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IN THE NEWS: MSDA has small but determined swim squad

Jan 8, 2019
Published in The Progress

CALDWELL – The Mount St. Dominic Academy swimming team is small but mighty, with just 13 swimmers on its roster.

“With such small numbers, we are a very solid and competitive team, but sometimes we lose because of our small numbers,” said head coach Jane Sungurov. “We are not able to fill lanes, and even though we may win every event at a given meet, we may lose by points.”

The squad is 2-3 and had victories over West Essex on Dec. 19 and Glen Ridge on Jan. 3.

Last season, the team was 4-6 and finished in fourth place out of 10 teams at the Essex County Championships.

The team is made up of six seniors, five juniors, and two sophomores.

“We have several key players on our team,” Sungurov said. “Senior Julianna Bender is a breaststroke specialist and IMer. Senior Tess Morrissey is a sprint free specialist. Senior Liz Mercuris is our mid-distance girl, a very solid swimmer; she also does nice fly when we need her to. Junior Emma Clifford is our backstroke specialist, sprint free girl, and a very fast swimmer. Junior Kate Cipolleti is another outstanding swimmer who specializes in back and IM.”

Other contributors are junior Olivia Fisher, sophomore Olivia Soder, sophomore Jessica Ippolito, senior Danielle Dabroski, junior Madison McNany, and senior Natalie Nasti.

“Olivia Fisher is another outstanding swimmer who does backstroke and sprint free,” Sungurov said. “Olivia Soder specializes in fly and IM. Jessica Ippolito is another breaststroker, and, along with Dani Dabroski, helps us get needed points.

“Maddie McNany is a very tough competitor. While she is not very experienced, she can swim any event ranging from 500 free, to 200 IM, to 100 fly. She is always there and never complains about any events I put her in. Natalie Nasti is also helpful in sprint free and back.”

Junior Carmen Aguirre and senior Kristina Conzo are newcomers to this year’s team. “We are happy to have them, and they are working hard on their strokes and dives,” Sungurov said.

The team hopes to perform as well as possible, she said. “Our goal for the year is to have fun as a team, win as many meets as possible, and achieve personal best times in our season,” she said. “We hope to make a splash at the county meet, which will be held at NJIT on Jan. 21.”

While this is Sungurov’s second year as head coach at Mount St. Dominic, she has extensive experience as a swimming coach.

“I’ve been coaching club teams for over 17 years and currently I coach Cougar Aquatic Team for the last 10 years,” she said. “Prior to that, I coached another team in northern New Jersey. I absolutely love high school swimming.”

The Lions will take on Montclair Kimberley Academy on Friday, Jan. 11; Montclair on Monday, Jan. 14; and Caldwell on Thursday, Jan. 17.

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