sixth while the all underclassman group of Lienne Barisse, Emily Reynolds, Sophia Scholes, and Emma Scholes placed second.
“Its’ so sad to leave the sport that I have been competing in since I was five,” Laurel Passaretti shared. “Even though our time in the pool together will be over, we’ll still be a family outside of the pool.”
An impressive Girls’ 100 free by Maddy Toohey, Sophia Scholes and Brianna Devine established an impressive 100 free finish claiming the first through third slots.
In the 400 Free Relay senior Maddy Pizzuto, Gabi Denicola, Emily Reynolds, and Maddy Toohey earned first place. Third place was taken by Sophia Scholes, Daniela Zambrano, Kylie Kuizema, and Julia Lombardi.
“It’s definitely sad that this was my last meet and last time competing on such an amazing team full of amazing hardworking people,” Maddy Pizzuto admitted. “I always want to succeed personally but more importantly I wanted the team to succeed.”
Senior Liam Oberlander swam his way to first place for the 50 Free and 100 Fly to lead the Golden Hawks.
“I hate leaving because I feel like RD/WW is starting to build up its team again and all I can do is hope for the best,” Oberlander said.
After breaking his leg in the fall, Tim Barnes gave up basketball and took to the pool this winter. The switch proved a great move as he managed fourth place in the 50 free.
“My team really accepted me and showed me how to do everything that I needed to know," Barnes said. "I will miss the camaraderie with the team.”
As Pete Mari placed third in the 100 Fly last night, he helped RD/WW receive some points by placing second in the 200 Medley Relay with Liam Oberlander, Albert Figueiredo, and Steven Akdamir.
“I’m very happy and proud to be part of this team.” Mari said. “I’m just a swimmer with a dream and a goal. There’s a burning passion between swimming and I. I don’t think I can give it up.”
Early morning practices really had a positive effect on the swimmers as the girls finished with a 9-2 record for the season. The boys completed their 2012-13 campaign with an 0-9 record.
Brendan O’Connell admitted “As odd as this say sound, I am actually going to really miss waking up at 4:30 am for 5:00 am practice. It was an all-around phenomenal environment to be around.”
Additional seniors Greg Stengel, Albert Figueiredo, and Nicole Alvarez expressed their departure from the team.
“Going into high school I would have never expected that I would be on the swim team," Stengel said. "I can proudly say joining the swim team was one of the greatest choices of my life.”
Albert Figueiredo added “My goals were to have swim and have as much fun as possible.” “I’m definitely going to miss the coaches, they were both awesome and they really love what they do.”
And, Nicole Alvarez concluded “The friendship I made through swim team can never be replaced and the overall experience of being on the RD/WW swim team was truly amazing.”
As the seniors leave, there are high hopes for next season.
“I’m so upset about the seniors leaving,” junior Kylie Kuizema said. “Next year I’m looking forward to another fun season with a lot of wins.”