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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Swim team celebrates career of Massimo Catania

Courtesy photo. Stingrays swimmer Massimo Catania (left) and Matthew Stanker of the Elmer Sharks (right) were recognized for their strong swimming careers during a swim meet on July 15.

The Hammonton Stingrays honored one of their top swimmers as they hosted the Elmer Sharks at the Hammonton Swim Club on July 15.

Massimo Catania, along with Elmer’s Matthew Stanker, were each recognized for their excellent swimming careers midway through the meet.

The day began with Hammonton resident and swim team parent, Maddie Birnbaum singing the National Anthem a cappella, then the younger, developing swimmers from both teams got in the water for the fun-filled kickboard races.

In the 67 official events, a total of 88 swimmers competed for the Stingrays in the meet. The Elmer Sharks won the meet by a final score of 368 to 193.

Across the 48 individual events Hammonton had 13 first-place finishes (65-points), 21 second-place finishes (63 points), 30 third-place finishes (30 points). Individual first-place finishers included (# events won): Massimo Catania (3); Raelynn McDowel (2); Madison Carley, Kellen Frankel, Brynn Gribbin, Grace Gribbin, Everly Husta, Eli Johannsen, Cole McDowel, Nathan Reedy (1 each). Also, many Hammonton swimmers improved upon their season-to-date times, as there were 54 swimmers showing improved, personal best times in the meet across 90 different events that each competed in, compared to their results from prior events this season.

Competing in 19 relay events, Hammonton had five first-place finishes. First-place finishers in either one or two relay events included the following 17 swimmers: Anthony Bova, Madison Carley, Colton Castone, Giovanni Catania, Massimo Catania, Dominic Cushinotto, Sean Falciani, Kellen Frankel, Everly Husta, Eli Johannsen, John Paul Mazza, Cole McDowel, Raelynn McDowel, Nathan Reedy, Charlie Rieder, Nina Rizzotte and Kylie Short.

During a break in the meet two recent high school graduates were honored and celebrated, as both are swimming in their final season in the league with their respective teams:

Hammonton resident Massimo Catania with the Hammonton Stingrays and Upper Deerfield Township resident Matthew Stanker with the Elmer Sharks.

Catania and Stanker, along with their families, are good friends, and each swimmer recently graduated from St. Augustine Preparatory School, as both swam with the Hermits on the varsity squad all four years and contributed to their undefeated season and state championship earlier this year. Catania has broken four longstanding pool records during his tenure as a Stingray and is now completing his ninth, and final, season with the team, while also concurrently serving as one of the team’s assistant coaches for the season.

Stanker was also a record-breaker during his tenure as a Shark and is now completing his 11th, and final, season with the team. Catania will be attending Monmouth University and Stankeer will be attending Rowan University, while both young men will continue swimming competitively with their respective men’s collegiate swim teams.

Through the first four meets this season the top three female point earners for the Stingrays are (# points earned): Everly Husta (58), Raelynn McDowel (49), and Madison Carley (45); while the top three male point earners are: Cole McDowel (35.25), Eli Johannsen (34.25), and Giovanni Catania (34).

The Stingrays return to action on Saturday, July 22, for their final meet of the season when they host the Newfield Barracudas at the Hammonton Swim Club. The league championships will be held July 29, in the Natatorium at the Greater Philadelphia Aquatic Club (GPAC) on the Gloucester County Institute of Technology (GCIT) campus in Sewell.


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