St. Joe’s swimmers capture GMC title again


Hopes were high for area teams heading into the 2009 Greater Middlesex Conference boys swimming meet. With county powerhouse St. Joseph heading into the weekend’s tournament in the midst of a fivemeet losing streak, county teams entered the pool with hopes of ending St. Joe’s consecutive titles at 30. Hopes were dashed once again when the St. Joseph High School swimming team tallied 569 points, well ahead of secondplace finisher South Brunswick’s 396.

“Our team lacks some of the big-time guys like Bobby Savulich and Scott Marino that we’ve been fortunate enough to have over the years,” St. Joseph head coach Steve Whittington said. “We had to find other ways to win this year. From the top of the lineup to the bottom, we put together a complete meet. Everyone was finally able to put their fast times together for a single meet, and it paid off. Everything clicked.”

While no member of this year’s Falcon team set meet records or grabbed a handful of individual medals, the team put together and overall consistent performance to keep their historic streak alive and win the event for the 31st consecutive season.

Senior Zack Sosnovich had a huge day for the Falcons. Sosnovich swam the anchor leg for the 200 medley relay B team, which took third place. The team’s A team, composed of Alex Burzynski, Matt Derenzo, Shane Tonery and Donny Keenan, won the race.

“Getting first and third in the relay was really big,” Whittington said. “Zack was just a different swimmer on Saturday. He took sixth place in the 50 freestyle and fifth in the 100 free. He had been finishing the 50 free in 24 seconds, and in Saturday’s race he was in the 22s. That’s a pretty impressive improvement.”

Burzynski and Tonery were the lone Falcons to take first in individual races at the meet. Burzynski won the 100 backstroke in 55.45 and Tonery took first place in the 100 butterfly in 55.85.

Tonery swam his personal best in every race he entered. Tonery’s performance also earned him a third-place finish in the 200 individual medley (2:01.55).

Junior John Wieczorek also had a breakout meet, with a fourth-place finish in the 100 freestyle, a fifth-place finish in the 50 freestyle, and a first-place finish alongside Tonery, Burzynski and Dylan McDermott in the 400 freestyle relay.

“In the 100 free, John swam his best time of 51.39,” Whittington said. “He got stronger as the meet went on, and he finished the 400 free relay in a 49.9 split. That was definitely a milestone for him. Breaking the 50-second barrier is a huge step, and we welcome him to the club.”

McDermott turned in two second-place finishes at the 200 freestyle and the 500 freestyle races.

Fellow sophomore Donny Keenan took third in the 50 free and second in the 100 breaststroke.

The Falcons will travel to Red Bank to take on Christian Brothers Academy with the hope of pulling off an upset.

“This is usually a big meet for both schools,” Whittington said. “We may not be as strong as we normally are, and CBA doesn’t ever seem to have a down year. If we swim like we did at the county finals, CBA has a lot to be worried about.”