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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Stingrays swim at league championships

Dan Russoman/THG. Giovanni Catania set a new team record at last weekend’s SSASJ championship meet.

The Hammonton Stingrays concluded their regular season on July 22, and held an awards ceremony at the Hammonton Swim Club on July 26 to celebrate a great, fun-filled summer swim season, as 90 Stingray swimmers were recognized for their dedication and commitment to the swim team.

Improvement awards were conveyed to swimmers segmented according to the number of times each beat their previous best time from meets throughout the season, referred to as “speeding tickets”, in the form of bronze (1-3 times), silver (4-5 times), and gold medals (6 or more). Stingray swimmer Bella Falciani received honors for earning 13 speeding tickets, the most earned of all swimmers. The team’s Most Improved Swimmer was awarded to one female and one male swimmer that showed the greatest improvement this season, the award winners were both second-season swimmers, Scotlyn Pace and Milan Koshkin.

The recipient of the Robert Ruberton Most Valuable Swimmer Award was awarded to one female and one male swimmer, as each were the high-point earners for the team by gender, and the recipients were Everly Husta (76.5-points) and Giovanni Catania (57.5-points). The female second and third high-point award winners were Raelynn McDowel (66.75-points) and Madison Carley (60.75-points); while the male award winners for second and third high-points were Cole McDowel (51-points) and Massimo Catania (50-points).

The recipient of the annual Annamae Jacobs Memorial Award was Grace Gribbin in recognition of her outstanding commitment to the sport of swimming and her dedication and loyalty to the swim team. The recipient of the annual Coach John Bohanna Memorial Award was Massimo Catania in appreciation of his exceptional leadership in serving as a role model to his teammates and his dedication to the swim team.

The summer swim season ultimately concluded with the Suburban Swim Association of South Jersey (SSASJ) league championships in the Natatorium at the Greater Philadelphia Aquatic Club (GPAC) on the Gloucester County Institute of Technology campus in Sewell on Saturday, July 29. More than 500 swimmers from the 12 teams in the SSASJ league either qualified or were invited to participate in the championship meet based on their performance during the regular season, while the Stingrays had a total of 30 swimmers competing in the championship meet.

Stingray swimmers entered into the championship meet included: Anthony Bova, Madison Carley*, Colton Castone, Giovanni Catania*, Massimo Catania*, Dominic Cushinotto, Bella Falciani, Jordan Fatato, Kellen Frankel*, Brynn Gribbin, Grace Gribbin, Paige Gribbin*, Jessie Herbert, Shayne Herbert, Everly Husta*, Kendall Husta*, Eli Johannsen*, Isabelle McCloud, Maggie McCloud, Cole McDowel*, Macy McDowel, Raelynn McDowel*, Elizabeth Nees*, Scotlyn Pace*, Nathan Reedy*, Charles Rieder, Morgan Rizzo Jr., Nina Rizzotte, Casey Schulz, and Lauren Wines (* denotes a swimmer that automatically qualified for the championship meet by beating one or more established qualifying times during the regular season).

Across the 48 individual events in the SSASJ league championship meet Hammonton had 10 swimmers finishing in the top 10 for one or more events (swimmer, event[s] and place): Madison Carley (Female 9-10 25M Backstroke, 9th / Female 9-10 25M Breaststroke, 7th); Giovanni Catania (Male 15-18 50M Backstroke, 7th); Massimo Catania (Male 15-18 100M Individual Medley, 3rd / Male 15-18 50M Breaststroke, 4th / Male 15-18 50M Butterfly, 2nd); Dominic Cushinotto (Male 9-10 25M Butterfly, 8th); Everly Husta (Female 9-10 50M Freestyle, 8th / Female 9-10 25M Backstroke, 5th); Eli Johannsen (Male 8&U 25M Butterfly, 5th); Cole McDowel (Male 8&Under 25M Freestyle, 8th / Male 8&Under Backstroke, 3rd / Male 8&U 25M Breaststroke, 3rd); Macy McDowel (Female 11-12 50M Backstroke, 10th / Female 11-12 50M Butterfly, 8th); Raelynn McDowel (Female 8&Under 25M Backstroke, 2nd / Female 8&U 25M Breaststroke, 4th); Elizabeth Nees (Female 8&Under 25M Freestyle, 9th).

Across the 19 relay events Hammonton had seven teams finishing in the top 10 (swimmers, event, and place): Nathan Reedy, Cole McDowel, Raelynn McDowel, Elizabeth Nees (Mixed 8&U 100M Medley Relay, 4th); Everly Husta, Brynn Gribbin, Madison Carley, Nina Rizzotte (Female 9-10 100M Medley Relay, 4th); Macy McDowel, Kendall Husta, Scotlyn Pace, Jordan Fatato (Female 11-12 200M Medley Relay, 8th); Madison Carley, Nina Rizzotte, Brynn Gribbin, Everly Husta (Female 9-10 200M Free Relay, 6th); Eli Johannsen, Colton Castone, Charlie Rieder, Dominic Cushinotto (Male 9-10 200M Free Relay, 8th); Scotlyn Pace, Kendall Husta, Jessie Herbert, Jordan Fatato (Female 11-12 200M Free Relay, 10th); Giovanni Catania, Anthony Bova, Shayne Herbert, Massimo Catania (Mixed 15-18 200M Free Relay, 9th).

Two Stingray swimmers had personal best and team record-breaking times across four events in the SSASJ league championship meet: Giovanni Catania (Male 15-18 Backstroke , 29.81 seconds [previous record – Giovanni Catania, 30.47 seconds in June 2023]); Massimo Catania (Male 15-18 IM, 1:00.32 [previous record – Massimo Catania, 1:03.43 in 2022]); Massimo Catania (Male 15-18 Breaststroke, 30.74 seconds [previous record – Michael Shostak, 31.94 seconds in 1999]); Massimo Catania / Male 15-18 Butterfly, 26.91 seconds [previous record – Massimo Catania, 27.85 seconds in 2022]).

During a break in the event, Stingray swimmer Massimo Catania was honored by the league and presented with the annual SSASJ Memorial Award for his swimming achievements over the past nine seasons swimming in the league and for his commitment to continue swimming throughout college.

Overall, it was a great summer swim season for the Stingrays and the team now moves into the off-season to prepare for the 2024 season.


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