By Amy Life and Tasha Congdon
The Crozet Gators Swim Team won the 2022 Jefferson Swim League championship meet for the first time in 9 years, and just the second time ever. Crozet won with 2,365 points, Boar’s Head Swim Club finished second with 2,334.25 points, and Fairview placed third with 2,223 points. Seventeen teams from the area swam at UVA’s Aquatic and Fitness center July 29 – 30.
CGST was thrilled to be back to the regular format of a JSL summer season. Led by head Coach Tasha Congdon, the team set their sights on having fun, working hard, and swimming great races. Her assistant coaches (Matthew Heilman, Katie Jordan, Megan Life, Anthony Garono, Sam Johnson and John Noffsinger), mostly current/former Crozet Gators, showed tremendous leadership, passion, and skill as they coached purposefully. In addition, they set the tone for swimmers and families. The team is equally proud to be the recipient of the JSL Division One Sportsmanship Award for 2022.
The weekend started off strong with the 8 and under swimmers. The CGST 6 and under team of Grady Santuiste, Davis Junior, Posie Smith, and Audrey Kagarise placed first in their relay and finished an impressive 8 seconds ahead of second place. Both of the 8 and under girls relays placed first (medley: Brynn Forkin, June Diggans, Mary-Louise Jamme, Della Smith; and free: Brynn Forkin, Janie Rader, Della Smith, Milla Venable). The 8 and under boys (Dom Intagliata, Ben Bowman, Jack Rockwell and Altan Edgar) placed first in the medley relay. All of the swimmers were fired up, swimming the best they have all season long, fighting for every win. After the morning session concluded, Crozet Gators were ahead, 438.75 points to Boar’s Head’s 295.75 points. Eight-year-old Ben Bowman was the high point runner up for his session.
Energy was high going into Friday afternoon with the 13/older swimmers. The 15/18 boys relay (Anthony Garono, Matthew Heilman, Richard Wang and Sam Johnson) set a new JSL record in their 200 medley relay with a time of 1:35.20. The boys free relay (Jonathan Alexander, Richard Wang, Jeremiah Nicholson and Sam Johnson) placed first, as did the 13/14 boys medley relay (Brayden King, Jackson Hankins, Charlie Alexander and Ben Tungate) and the 15/18 girls medley relay (Julie Addison, Sophia Ma, Lucy Nicholson and Molly Streit). The Gators continued with the same energy, snagging hard-fought victories where they could, and popping off personal best times left and right. Crozet finished the night with a total of 1,456 points to Boar’s Head’s 1,355 points, setting them up nicely for the third session Saturday morning. Sam Johnson was the high point scorer for the session, with Richard Wang as the Runner-up.
Saturday morning had 9/10-year-old swimmers show up and fight to keep their team in first place. There were nerves going into this session as this set of swimmers was on the younger side of the age group. They battled it out and fought for every race. The morning session ended with Crozet in the lead by 10 points.
Saturday afternoon had the 11/12-year-old swimmers step up, with the girls setting the pace for the rest of the meet. The medley relay (Amelie Meyer, Sedona King, Dilyn Carter and Ashlynn Shinault) finished in first place, 11 seconds ahead of the next finisher. The energy continued from there, with the 11/12 CGST girls winning every individual event and relay event, and the boys fighting for their places on the podium as well. There were many nail-biting races during the meet, but by far the most occurred during this session. Wins were by 0.4 seconds or less! Boys and girls fought for their team, fighting to the very last yard. The final race had the 11/12 girls (Sophie Wang, Dorothy Streit, Cate Pearson and Dilyn Carter) finish with a 15-second lead, more than half a pool length, ahead of the second-place team. Amelie Meyer finished as the high point scorer, with Sophie Wang as runner-up.
Many swimmers came away with first place wins in individual events: Grady Santuiste, Ben Bowman, Brayden King, Matthew Heilman, Richard Wang, Sam Johnson, Amelie Meyer, Sophie Wang and Dilyn Carter. Every swimmer contributed in his or her own way and it was a total team victory. Earning the title of JSL Champions was the perfect ending to a truly great season.