August 9, 2017

Despite Being Outnumbered at PASDA Meet, Nassau Swim Club Finished Third in Division 2

SO GOOD: Nassau Swim Club’s Sophia Burton shows her breaststroke form in a meet this summer. Burton helped the Lemmings place third in Division 2 at the recently-held Princeton Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) championship meet. Burton took first in the 12-and-under 100 individual medley and second in both the 50 freestyle and 50 butterfly. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

It would be understandable if the Nassau Swimming Club Lemmings felt like they were in over their heads as they competed in the Princeton Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) championship meet last month.

The Lemmings were vastly outnumbered by many of the clubs on hand for the meet at the Community Park pool at Princeton on July 24 and 25.

But showing that quality can overcome quantity, the Lemmings placed third in Division 2.

“We did fantastic, I think we performed way above our team size in the championship meet,” said Nassau head coach Logan Barnes, who is in his second year guiding the Lemmings and is a rising senior at The College of New Jersey and a star for its men’s swimming team.

“Some of these bigger teams have 200-plus people on them, we are a team of around 45. We were keeping up with them for the most part.”

It was hard to keep up with Nassau’s corps of younger girl swimmers. Nava Brenner-Witten took first in the 6-and-under 25 yard freestyle and third in the 25 backstroke and aged up to take third in the 8-and-under butterfly with Jenna Barry taking second in both the 6-and-under 25 free and 25 back.

“Jenna and Nava swam extremely well for being as young as they are, their technique is crazy,” said Barnes.

“They train harder than most of the people on our team at such a young age. I think if they keep swimming for their whole life, they are going to have extremely fruitful careers.”

In the 8-and-under girls, Nassau got some fruitful efforts as well. Juliet Wei took first in the 25 breaststroke and 25 fly while Anya Gordeev finished third in the 25 back and fifth in the 8-and-under 25 free.

“Juliet Wei is awesome; she is super shy but once she gets in the pool, it is a totally different story,” said Barnes.

“Anya is great too. Our older kids practice 8 to 9:30 in the morning and the younger kids practice 9:30-11. Anya is in the second group at practice but she routinely came early to the first practice and she would help me coach. It was good to see.”

The 12-and-under girls proved to be another good group for the Lemmings. Sophia Burton took first in the 100 individual medley and second in both the 50 free and 50 fly while Kimberly Wei won the 50 back, took third in the 50 breast, and fourth in the 50 fly.

“Sophia and Kimberly swim year round, everyone in that group is extremely hard working,” said Barnes.

“They are always happy to be at practice, that kind of fades off as they get older. Those guys have definitely kept with it with all of their hard work.”

As for the team’s older girls, Margaret Hill and Rachel Adlai-Gail have kept at it. Hill placed second in the 14-and-under 50 fly and third in both the 14-and-under 50 free and the 50 back while Rachel Adlai-Gail finished first in the 18-and-under 50 fly, second in the 18-and-under 100 IM, and third in the 50 free.

“I know Rachel has been swimming at Nassau since she was two or three years old,” said Barnes, noting that Adlai-Gail’s older sister, Becca, served as one of his assistant coaches this summer.

“She swims with a year round club, she is talented. Margaret is great too, she always comes to practice on time. She is always helping out the younger kids. You can tell that she takes the team seriously but in a lighthearted way. It is good to see that.”

It was good for Nassau to have Stephen Baytin in the 6-and-under boys as he took first in the both the 25 free and 25 back in that division. “Stephen got the high point award for his age group,” said Barnes.

In the 8-and-under boys, Will Kovalick and Sinjin Scozzaro provided energy and production. Kovalick took second in the 25 free and third in the 25 fly while Scozzaro was fourth in the 25 free and fifth in the 25 breast.

“Scozzaro and Kovalick are both a blast in practice, they definitely work hard,” said Barnes. “I love to see those guys out there.”

In the 10-and-under boys’ group, Alex Burton gave the Lemmings some yeoman’s work, taking third in both the 10-and-under 100 IM and 25 breast and helping the 100 medley relay place first and 100 free relay finish third.

“Alex helps out with the relays in the 10-and-under group,” added Barnes.

“We had extremely good relay showings in 10-and-under and 8-and under boys this year at championships.”

Like his younger brother, Stephen, Daniel Baytin was a dominant force. He took first in the 12-and-under 100 IM, the 50 free, and the 50 breast.

“Daniel Baytin also got MVP for the 11/12s, usually he is in two or three individual events,” said Barnes, noting that Baytin is a year-round swimmer who competes for the X-Cel club.

“If he does two individual events, we will put him in two relays. If has three individuals, we will put him in one relay.”

Another standout in that age group was Coll Wight, who took third in both the 50 breast and 50 free and placed fifth in the 100 IM.

“Coll has been doing very well in the pool, he also swims year round,” said Barnes.

The pair of Sam Golbin and Will Kinney did very well in boys’ 18-and-under category, Golbin took second in the 100 IM, third in the 50 fly, and fifth in the 50 free while Kinney placed first in both the 50 breast and the 50 fly and second on the 50 free.

“Sam Golbin is new, this is his first year on Nassau and this is his last eligible year,” said Barnes.

“He has done so much work for us in one season in an age group where we are typically pretty weak. It was great to have him this year. Will is actually my other assistant coach. He always comes to the meets in his coaching attire and wears a suit underneath. He swims his races and he doesn’t bring a towel, he just throws his sweats back on. He balances both very well, he is great to have as a coach.”

In reflecting on his coaching experience with the Lemmings, Barnes appreciated how his swimmers balance work and fun.

“I would say Nassau, especially for me, is a big family,” said Barnes. “People come to the pool and stay there all day, every day for the entire summer. The kids want to be there. It is not like we are one of those huge clubs that just turns out numbers of swimmers and excellent results. I think we are much more than that.”