Twenty Years in the Making, SPHS Swim Team Wins GMC White Division
Friday, May 2, 2014 • 5:00am
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The South Plainfield "Tiger Sharks" and the "Blue Dolphins" of the JCC of Edison has been the home of numerous South Plainfield residents and children, from the age of four years and up who have participated in swimming for over twenty years. The South Plainfield swimmers have dedicated themselves to swimming due to their love and passion for the sport. Many of the swimmers have gone on to swim in college. Many of the surrounding towns have high school swim teams, who compete against other towns. The South Plainfield swimmers longed for a South Plainfield High School swim team for a vast number of years.
In 2007, the swimmers and their parents all joined forces to investigate a way to incorporate a swim team into the South Plainfield High School Athletic Program. The students went before the South Plainfield Board of Education requesting that a swim team be instituted at the high school. The superintendent, at that time, encouraged the parents and students to fundraise for a swim team. The Boyle Memorial Foundation, the Boyle, Piekarski, Cullen, Valentino, Egan, Otloswki, Dabrio, Gustafson, Roseo, Moates, and O'Brien families set out, determined to fundraise to start the South Plainfield High School Swim Team. The group hosted numerous fundraising events over the next several months. South Plainfield High School graduate and former Tiger Shark Swimmer, Ryan Egan, and his band volunteered to play at Gabriels', the swimmers canned, hosted other events and received donations from many businesses. In total the group raised $17,000.00. This became the seed money for the first South Plainfield High School Swim Team.
The South Plainfield High School Swim Team, began its first season in November, 2007. The team was heavily supported by then Athletic Director, Mike Buggey, Principal Ken May, and the constant scheduling and tedious efforts of Athletic Administrative Assistant Mickey Wrublevski. A large amount of students came out to join the team in its first year. Laurie Post, Tiger Shark and Blue Dolphin Swim Team Coach, and Director of the JCC facility was able to accommodate the swimmers for daily practices from 3:15 pm to 4:30 pm.
In 2008, the Board of Education voted to place the swim team in the budget. The first high school team coach was Stacey Closterman and Assistant Volunteer Coach Jen Otlowski. Both of these individuals were former swimmers. As, the years progressed, and the swim team grew, Shannon Dabrio and Mary Otlowski became coaches along with our present day Coach, Tom Conneely. Emily Piekarski was our first GMC, 1st place gold medal winner in the 500 free style event. Gracie Piekarski and Alison Huber have won silver and bronze medals in the GMC's with many of our swimmers securing fourth and fifth places. This year, Coach Tom Conneely and the South Plainfield High School Swim Team won the White Division in the GMC's. In 2009-10-11-12-13 our Swim Team has won the "Sportsmanship Award" voted on by the coaches from the other schools.
The South Plainfield Swim Team has the continuous support of Superintendent Dr. Genco, Principal Dr. Pedersen, and our biggest supporters, Athletic Director Al Czech and Debbie Czech, who attend every swim event, whether home at the JCC of Edison or away. Congratulations to the 2013-2014 South Plainfield High School Swim Coach and the team on winning the White Division.