Yonkers Boys Swim Crew Continues Success Throughout COVID – Yonkers Instances

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Senior Captain David Kantar at the 2020 State Championships last March

There aren’t any managers, fans, handshakes, or even another team present at varsity swim meets this season. Divisional and State Championships have been canceled, and an abbreviated dual-meet schedule has been put in place. However, all these changes haven’t stopped The Yonkers Combined Boys Swim Team from continuing their success in the pool this season.
“We are extremely happy to be back swimming together again” Coach Julie Schoenlank stated, who is in her 5th season as head coach. “The boys are there to support one another and essentially replace the energy from the non-existent fans and opposing team.”

The boys began their season January 4, 2021 and have posted a 2-0 record thus far, defeating Byram Hill 75-58 and Harrison 48-45. There have been multiple meet postponements and cancellations, but the boys aren’t discouraged. “It’s definitely an unusual season, but we are taking it one day at a time” Senior Captain Manny Omana said. “I’m just glad we are back in the pool working together on another great season, as short as it is. Staying healthy is a priority.”

The swim meets are certified by two officials who are in-person at each team’s pool on the day of a meet. Times are recorded and entered into a Section 1 database. After both teams have entered their results, the program will show where swimmers placed and who won the meet.
Senior Captain David Kantar, of Yonkers High, has returned for his final season after making history for Yonkers last March on Long Island, just before the COVID outbreak. Kantar qualified for State Championship Finals in the 100 yard butterfly- a feat that has never been accomplished in Yonkers Swimming History. Kantar placed 26th in the State of New York with a time of 52.84. He also holds multiple team and pool records at Mark Twain Pool. David also qualified as a sophomore for State Championship Trials in the same event.

“It was a privilege to represent Yonkers at States,” Kantar said. “Knowing it was the first finals appearance in Yonkers History, I was overjoyed for this opportunity.” Even with 2021 State Championships canceled, Captain Kantar is staying positive: “It’s definitely a unique season, but we refuse to get discouraged. We will continue to motivate one another. With our first two meets, the team has proven we can create a racing environment even without opponents present. I see no regression in our future.”

Key Returnees include: Seniors: David Kantar (Capt. YHS), Manny Omana (Capt. SHS), Romulo Valadez (YHS).
Juniors: Colin Reardon (YHS)
Sophomores:Sean Reardon (RHS)

Key Newcomers: Ajdin Cirikovic (JR, GHS), and Liam McMullen (FR, YHS)
Thanks for Yonkers Swim Coach Julie Schoenlank for her help putting together this story.

In a related story, Westchester school districts now have the choice to re-open their higher-risk sports, football, wrestling, ice hockey, rugby, basketball, contact lacrosse, volleyball, martial arts, and competitive cheer/dance, on Feb 1, after six hudson valley County Executive’s including Westchester County Executive George Latimer approved the decision. On Jan 22, the New York State Department of Education giving the option to local school districts.

Westchester County Executive Latimer said, “Since early March Westchester County has grappled with the realities of COVID-19. While the bodily threats of the virus are clearly documented – the mental impacts of COVID-19 are also equally devastating. Children in particular have suffered significant mental harms due to the isolation of not being in school consistently, not socializing with friends and family, and not partaking in extracurricular actives. Today, I stand with my fellow Hudson Valley County Executives in support of sports resuming in schools. To be clear, there will be protective protocols in place, and these additional precautions are to protect the athletes. But, I am in favor of providing our children with some normalcy so that they can begin to heal from this horrific pandemic.”

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