While Nassau Lemmings Didn’t Have Great Depth, Club Stepped Up in Maintaining Winning Tradition
While the Nassau Swim Club Lemmings didn’t have as much depth as in past summers, the team lived up to the program’s winning tradition.
The Lemmings went 4-1 in Princeton Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) Division II dual meets, earning a first place tie in the regular season standings.
“We had a great summer; it was very successful considering the numbers,” said Lemmings coach Beth Nagle.
“We were low, particularly in the 12-and-under and the 10-and-under boys. In some meets, we had just three swimmers in those age groups. We ended up in a three-way tie for first. We beat Ben Franklin and then Ben Franklin beat Trenton and Trenton beat us so it was very competitive.”
Nagle saw individual improvement across the board. “Most of our swimmers dropped their times,” said Nagle. “We made a point of working on stroke technique and starts this summer.”
That work paid off last week in the PASDA championship meet at the Flemington Raritan club as the Lemmings produced a number of outstanding swims.
“Looking at the numbers, we had a successful meet,” said Nagle, whose team placed second of six teams at the meet, scoring 2,447 points to trail only Ben Franklin’s total of 3,006. “Every swimmer placed and we had a couple of great relay races.”
One of the club’s top relays came from the younger girls. “The 10-and-under medley relay is one of my all-time favorite relays,” said Nagle, referring to the quartet of Isabelle Monaghan, Serena Bolitho, Ella Caddeau, and Veronique Diblasio.
“They came within a second of the meet record; they are really good. You throw Samantha Campisi in there on the free relay and they don’t lose anything.”
The core of young swimmers has plenty of experience despite being tender in years.
“We have had them since they were young,” said Nagle. “Isabelle Monaghan has her sister Sophia to look up to. We got Ella Caddeau back this year, that was a good addition.”
Nagle got some good work this summer from her older girls as well. “We are so lucky to have the older girls, they are our faithfuls,” asserted Nagle.
“Brigid Diblasio (age 13) and Becca Adlai-Gail (13) are big point scorers for us. We have a really solid under-18 group with Carla Tuan, Sophia Monaghan, and Susanna Tuan.”
Diblasio won both the girls’ 14-and-under 50 backstroke and 50 freestyle at the PASDA meet while Adlai-Gail placed first in the 14-and-under 50 butterfly. Carla Tuan won the girls’ 18-and-under 10 individual medley while Monaghan won the 18-and-under 50 back and took second in the 18-and-under free.
The Lemmings have a big star in the making on the boys’ side in 6-year-old Daniel Baytin, the winner of the 25-meter freestyle and backstroke at the PASDA meet.
“Daniel Baytin set freestyle and backstroke records at the PASDA meet,” said Nagle.
“At the mini-meet, he won all of his 6-and-under events and then went up to the 8-and-under and took second in the medley. Ben has helped us a lot; he juggles baseball with swimming He is a good athlete. Simon Sheppard is another good younger swimmer.”
Nassau got a lot of help through welcoming Matt Kuhlik, a star for the undefeated state champion Princeton High boys’ team who will be swimming for Emory this fall.
“Matt Kuhlik was a wonderful addition,” said Nagle of Kuhlik, who placed first in the boys’ 18-and-under 50 free and second in the 50 back at the PASDA meet.
“He was looking for a job this summer and applied to be a lifeguard. He is a fantastic kid. He coached the 12-and-under boys and they looked up to him. He enjoyed being a role model for them.”
Kuhlik’s PHS teammate, Harun Filipovic, has assumed a big role in the Nassau program for years.
“Harun has grown up around the team; he has been swimming with us since he was four,” said Nagle of the Bucknell-bound star who won both the boys’ 18-and-under 50 back and 50 fly at the PASDA championships. “He set a team record in the 50 butterfly for us.”
Nagle liked the attitude she has seen around the team this summer. “As usual, I think Nassau has the best spirit around,” maintained Nagle.
“The lifeguards grew up around the team and now they are coaches. I heard it a million times this summer, kids saying ‘I want to be a lifeguard and a coach.’ The younger swimmers look up to the coaches and the lifeguards.”
The Nassau swimmers develop some deep bonds through spending a lot of time with each other.
“It is our own world,” said Nagle. “Practice ends at 10 in the morning and a lot of kids stay here until 3. It is like a camp.”
In order to keep that spirit going and increase numbers, Nassau is welcoming non-members to join the Lemmings as they will continue working through the summer in a new program called ‘Swimming Spree in August.’
“We are the only PASDA team that practices through August,” said Nagle.
“This year, it is open to anyone who is interested. We have one-hour practices in the morning and evening. We will have the coaching staff on hand and we will participate in the Bruce Nystrom intrasquad meet at the end.”