Legendary coach Gregg Anderson would have been proud of how the North Brunswick Township High School boys’ and girls’ swim teams opened their season.
North Brunswick swept past Sayreville War Memorial High School, 103-67, in the boys’ meet and 98-72 in the girls’ competition on a day when the pool at the school was named in honor of Anderson.
Before the season-opening meet on Dec. 15, a ceremony was held to name the swimming pool at North Brunswick The Gregg Anderson Pool.
Anderson was a longtime head swim coach who won more than 500 meets in his career and guided North Brunswick to a state title in girls’ Public Group B in 1997 and in 2008.
Anderson, who started the swim program at North Brunswick in 1973, retired in 2012 after 39 years as the coach.
He coached Cay Andres, who won two state titles in the 1980s, winning in the 200- and 500-meter freestyle events.
Anderson was at the ceremony and was greeted by his former swimmers and assistant coaches.
North Brunswick’s current girls’ coach, CarrieAnn Ragavas, was proud of the way the Raiders competed, especially the performances of Nicole Demato for the girls and Rishi Patel for the boys. Demato had a great day, winning as a part of the four-girl group that won the 200 medley relay and also coming in first of her individual race in the 500 freestyle. Patel led the four-man group that came in first place in the 200 freestyle relay and was on the winning team in the 400 freestyle relay.
“I think that our team is tiny in numbers,” Ragavas said. “But we practice hard. We show dedication to practices and meets. And we deserve this win.”
“I think the boys and girls both have a great spirit no matter what the score might be,” Demato said. “We always cheer everybody on, and that helps.”
“I think in today’s meet, everyone’s attitude was just about having fun,” Patel said. “It didn’t matter about the points. At the end of the day, everyone had a smile on their face. But coming out with the win certainly helped.”
The coach and the two swimmers agreed that the triumph should set the tone for a successful season for the Raiders.
“I think mentally, because we are a smaller team than most, it keeps everyone motivated,” Ragavas said. “It keeps them driven. Going to practice is now fun. I also want them to have fun in meets. So this keeps the morale up; it helps with training over the winter break. So I think we’re going to have a great year.”
“Even though we always have a good spirit, I think a win like this really makes us feel better about ourselves,” Demato said. “Hopefully that translates to more wins down the road.”
“I think a win solidifies the bond that we have,” Patel said. “It just keeps everyone smiling. That’s really all that you want, is to have fun and bond with your team.”
Sayreville’s boys’ coach, Andrew Rice, along with boys’ swimmer Anthony Tramontana and girls’ swimmer Taylor Freeman were happy despite the defeat.
“I’m really impressed with the teams,” Rice said. “We had a lot of fast swims and had a lot of times dropped. Can’t be happier about that.”
“I made my best time on the 100 freestyle,” said Tramontana, who was timed in 52:10. “So I’m really happy about that because that was a goal of mine.”
“I’m proud of all of the girls,” Freeman said. “We really did well, and we put up a lot of points.”
The three want this meet to be a reminder of how hard Sayreville needs to work in order to be successful.
“It just shows us that we need to stay dedicated,” Rice said. “We need to come to the meets fighting hard in each race. Every place matters in order to get those points on the scoreboard.”
“Practice makes perfect,” Tramontana said. “We just got to get back and keep practicing harder so we can do better next time.”
“Eating healthy and keeping up with practice is going to be key,” Freeman said. “That’s what we’ll do more of going forward.”