By Warren Rappleyea
Sayreville War Memorial High School swimming coach Andrew Rice is intent on having his girls’ and boys’ teams peak in time for the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) championships Jan. 27-28.
The Bombers’ girls have won two of five dual meets, downing Piscataway Township High School and Mother Seton Regional High School, and have several competitors that Rice believes can make their mark at the GMC event.
Versatile junior Taylor Friedman competes in the individual medley (IM), butterfly, backstroke and freestyle events, where she regularly puts points on the scoreboard for the Blue and Gray. Rice expects Friedman to compete in both the backstroke and butterfly at the GMCs.
Friedman’s sister, Kaitlyn, has been impressive as a freshman. The younger Friedman has performed well in sprint freestyle competitions as well as the backstroke and butterfly. She and fellow freshman Elizabeth Buczkowski-Gaeta will participate in sprint events at the conference meet. Gaeta also swims the IM and backstroke in regular-season meets.
Sophomore Elizabeth Dobrzynski is a threat in distance freestyle events as well as the breaststroke. The two Friedmans, Buczkowski-Gaeta and Dobrzynski handle the 200-yard medley relay and the 4×100 relay for the Bombers.
Other key point scorers for Sayreville include senior co-captains Lauren Vega, who is a strong distance competitor, and sprinter Danielle Boehler. Junior freestyler Sara Gulick and sophomore distance competitor Stephanie Morris are also point-getters for Rice’s team.
“The more important thing really, for both teams, is to keep working hard and improving their times,” Rice said. “It can be a long season, but you have to stay prepared to be ready for the postseason meets.”
Sayreville’s boys boast several talented swimmers, too. Antonio Tramontana is just one second away from breaking Skyler Lutz’s team record (2:12.13) in the 200 IM set in 2011 and is closing in on Alex Ratajaczyk’s 2006 record (1:54.36) in the 200 freestyle. The junior also competes in sprint freestyle races, and Rice expects Tramontana to have a strong showing at the GMC championship.
Another junior, Arek Moczulski, is a breaststroke and IM competitor. Rice believes a pair of sophomores, Jacob Fritz and Bryan Paez, will also do well at the conference event. Fritz specializes in the butterfly and backstroke, while Paez is strong in short freestyle races and the breaststroke.
Rice employs all four in the 2×100 and 200 medley relays.
The team’s other top swimmers include captain Kunal Kadakia, a backstroke and freestyle racer; juniors John Gauger (freestyle), Edward Grace (freestyle, backstroke), Michael Pasteka (IM, butterfly) and Ryan Shrestaz (distance freestyle); sophomore Andrew LaMonica (freestyle, IM, butterfly); and freshmen Patrick Krawczyk (sprint freestyle) and Devin Platt (freestyle, IM, butterfly).
“We’re young overall, but we have some experience and plenty of talent and enthusiasm,” the coach said. “We’re getting there.”