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Local Swimmers Compete in Major Swimming Competition

Berkeley Aquatic Club sent 89 competitors to national event.

Eighty-nine elite athletes from Berkeley Aquatic Club competed at CeraVe Invitational Meet, one of the few long-course swimming events held in the United States during the winter. 

Held at Rutgers University from January 11 to 13, CeraVe is a meet with a long history, as Berkeley Aquatic Club has been hosting this meet for 22 years, with CeraVe serving as the sponsor for the past four.  

CeraVe has become synonymous with fast times and one that for years has attracted Olympic swimmers, which in the past have included Scott Goldblatt, Michael Phelps, Cullen Jones, Rebecca Soni and Katie Hoff, while this year’s meet featured swims by Olympic medalists Katie Ledecky, Lia Neal and Ian Silverman. Moreover, swimmers and fans alike were able to meet Rebecca Soni on Friday night, as she graciously signed autographs on deck for over 3 hours on the first night of the meet.

Clubs came from as far as upstate New York, Maryland, Washington DC, Massachusetts, and California including North Baltimore Atlantic Swim Club and Germantown Academy.  Of the 25 clubs that participated in the meet, Berkeley Aquatic finished sixth, with six Berkeley swimmers placing in the top three in their individual events: Gavin Formon, David Hua, Hailey Harkins, Claire O’Mara, Lindsey Rispoli and Lia Sartorio.

Erin Barry of Millington, NJ and Charlie Cole of Bernardsville were the high point scorers for Berkeley Aquatic, as points are earned through top-eight finishes. For the boys’ age ten and under group, Gavin Formon placed first in the 200 meter Freestyle, third in the 100 Freestyle, and third in the 200 meter Individual Medley. In the 13-14 age group, David Hua placed second in the 100 meter Freestyle. In the girls’ ten and under age group, Hailey Harkins placed third in the 50 Butterfly. In the 11-12 age group, Lindsay Rispoli placed third in the 100 meter Breaststroke, and in the 13-14 age group, Claire O’Mara placed first in the 100 Freestyle and 50 Freestyle, while Lia Sartorio earned third in the 100 Breaststroke.

Perhaps the most poignant moment of the meet, which has become a tradition at CeraVe was the presentation of a check to the Fran Crippen Elevation Foundation, a charity set up by Crippen’s family in honor of the Open Water swimmer who passed away back in 2010. 

Crippen was a decorated swimmer, who passed away at the age of 26, while swimming in an Open Water event in the United Arab Emirates.  CeraVe was one of the many events, which Crippen competed at when he was younger, with his passing hitting a nerve with many of the past and present Berkeley Aquatic swimmers. 

Since his death, Berkeley Aquatic has been collecting money to contribute to this charity, as the funds collected by this organization go toward helping athletes achieve their dreams, with the foundation committed to developing its resources through educational and participatory activities, which include swim clinics, athletic competitions and organized community events.

Concerned in BH January 30, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Dr. DeFabio, considering that you deemed the issue to be polarizing, this is a ridiculously one-sided interview. What happened to the other side of the issue? Why not interview those who oppose the project and let their voices be heard? Did you even attempt to contact them?
Jonathan C. Wishnia January 30, 2013 at 02:53 PM
So that no one is fooled here, "expanding" means trying to dump an acre-plus building with hundreds of parking spots into a quiet residential neighborhood in Warren. This neighborhood-destroying monstrosity is being funded by CEOs of out of state companies who not only don't care about the lives they are seeking to ruin, but has involved BAC threatening and suing people and towns, respectively. Stop BAC Warren by visiting www.StopTheBAC.com and on facebook.
Karen Freudenberger January 30, 2013 at 03:51 PM
What will stop drivers from exiting the proposed new BAC facility and turning right onto Hillcrest and making another right onto Emerson, especially during peak traffic hours. The Watchung side of Hillcrest often backs up to Rt 78 during rush hour. Would people really try to get back onto 78 in order to turn around and go back towards the local areas - I think not. Emerson Lane, a narrow, two lane, sight challenged road used by joggers and kids on bikes is the obvious cut through. If the currant facility serves 5,000-6,000 children learning to swim, how many more will be served by the addition of more and larger pools? Please don't insult my intelligence by telling me that none of that traffic will find its way onto Emerson Lane. I think it would only be fair to have a similar interview with the mayor and town council members to hear their side of this proposal. There are other projects proposed for future development in Berkeley Heights that would impact seage demand. These would generate taxes for Berkeley Heights, not Warren. The mayor and town council are right to protect the best interests of its citizens. Karen Freudenberger
Alberto January 30, 2013 at 04:17 PM
I wonder how many out the 89 swimmers were from Berkeley Heights. I know most of them are not local they come other towns. The BAC keeps pushing their agenda and continues to disregard our community. They sued the town they think they own our sewage plant. Its disgusting the lengths they are taking to make $$. I'm happy that my kids are no longer attending their classes and are now at FT. Support your community www.stopthebac.com
CB April 10, 2013 at 01:10 PM
To all of the above - I understand that the proposed new BAC facility has two different sides but can we please leave these articles alone that show the accomplishments of local area swimmers. Our children are our future and we should not disparage their accomplishments. They had the opportunity to compete against other high caliber athletes from outside the area at a local meet and come away with many positives. A local meet that is also trying to do something positive by raising funds for a worthy charity. Swimming has been considered one of the best activities to all to have throughout our lives - from its use as exercise to most importantly by reducing the number of drowning incidents. Therefore, lets be proud of the accomplishments of our children from whatever activity they chose - and leave the debate comments to articles that are discussing that issue.

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