• Dan Russoman

Stingrays drop season finale


Stingray swimmers Dominic Cushinotto, Gavin Johannsen, Sean Falciani and Brennan Kiss celebrate after last week’s meet. (Courtesy Photo)

The Hammonton Stingrays hosted the Raccoon Valley Masked Bandits on Saturday, July 23 in their final meet of the summer season.


Hammonton resident, and swim team parent, Maddie Birnbaum opened the meet by singing the National Anthem a cappella, then the younger, developing swimmers got in the water for the fun-filled kickboard races.


In the 67 official events, the Hammonton Stingrays had a total of 74 swimmers competing in the meet. Raccoon Valley won the meet by a final score of 374 to 191. Despite the loss, many Hammonton swimmers continued to improve upon their season-to-date times, as there were 54 swimmers showing improved, personal best times in the meet across 92 different events that each competed in, compared to their times in the previous swim meets.


Across the 48 individual events Hammonton had 14 first-place finishes (70-points), 17 second-place finishes (51 points) and 28 third-place finishes (28 points). Across the 19 relay events Hammonton had six first-place finishes (42-points).


Individual first-place finishers included (number of events won): Giovanni Catania (2); Massimo Catania (4); Briella Dattalo (1); Isabella Falciani (1); Kellen Frankel (1); Macy McDowel (3); Raelynn McDowel (1); and Charlie Rieder (1).


During a pause in the meet there was memorial dedication of a new lifeguard stand in the memory of Bill Myers, a long-time member and supporter of both the Hammonton Swim Club and Stingrays swim team who selflessly donated his time and talents in myriad ways though the years. Myers’ family, which included Nancy Myers and their three children (Emily, Elizabeth and Billy), was on-hand for the solemn ceremony as a tribute to Bill Myers was prepared and read by swim club board member Vincenzo Penza. A plaque is now permanently affixed to the new lifeguard stand stating “In memory of Bill Myers – Forever watching over us.”


Also, during the meet the Stingrays honored and celebrated two long-time team members that were competing in their final meet with team, as each recently graduated from high school: Glyza Canovas (Hammonton High School) and Kyle Muller (St. Augustine Preparatory School). Canovas has been on the team for 12 years and will be attending Rowan University and Muller has been on the team for 13 years and will be attending Virginia Tech.


Upon completion of the swim meet, there was a parents/coaches relay event with a total of 32 adults coming together to create eight relay teams. The fun-filled event was heavily cheered on by all at the swim club and was ultimately won by the relay team of Analiese Bova, April Cushinotto, Ron Cushinotto and Maddie Birnbaum.


The league championships will be held this weekend at the Crystal Lake Pool in Haddon Twp., with ages 12 and under competing on Saturday and ages 13 and over competing on Sunday. The Stingrays will have a total of 30 swimmers in the event.