The dives, kicks, and strokes have begun... the Lake Forest Yacht Club and Shore Hills Country Club swim teams have begun their seasons, and face their second meets (Lake Forest vs. Lake Shawnee and Shore Hills vs. Cranberry Lake) on Wednesday evening. Here's a look at Lake Hopatcong's two "home teams."
With almost 100 kids signed up to swim for the Lake Forest Swim Team, first-year head coach Ed Zappile is confident his squad will post more wins this season than last season. Coming off a 5-5 record, Lake Forest has a goal of winning at least seven dual meets.
“As long as I have been with the team we have never had a losing season,” said Zappile. “I’d like to see us go 7-3, maybe 8-2 this year.” According to Zappile Roxbury, with 250 kids on their squad, is always the toughest competition.
Zappile, 21, began swimming with Lake Forest when he was 7 years old. He has been with the team ever since, either as a swimmer or a coach. He was also a varsity swimmer for Jefferson Township HS.
The tradition of starting young and staying with the team is not lost when it comes to teammates Zach Bagnall, 17 and Emma Jackson, 15. Both started swimming for Lake Forest when they were 5 years old and both swim varsity for JTHS.
“I love the atmosphere here. There is so much team spirit. High school is a bit more competitive than lake league,” said Jackson.
Bagnall, a captain, couldn’t agree more.
“It’s not just about swimming. The whole summer team is about having fun, being with friends and cheering people on during meets,” he said.
At 12 years old, Halle Music is fairly new to lake swimming but comes from a long line of Lake Forest swimmers. “My brother used to swim here. My mom, my uncle, my aunts and my cousins too.”
Music joined the team at age nine, almost four years after most kids get their start in the water. Her best stroke is the butterfly. In just three short years she has gone from one of the weaker swimmers to one of the best. “I used to be really, really bad but over the years I’ve gotten better and better,” she said.
The squad kicked off their season last week at home against Denville and compete against rival Lake Shawnee on Wednesday.
Halle Music swimming the breast stroke.
Emma Jackson in the water.
The 2011 Shore Hills Swim team is showing that through commitment, hard work and dedication to the program the team is destined to get back to its winning ways and keep alive a tradition that dates back to the early 1960’s.
Brian Hehir, 20, has been affiliated with Shore Hills since he was four years old. For the past three years he has been a coach and in those three years has seen a revival of sorts.
“Last year we were lucky to get 15 kids showing up for practice. This year I get around 30 at every practice,” said Hehir. In terms of numbers, the team is up this year with about 55 kids signed up for the summer. What seems like a large number of kids for any team pales when compared to in-town rival Roxbury, who signs about 250 kids each summer.
“It’s nice to see so many kids coming,” said Donna Smith, Shore Hills Waterfront supervisor. Smith was partially responsible for the swell in numbers this year, sending out flyers to the surrounding schools and encouraging members to get the word out.
Last year, Kevin Pollison, 12, was one of the youngest swimmers in his age group, 11/12’s. Despite his age, Pollison was able to place in the top three in many meets, even winning in the medal rounds of the championship meet. He expects to be at the top of his age group this year. “Now I’m at the top of my age group so with good friends supporting me I think I should do pretty good,” said Pollison.
Janie Knapp, 13, is a relative new comer to the team, having joined just three years ago even though she lives just around the corner from the beach.
“The best feeling is first diving in, then winning then hearing your name on the loud speaker. That’s pretty cool. We have team spirit but it’s an individual sport,” said Knapp.
Shore Hills began their season last week at home against Randolph, and competes against Cranberry Lake on Wednesday.
Coach Brian Hehir
Janie Knapp practices the butterfly
Nicole Storberck and Ashley Matthews
Kevin Pollison practices freestyle