Rough Seas Ahead For Pirates
December 20th, 2006
Eleven consecutive PSAL Opens Championship titles combined with seven consecutive PSAL City Championships is an unparalleled record by any team’s standard, yet the Stuyvesant boys’ swimming team, the Pirates, has managed to achieve just that. But with only two-thirds of the team they had last year, the Pirates are in for some rough seas ahead this coming season.
In years past, the Pirates’ success relied heavily upon their short distance swimmers, many of whom represented Stuyvesant in the annual New York State Federation of Secondary School Athletic Association Swimming and Diving Championships. With the loss of last year’s senior class, the Pirates lost a significant number of their fastest sprinters, including co-captains Lawrence Chan (‘06) and Nick Morgan (‘06), as well as their only diver, James Styles (‘06).
Led by this year’s seniors and co-captains Daniel Chen and Jonathan Joa, the team began their preseason in mid-November, taking 12 rookies in tryouts this year to an attempt to balance out the team’s roster.
According to Coach Peter Bologna, the team needed a change in their workouts in order to cope with a more distance-oriented group of swimmers this year. “I started them off with harder workouts earlier in the season to get the boys into shape. The workouts are similar to last year, but with a little more focus on long distance and a lot more technique work. Overall, the workouts were a bit of a shock for the team, but it’s worked in getting most of them into shape.”
At the beginning of September, Chen and Joa set up a dry-land exercise program independent of Coach Bologna’s practices, where the team met three times a week to work on calisthenics and stretching. According to Joa, they “wanted to get the returners back in shape and build up strength to prepare for a challenging season.”
“I’d love for everyone on the team to drop times from last year’s standards, as well as achieve some personal best records,” said Bologna. “It would, of course, also be great to win another City Championship.”
The Pirates’ season has been affected this year with three scheduled meets that will not be held as scheduled. As a result, the Pirates will only be swimming eight official meets this season, but several non-league unofficial meets have been considered in order to have the team compete against stronger teams than those currently in the Pirates’ division. However, the team has a 2-0 record following a forfeit in their season opener to James Monroe Campus High School and a 51-36 victory over Evander Childs High School on Friday, December 15, in which the Pirates placed first and second in every event.
Losing a large part of the Pirates’ winning tradition for the last few years may present the biggest obstacle the team has seen in years. However, with a relatively weak division, an undefeated season will not be out of the team’s reach this season, and whether they can continue their tradition of victories in the PSAL Opens Championship and PSAL City Championships remains to be seen.