By Justin Feil, Assistant Sports Editor
Jack Moses was already a talented swimmer, and after swimming year-round for the first time, he has left his opponents further in his wake.
“Last year, I didn’t swim for the Princeton Tigers,” said the Montgomery resident. “The Princeton Tigers really prepared me. I could push myself even harder in the Cherry Valley practices.”
The 10-year-old won three individual events and was part of the winning 100 freestyle relay for the Cherry Valley Country Club team that finished second in Division 3 at the Princeton Area Swimming and Diving Championships on Tuesday.
“I felt good about it,” said Moses, who will be a fifth grader at Montgomery. “I’ve been winning mostly all my races.”
Nothing changed from the regular season to the championship meet for Moses, and his winning margins in the 10-and-under division were impressive. He won the 25-meter freestyle in 16.50 seconds; the runner-up swam 19.03. The gaps were even larger in his other two individual races. He won the backstroke in 19.82 seconds with the runner-up finishing in 24.40 seconds. He captured gold in the butterfly in 18.34 seconds with second place coming in at 23.49 seconds.
“He loves to swim,” said CVCC head coach Claire Scarpa. “He was always good. He did the Marlins before he did the Princeton Tigers.”
Moses also plays baseball. He is a catcher, pitcher and third baseman and also loves that sport. Last year, Moses upped his swimming commitment when he joined the Princeton Tigers club team.
“Last year, I figured out I was pretty good at swimming,” he said. “I asked my parents if I could swim for a different team. I play baseball too. The swimming helps me do better at baseball.”
He has seen improvement after being pushed more in club swimming. While he moves up next year in the PASDA division, he will still be in 10-and-under for club swimming.
“When I swim for the Tigers, I do good,” Moses. “It’s good competition but I still do good.”
He was happy to see that Cherry Valley also did well. They didn’t have the numbers of swimmers as some teams, but they swam well.
“It was pretty good,” Moses said. “We were pretty happy.”
Their numbers were so thin in areas — Cherry Valley had just two 8-and-under boys — that Scarpa had to move some swimmers up to pick up points in the relays. Some strong swimmers like Moses and fellow 10-and-under David Ellis combined with 9-year-old Jack Fromelt and 6-year-old Damien Perone to win the 100 free relay. Scarpa was impressed that Perone jumped in un-intimidated to help the team pick up points. Perone was part of the strongest part of Cherry Valley.
“I had so many younger boys this year,” Scarpa said. “Considering I had almost no older boys, the younger boys carried the team.
“I had a decent number of kids,” she added. “I had seven 6-and-under boys. They were wracking up points. In our division, there were eight boys so they were placing in every event. That helped us get a lot of points.”
The PASDA Championships finished off another solid season for Cherry Valley. The swimmers showed progress and were competitive from start to finish.
“We went 4-1 in the regular season,” Scarpa said. “We had a really good season. We just don’t have a lot of older boys. That makes it a little tough.”
Their lone loss was to The Country Pool, which scored 1,791 points to Cherry Valley’s 1,355 in the PASDA finals.
“They were the team that beat us in the regular season,” Scarpa said. “They outnumbered us. They have some good swimmers as well. I was surprised we did as well as we did against them.
“I was very happy overall,” she added. “I thought they swam really well. We took home a bag full of medals. The kids will be excited at our banquet to get them.”
Having a swimmer of Moses’s caliber helps. He is one of four athletic siblings. His older sister, Morgan, will be a junior swimmer at Montgomery High, his brother, Greg, just graduated after playing baseball at MHS and his younger sister, Ava, will be in second grade and also competed in the PASDA Championships. Jack has enjoyed the success that he has had and seeing how much he has developed.
“I like butterfly and free,” Moses said. “This year, I’ve gotten way better at butterfly. I’ve been good at freestyle and backstroke. I like freestyle because it’s easiest to race.”
Moses will take a break from swimming in the month of August, then return to the pool with the Princeton Tigers. He swims for them into the spring when baseball starts then gets into the summer swimming with Cherry Valley.
“Cherry Valley is more of a fun, easy one,” Moses said. “It’s not as serious, but it’s still serious. Princeton is pretty serious.”
With the Tigers, Moses gets longer workouts than with summer swimming. That has paid off in making him stronger and faster.
“I swim 50 and 100 and sometimes 200,” Moses said. “In Princeton, we do a 500 every month to see how much better we’re getting at it.
“I got really good at butterfly from Princeton,” he added. “My coaches really pushed me. And with Cherry Valley, Coach Scarpa, Coach Liz and Coach Cassidy pushed me a lot too.”
After finishing so fast in his first year of year-round swimming, Jack Moses has no intention to slow down. He has seen the benefits of a bigger commitment in the pool and it paid off handsomely with a golden day at the PASDA finals.
Said Moses: “I am more motivated that I can get better.”
By Justin Feil, Assistant Sports Editor