Audrey Norden has been swimming at J-D for six years, and has been a huge contributor for the Red Rams. Audrey swims the 50, 200 medley, 400 free relay, 400 free relay, and the 200 free relay. Not only has Audrey exceeded in swim meets, but has also helped the team connect and bond in many different ways. Since the team combines grades 9-12, she’s known for going up to underclassmen and making them feel more a part of the team. “No matter how old you are or what you swim, she is still open and comes up to you and talks about anything and everything. It’s nice to have someone on the team who cares about everyone’s feelings”, Freshman Ava Mone stated.
Throughout all her years of swimming, she said the coaches have overall made it the absolute best experience for her. “…they are the reason why the team is so close and why the environment is so close. I thank them because they are the reason I stay with the sport and work hard to be a better contributor to the team.” Audrey has raced on two other club teams, but said they are nothing compared to what J-D swim has to offer.
For the next four years, Audrey will be attending SUNY Cortland, but unfortunately not to swim. She hopes to teach lessons and maybe do a club team.
Amarisse Rodriguez has been swimming competitively for the past six years. Typically, she swims in relays, 50/100 free, and the 100 breaststroke. For her personally this season, the team’s bond and all her coaches have made the most prominent impact on her. “They are always supportive and keep me motivated to do my best. We are always hyping each other up and have so many inside jokes to last us a lifetime. We have grown so close over the years and I know I will miss them next year.” The coaches, Bob Bewley and Joe Amidro, have helped Amarisse grow and develop through all her many different techniques and experiences. Last year, her pinnacle was making it to sectionals, swimming in the breaststroke event.
Not only is Amarisse a talented swimmer, but teammates remark how she’s always known how to lighten the mood and cheer everyone up. “Amarisse is so funny and just makes everyone laugh,” Junior Emilia Patilita states.
Next year, Amarisse plans on going to college and majoring in mechanical engineering, and has hopes to join a club swim team.
Alice Yi has been competitively swimming for both school and club teams since she was in seventh grade. Additionally, she has also done synchronized swimming for a handful of years.
On the J-D team, Alice swims the 100 breaststroke, medley relay, and 50 freestyle. Although she loves swimming by itself, she fully looks forward to the upcoming season each year because of her teammates and the coaches, Bob and Joe. “They really have shaped my life in ways that many extracurriculars haven’t; I’ll miss returning to my teammates each fall and getting to meet the freshmen and other new swimmers that join each year.”
Alice explained that especially with COVID-19 this year, it overall feels like all of the seniors have had to work as hard as ever to promote unity amongst the team. Even with COVID-19 dividing the team into two separate practice groups, the decision from the coaches, Bob and Joe, to make all the senior’s captains made a sense of congruence between both groups.
Outside of J-D, Alice has swam for the Camillus swim team her whole life and thoroughly enjoys it, but sees it more as just getting into shape in the off season.
Unlike many other senior swimmers, Alice is unsure about whether or not she wants to continue swimming in college or not. “As much fun as it sounds, there is a lingering and undeniable fear that the team, varsity or club, would not be comparable to what I experienced at J-D.” Because of this, Alice believes it might just be better to leave swimming as a positive experience that she can acknowledge and look back at her growth throughout the years instead of continuing it.
Courtney Keough is an incredibly passionate and well-liked teammate and swimmer, even with this being her first year on the team. She has swam mostly 50 and 100 freestyles over the course of this shortened season, and has had great success in these races. She enjoys challenging herself, and that’s just what she did this season.
One of the silver linings this year for Keough was the split of the two fall seasons due to COVID-19. This allowed her to swim where she would usually be playing golf for the fall sport. She had always heard swimming was the best team, and got to experience nothing less than that this year.
This season, their head coach Bob Bewley decided to make all seven seniors captains. This was a shock to all of them, but Courtney said it was so nice to know he trusted her to help lead and connect the team even with this being her first year. Her teammates and coaches have nothing but good words to say about her, and admire her bravery and remark how her addition to the team perfectly explains what they’re all about. “We always tell girls to try new things and branch out of their comfort zone during high school because this is their time to try new things, and that’s exactly what Courtney did”, Junior Emilia Patilita stated. Thanks to not only the grade 9-12 team bond, but also the unique senior bond, this season has been much easier and welcoming to Keough.
“I honestly never thought I’d say this, but I definitely want to continue swimming after this year”, Courtney stated. Courtney will be attending Le Moyne college next year, and hopes to join a club or intramural swim team.
Caitlin McMahon is an encouraging and positive teammate who has been swimming for the J-D team for almost six years. The races that she competes in vary, but this year she has mostly competed in the backstroke events.
Throughout her many years of swimming, she said the relationships between her teammates have definitely made the greatest impact on her. “The friendships I’ve made through all my years of varsity swimming are awesome and I’m glad I was able to bond with them over swimming.”
While Caitlin used to swim for the Syracuse Chargers, she ended up stopping due to the coaching, which made her love for swimming slightly lessened. “I definitely prefer the atmosphere and coaching on varsity,” Caitlin said. The team and coaches have been remarkably supportive for Caitlin, and they make her enjoy and want to continue with the sport. “Caitlin is someone you can always swim with and help you have a good attitude toward your event”, Junior Abby Mcquire states.
Next year, Caitlin is planning on attending Binghamton college, and will be swimming on their club team.
Emily Ninestein, an extremely liked teammate, contributes to the J-D team in multiple different ways. This is Emily’s fourth year on varsity, but sixth year swimming for J-D in general. Emily has been all around on club teams, with starting on Syracuse Chargers and now swimming with the Manlius Makos in the offseason. She has also swam for the Camillus swim team for a while, as well as Drumlins Country club in the summer. Even with all the outside experiences and teams, she still prefers swimming on the J-D varsity team the most. “Overall, varsity is my favorite because of the coaches and team atmosphere. It is so supportive and we all just really want each other to succeed and do our best.”
For Emily, being a swimmer doesn’t always mean successfulness. Emily stated, “Being a swimmer in general has taught me about discipline and perseverance, as well as how to deal with failure and be a good teammate.” With the decision of all seven seniors being captains this year, Emily really stepped up and showed what a good and a responsible leader looked like. For her, the combined grade 9-12 team immensely helped her when she was just a freshman, so she hoped to be that person to the underclassman this year. From the words of Freshman Ava Mone, most of her team believes she did just that. “Emily Ninestein is very responsible and always makes sure everyone’s doing their best and having a good time. She’s always setting up the music so that the swim practices feel so much more fun and I love to have someone who I can rely on…”
For the upcoming years, Emily plans on attending college at UVM, and is going to join their club swim team.
Katie Becker, a very talented swimmer, has only been swimming on the J-D team for two years. Even without competing at meets this season due to COVID-19, she has made the team environment much better for all the swimmers during practices. “Katie is super sweet and brings a good, positive attitude toward the team”, Abby Mcquire states. Additionally, she continues to travel to each meet and cheer the team on. In a usual season, Katie mainly swims the 50 freestyle, 200 free relay, and backstroke in the 200 medley relay. Throughout the two years Katie has been on the team, she’s made multiple new friendships with her teammates and coaches and has especially grown closer to the fellow seniors in her class. “The team and coaches are all super supportive and understanding. Last year I definitely struggled with swimming and they all helped me a lot to figure out what I was doing, and worked with me on my form and technique.”
Outside of the J-D team, Katie has never joined a club or intramural team, but plans on hopefully continuing to swim while attending Siena College for the next four years.