Photos by Karen Fucito After a full day of trials, split into two age groups, 13 and up and 12 and under, the Lake Forest Swim Team flexed their collective muscles and will be sending 30 different swimmers into the finals of the North Jersey Regional Lake League (NJRLL) this Saturday. The finals will be held at Lake Shawnee. Not to be outdone, the team from Shore Hills, though much smaller in numbers, is sending 14 swimmers to the finals, six of whom will swim in more than one event. For LF, talent runs through all age groups, from Connor Mastricola, 18 on down to newcomer, Eric Vargas, 7. Vargas qualified for the finals in one event even though he is a first-year swimmer. Lake Forest dominated the 12 and under age group with 20 different swimmers making it to the finals. Six different swimmers turned in the best times in their event. Ten-year-old Alexia Rizzotto was flawless, competing in three events Shanna Leek, center, from LFST swims the 25 Meter Freestyle. and finishing with the best time in each. According to LF coach Eddie Zappile, Rizzotto is “a very good swimmer who works very hard at it.” During the year Rizzotto swims for the Randolph YMCA swim team which, according to Coach Zappile helps her to be one of the best swimmers on the LF team.
Tyler McDonald from SH swims the breaststroke in the 100 Meter IM. Shore Hills swimmer Tyler McDonald, 12, will be swimming in three events on Saturday. He turned in the best time in the 50 Meter Backstroke out of a field of 22 swimmers. According to SH Coach Brian Hehir, McDonald is a very good “natural” swimmer who has started to swim year round which has only made him more competitive in the summer league.
Sarah Mostafa from SH swims the backstroke in the 100 Meter IM. The sister and brother team of Sarah and Noor Mostafa is proving lethal for SH. Sarah, 11, and Noor, 9 are new to the team this season. With only winter swim experience the duo has been a joy to coach said Hehir. “Noor provided our 9/10 boys with some massive firepower all summer and Sarah was a crucial part of our strong Girls 11/12 age group. As well as being great swimmers, the two of them are just great people in general. You would never be able to tell after a race that they were in whether either Noor or Sarah won because they get out of the water and they instantly want to know how the rest of the team did in the race; ignoring all praise until they know how their friends swam. Plus getting the two of them to stop smiling is always an accomplishment. Obviously one that I don't mind not accomplishing,” said Coach Hehir.
A packed crowd at Lake Shawnee watches the 12 and under swimmers compete. In the 13 and over age group, LF swimmers Lindsey Rippey, just 14, and Mastricola, each turned in best times in one event. Matricola was best in the 100 Meter Freestyle out of a field of 22 and Rippey got the best time in the 50 Meter Breaststroke out of a field of 34. Both qualified to swim in four events. Jarrod Schwesinger will also swim four events. The Miller sisters from SH, Torre, 17 and Erin, 13, will each swim in two events, but not against each other. Also swimming in two events will be Kevin Pollison, 13. Joseph Pinho, just like his SH teammate McDonald, will swim in three events. Lake Forest will have a total of 7 swimmers in swimming in three different events, six of whom are girls.
Helen Cheng from SH swims the butterfly in the 100 Meter IM.
Bridgett Hilgendorff from LFST swims the butterfly in the 100 Meter IM
Chloe Rippey from LFST swims the backstroke in the 100 Meter IM.
Ashleigh Sarafin from SH swims the butterfly in the 100 Meter IM.
Krystal Croomes from SH swims the butterfly in the 100 Meter IM.
Amy Sefond, lower right, swims the breaststroke in the 100 Meter IM.
Nicholas Pinho from SH swims the breast stroke in the 100 Meter IM.
RJ Music from LHST swims the backstroke in the 100 Meter IM.
Cameron Schwesinger from LFST swims the 25 Meter Freestyle.
Haylie Redner from SH swims the 25 Meter Freestyle.
Ireland Johnston from SH swims the 50 Meter Freestyle.
Ciera Flores from SH swims the 50 Meter Freestyle.
Shore Hills teammates Megan Roddy and Krystal Croomes get to the turn in the 50 Meter Freestyle.
Timothy Byrne from LFST swims the 50 Meter Freestyle.
Noah Faria from LFST swims the 50 Meter Freestyle.