After months of construction, the new Community Park Pool opened over Memorial Day weekend to much acclaim.
The Myrtha stainless steel pool boasts new walls and a new floor for the lap pool, an upgraded diving pool with a water slide, a zero-depth entry pool, a wading pool, and a new filtration system.
While the complex made an immediate splash with residents, it has served as a special source of inspiration to a particular group of users — the CP Bluefish swim team.
“Myrtha Pools are designed for very high level swimming and it certainly did not fail to prove that,” said Bluefish head coach Andy Sichet.
“We have broken several old standing records in swim meets and kids just love training in it.”
The Bluefish produced a superb regular season, going 4-1 in dual-meet competition to place second in the Princeton Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) Division I standings.
“With the brand new facility in place, I think we all had high expectations of this years’ swim and dive team,” said Sichet.
“Neither team has disappointed the Princeton community. I am very happy finishing the 2012 summer with a 4-1 record. We certainly made big progress in our speed. Just about every swimmer improved on their original start time by the end of our short season.”
That progress was reflected in how the Bluefish ended the summer as the squad performed well last week in the PASDA championship meet at the Flemington-Raritan Community pool.
“As a team we have improved in overall team scoring points as well as placed better then we have in the prior PASDA championships,” said Sichet, whose team placed fourth of six teams in the competition won by Flemington-Raritan. “I am happy to see any improvement in our swimmers.”
The team’s group of younger girls’ swimmers certainly made Sichet happy as they came up big at the PASDA meet.
Ella Jones, 6, won the girls’ 6-and-under 25-meter freestyle and was second in the 25 backstroke while Madison Csontos, 8, was third in both the 8-and-under 25 free and butterfly. Natalie Hansford, 9, placed first in the 10-and-under 25 backstroke and Grace Hoedemaker, 9, finished second in the 10-and-under 25 butterfly. Eva Petrone, 10, took third in the 10-and-under 25 breaststroke. The combination of Hansford, Petrone, Hoedemaker, and Ria Sharma, 9, won the 10-and-under medley relay.
“Madison Csontos gave us incredible work effort in the summer and Natalie Hansford was one of the best swimmers,” said Sichet.
“Eva Petrone was dedicated and provided great team support. We can always count on Grace Hoedemaker for points in almost any event.”
The team’s corps of older girls swimmers piled up plenty of points in the PASDA meet.
Madeline Hoedemaker, 11, won the girls’ 12-and-under fly and placed second in both the 100 individual medley and 50 free while Kate McLaughlin, 12, placed third in the 100 IM, 50 fly, and 50 back. Nicole Kratzer, 17, finished fourth in both the 18-and-under 50 breast and 50 butterfly while Charlotte Singer, 14, took third in the 14-and-under breast.
“Kate McLaughlin improved dramatically over the summer and Charlotte Singer has been at every meet and we see improvement every day,” added Sichet. “Nicole Kratzer was a coach and swimmer this year.
Sichet saw some dramatic results from his younger boy swimmers. Jaxon Petrone, 8, won the boys’ 8-and-under 100 IM and the 25 free and placed second in the 25 back while Alosha Darenkov, 8, took second in both the 8-and-under 100 IM and 25 breast and fourth in the 25 free. Gefen Bar-Cohen, 9, won the boys’ 10-and-under 25 free and took second in the 25 breast while Daniel King, 5, took second in the 6-and-under 25 back.
Oliver Hunsbedt, 12, won both the boys’ 12-and-under 100 IM and 50 breast while Eric Li, 12, took second in the 12-and-under 25 back and Noah Chen, 14, took fourth in both the boys’ 14-and-under 100 IM and 50 free.
“Bar-Cohen came in late but you can depend on him to score points,” added Sichet. “Petrone had stepped up; he has become a key racer for us. Hunsbedt is one of our liveliest kids; he is a great character and he gets everyone excited about racing.”
Not to be outdone, CP’s older male swimmers made a major impact at the PASDA competition.
Princeton High boys’ swim star Will Stange, 15, won the boys’ 18-and-under back and took second in the 100 IM and 50 free. Matthew Shanahan, 15, placed fourth in the both 18-and-under 100 IM and 50 back while Jake Valente, 18, took second in the 18-and-under 50 breast, third in the 50 free, and fourth in the 50 back.
“Will is Will; he is an incredible year round swimmer,” said Sichet of rising junior Stange, who helped the PHS boys’ swimming team go undefeated last winter on the way to the program’s first state title.
“It is a privilege to have him on the team. He is one of our biggest assets. Jake Valente has been with us all the way through high school. We are very happy that he continued his tradition of success with the Bluefish.”
As Sichet reflects on the summer, he is as proud of the attitude displayed by his swimmers around the deck as their success in the pool.
“With the combination of a brand new top of the line facility, warm weather, wonderful age-group coaches, larger-than-ever team, the spirit on the Bluefish team was the best I have ever seen,” asserted Sichet.