Class of 2022 swimmers look to make an impact as freshman

Andrew Maier, Eastside Photo Editor

While many East students relax and take a break from school and sports during the summer months, those competing in the Tri-County swim league begin a new season that starts when school is no longer in session. The league held its annual championship meet on August 4-5 and highlighted South Jersey’s best swimmers, among which were Aidan Dold (‘22), Nick Pezzella (‘22), Cooper Pike (‘22), and Nick Short (‘22).

All four athletes placed in the top 12 in their age group on Saturday, earning an opportunity to swim in the finals on Sunday. Short, Pezzella, and Pike returned to swim in the Boys 13-14 100 IM taking 2nd, 3rd and 7th place respectively. Additionally, they all qualified in the 50 breaststroke, swimming in the championship final. Dold showed his strengths in other events, sneaking under the 1:00 barrier in the 100 freestyle and taking 3rd in the 50 backstroke.

Cooper Pike (‘22) breaks the surface in the 100m IM at the 2018 Tri-County Swimming Championships.

Not only is this year’s freshman class unique in their talent, but also in their bond outside of East. Many athletes on the Boys swim team train outside of school with a club team, but often are swimming at different clubs and not training together. This is not the case for this years incoming freshmen. They have all trained in South Jersey Aquatic Club’s Gold Select group for the past few seasons building a strong friendship. “Training together with my friends who become my competition at meets means a lot” said Pike. “If I’m having a bad practice I look ahead and think to myself, ‘I am not letting Nick P, Short, or Aidan beat me.'” 

“I feel that training together pushes all of us to be the best we can be,” added Short.

Not only will the boys draw upon their practice atmosphere to succeed at the high school level, but also their weekly Tri-County dual meets throughout the summer. “Tri-County has helped me prepare for swimming at East by getting me ready and experienced to swim in relays” said Dold. These relays are extremely valuable for the team, as they hold a much larger point value than individual events.

“Tri-County will help me especially when I’ll have to swim a relay, then an individual event very soon after,” said Pezzella.

As the high-school swim season rapidly approaches, the incoming freshman look to find a place in the lineup where they can contribute to the team. “At first we were intimidated by the huge high schoolers and thought that we weren’t going to make a difference in any of the meets,” said Dold. “At the end of the day we realized that every point counts, and if we can add to the depth of the team than we can make a difference in the big meets.”

Not only is the class of 2022 thinking about the short term, but also the long term success of the team. “Becoming stronger, taller, and faster will allow me to contribute more and more every year,” said Pike.

Nick Pezzella (‘22) swims the 50m breaststroke at the 2018 Tri-County Swimming Championships.

Pezzella shared his optimistic thoughts for the years to come. “I think that our freshman class has a good young core which will help us succeed in the future.”

You can view the top images from the Tri-County swimming championships here: