August 14, 2019

Displaying Quality at PASDA Championships, Nassau Swim Club Features 4 MVPs at Meet

BACK IN THE FLOW: Stephen Baytin of the Nassau Swim Club Lemmings shows his backstroke form in a 2017 meet. Last month, Baytin starred at the Princeton-Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) championship meet, earning MVP honors for the Division 2 8-and-under boys. Baytin’s heroics helped the Lemmings place third in the Division 2 team standings at the meet. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Nassau Swim Club Lemmings posted a pedestrian 2-2-1 record in Princeton-Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) dual meet competition this summer, Will Kinney was confident that the team would step up at the season-ending league championship meet.

“We saw the quality of our individual swims in our dual meets,” said Lemmings head coach Will Kinney. “We felt pretty good going into champs.”

Nassau displayed its quality at the PASDA championship meet held at the West Windsor Waterworks. Taking third in the Division 2 standings, four of the team’s boy swimmers earned MVP honors. The Lemmings scored 1,394 points in the two-day meet with the Ben Franklin Swim Team piling up 2,339 points to win the Division 2 title.

One of the team’s youngest swimmers, Vaughn Rodricks, ended up as one of those MVPs, placing first in the 6-and-under 25-meter freestyle and 25 backstroke.

“He is so fast, he is so big,” said Kinney of Rodricks. “If he gets going, he is dominant and fast.”

Another dominant performer for the Lemmings was Stephen Baytin, the MVP in the 8-and-under group, who won the 100 individual medley, 25 free, and the 25 breaststroke.

“He is very technical,” said Kinney. “He tied his older brother’s [Daniel] record in one of the events.”

Two other Nassau swimmers, Garik Zlotchew and Sebastian Rodricks, also showed good technique in the 8-and-unders. Zlotchew won the 25 backstroke and took second in the 100 IM and the 25 butterfly while Rodricks won the 25 fly and placed second in both the 25 free and the 25 breast.

“Those guys swim together in club; they came in right away and knew what they were doing,” said Kinney. “They are a pleasure to coach.”

Will Kovalick produced some good swims in the 10-and-unders, taking third in the 25 free and 25 fly.

“He has been there for all of the years I have been coaching,” said Kinney. “He has just been so consistent.”

As for the 12-and-under boys, Tyler Cenci showed versatility, taking fourth in the 50 free, the 50 breast, and 50 fly. In addition, Sawyer Kinney placed fifth in the 100 IM with Aurav Singhal finishing sixth in the 50 back

“We had a lot of 12-and-under boys age up from our 10 and under boys last year so they were doing 50s this year,” said Kinney. “They all performed really well.”

Daniel Baytin performed extremely well in the 14-and-under category, winning the 100 IM, 50 free, and 50 breast and earning MVP honors.

“Daniel has been a star since he walked in,” said Kinney.”

“He has really been a good leader this year for the younger kids. I think that the younger kids really look up to him just because of how fast he swims. He is always helping them.”

Oliver Gassmann gave the Lemmings a lot of help in the 18-and-under boys, winning the 50 fly, 50 back, and 50 free as he was also received MVP honors.

“Oliver is also a club swimmer, he is a year-round swimmer,” said Kinney.

“He is like Daniel in the sense that he is really good with helping with the younger kids. Everyone kind of looks up to him. Oliver was our main 18U boys’ swimmer.”

The Nassau girls also showed strength in the younger divisions. Nava Brenner-Witten came big in the 8-and-under group, winning the 25 free, 25 back, and 25 fly.

“She is very technical and very fast,” added Kinney. “She is just a pleasure to have.”

Anna Terhaar and Julia Wei produced some fast swims in the 10-and-unders. Terhaar placed first in 25 back, second in the 25 free, and third in 100 IM while Wei took second in the 25 fly, fourth in the 25 free, and fifth in the 100 IM.

“We look to them for their technique,” said Kinney of Terhaar and Wei.

“We think they could swim forever and not stop, just because of how good their technique is. It is just so much fun to watch them swim.”

In the 14-and-under girls, Sophia Burton and Kim Wei added to the fun on the deck for the team.

Burton placed first in both the 50 back and 50 fly and  second in the 50 breast with Wei took third in both the 100 IM and 50 back.

“Sophia is kind of like the team mom, she is so helpful,” said Kinney.

“She really is great with everyone; she could be the role model of Nassau. She has grown up with the team. Kim is one of the people you can put in any stroke and know that she is going to produce something good.”

Rachel Adlai-Gail produced in and out of the water this summer for the Lemmings.

“She was one of assistant coaches this year, this was her first year coaching,” said Kinney of Adlai-Gail, who took fourth in the 100 IM and 50 fly and fifth in the 50 free at the championship meet.

“She did an excellent job doing that and then was able to get into the pool and swim and get out and start coaching again. She was awesome this year and we are sad that it is her last year swimming. She is going to Bryn Mawr.”

Kinney, for his part, enjoyed his second summer as the head coach of the program.

“This season was really fun, I had a really good time coaching this group of kids,” said Kinney, a former star for the Princeton High boys team who is heading into his junior year at William and Mary. “I think it was really tightly knit.”

The team’s tight bonds were on display in a meet this summer when one of the team’s younger swimmers stepped up to help out the oldest boys in a relay.

“In the meet against Hopewell Valley Tennis, one of our 17-year-old boy swimmers wasn’t feeling good and couldn’t swim the relay,” recalled Kinney.

“So we were scrambling around and trying to figure out who we were going to put in there and one of our 6-and-under kids was like ‘yeah, I will do it.’ So we put him in that relay and every single person on our team was lining the deck, jumping up and down, going crazy. Everyone just supported everyone else. It was real cool to see that. It was the loudest I have heard the team.”

Noting that the Lemmings boasted a strong corps of younger swimmers, Kinney believes the team can make noise in the future.

“I think out 6-and-unders were a lot of fun to coach, over the course of the season, both the boys and the girls,” said Kinney.

“Two of our boys, Connor Shea and Nicholas Weihe dropped a minute in both the 25 free and 25 back, which was fun. It is a good foundation moving forward.”