On the Podium: Congratulating the Silver Medal Boys and Girls Swim Teams at R-MA

Our swim team recently competed at the GPAC Championships and didn’t go down without a fight. In fact, both our girls’ and boys’ teams finished as Runners Up in the 2021-22 GPAC Swimming Championships. We wanted to give these athletes their moment in the spotlight, which is why we asked the team and their Head Coach Andrew Harriman a few questions about the competition and their season overall.

Continue reading to hear from them, as well as see the results of the competition!

Results

Individual Events – Men

  • Tian Tan ’22: Gold Medal 50 Free (State Qualifier), Gold Medal 100 Free (State Qualifier)
  • Declan Newcamp ’23: Gold Medal 200 Free, Silver Medal 500 Free
  • Ethan Park ’22: Silver Medal 100 Free, Bronze Medal 50 Free
  • David Nelson ’24: Silver Medal 200 IM, Bronze Medal 100 Fly
  • Leo Burge ’24: Silver Medal 100 Breast, Bronze Medal 100 Free

Individual Events – Women

  • Ivy Aniello ’22: Silver Medal 200 IM, Bronze Medal 100 Fly
  • Iman Vactor ’25: Silver Medal 200 Free
  • Addy Souza ’25: Silver Medal 500 Free
  • Cecilia Paredes ’22: Bronze Medal 50 Free

Relay Teams

  • Men 200 Medley Relay: Silver Medal (Ethan Park ’22, David Nelson ’24, Leo Burge ’24, Tian Tan’ 22) 
  • Women 200 Medley Relay: Silver Medal (Iman Vactor, 25, Maria Mandrugina ’22, Ivy Aniello ’22, Cecilia Paredes’ 22)
  • Men 200 Free Relay: Silver Medal  (Ethan Park ’22, David Nelson ’24, Leo Burge ’24, Tian Tan’ 22) (State Qualifiers)
  • Women 200 Free Relay: Silver Medal  (Cecilia Paredes ’22, Maria Mandrugina ’22 Taqiyah Fasuyi ’26, Ivy Aniello’ 22)
  • Men 400 Free Relay: Silver Medal  (Muna Nwugo ’24, Declan Newcamp ’23, Jonathan Gasaatura ’25, Tariq Vactor’ 25)
  • Women 400 Free Relay: Silver Medal  (Layla Danier ’24, Jay Haney ’24, Addison Souza ’25, Iman Vactor’ 25)

Final VISAA State Rankings

  • Tian Tan: Ranked 25th in the state in the 50 Free
  • Tian Tan: Ranked 17th in the state in the 100 Free 
  • Tian Tan, Ethan Park, Leo Burge, and David Nelson:  Ranked 22nd in the State in the 200 Yard Relay

Overcoming Challenges to Pursue Victory

This year’s results mean a lot to our school and students, especially because of the many challenges students overcame to get there. “Tian did not have the opportunity to swim with us last year as he was in China due to COVID restrictions.” Says Head Coach Andrew, adding that “We were excited to have him back on the team this year and his natural talent and determination showed in his qualification in three individual events.” In addition, “Last year, Ethan Park was the MVP of our team in a year that was davidshortened due to COVID and he did not have the opportunity to compete at states as it was not held in-person.”

Students at our college prep school never shy away from a challenge. One sentiment that remained consistent with every coach and teammate we spoke to was the ability to come together as a community to lift each other up. “We all really wanted Ethan to have another moment at states in his senior year. As the relay team was getting ready to swim the whole team was cheering ‘Let’s do this for Ethan!’ It was an incredible moment to watch the relay team celebrate when they saw their scores and knew that they would be heading to states as well,” said Head Coach Andrew.

For Ethan, it was “one of the most exciting moments” of his life. “States having been the ultimate goal for my season this year, it truly felt amazing to achieve my goals one last time and end my season off with a bang,” he told us. Of course, Ethan and Tian weren’t the only ones who had an incredible time. Declan Newcamp, recipient of a 2021-22 R-MA Coaches’ Award, said “everyone put in so much to improve and drop time…”

Coming Back Stronger Than Ever

Our team’s ability to come back strong had a lot to do with their grit, hard work, teamwork, and perseverance. “We have taken on the overall motto of the swim team as ‘Just Keep Swimming,’” said Head Coach Andrew, “This is a lesson that students can keep in their mind both in and out of the pool. No matter what obstacles that you face in your academic or personal life just never give up; always focus on your end goal and “Just Keep Swimming.” 

It’s a lesson that students at our coed private school take seriously. “I take a deep breath and try to remember it doesn’t matter if you don’t win, it just matters that you try,” said Cadey Peterson, “Swimming has taught me that it is okay to fail and you can get better at it.” For David Nelson, “The importance of hard work even when you are exhausted,” is the key lesson he has taken from the experience. “We always build each other up,” added Taqiyah Fasuyi, recipient of a 2021-22 R-MA Coaches’ Award. For many, the lessons learned in swim team extend beyond this competition. “It’s taught me to never give up on my dreams or my goals in life,” said Jay Haney.

The Future of Swimming at Our College Prep School

We wanted to know what our athletes and Head Coach hope to accomplish in the years to come. Lilah Weisberg, 2021-22 Coaches’ Award recipient, told us, “I want to make states in the 100 fly by senior year.” Leo Burge, a sophomore who made it to State Championships, said, “My goals for the future in swimming is to go to a D1 swimming college and hopefully make it to the United States Nationals.” For Cadey Peterson, a sixth-grade student who was not eligible to compete but attended every practice this year, “My goal for swimming is to become really good at it and I really want to go to the Olympics.”

As far as coaching, “My goal each season is for students to have fun and to grow, but to also take seriously the commitment that they gave to themselves and the team by being chosen as a member of the team. When I attended R-MA myself I swam each year that I was here and was the team captain my senior year. I use the lessons I remember from my own coaches and also have been extremely fortunate to have a different, great assistant coach each year who has brought new tips and methods that help me to continue to adapt my coaching styles,” said Head Coach Andrew. “My aspirations are for the swim team to continue to have success stories each year. Whether this be state qualifiers or students shaving their times I just want our swimmers to be proud of themselves and what they can accomplish,” he added.

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