The Ramson-Fair Haven Regional High School Swimming Team celebrates its victory in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group C Championship on February 18 in Neptune. PHOTO courtesy of KYLE DIPETRO
From the first day of the 2021-2022 season, the student-athletes of the Ramson-Fair Haven Regional High School swimming team had a goal to reach the championship meeting in the state sectional tournament and win another crown.
The memory of winning the state championship two years ago remained in the minds of bulldogs during the coronavirus pandemic and during the 2020-21 season, which was cut short due to COVID-19.
Having the opportunity to spend a full season in 2021-22 and fight for the team title, the Bulldogs knew they had a chance to relive the memories of the championship.
On Feb. 18, the Bulldogs won the state’s second state championship in three years, beating Livingston Gov. Berkeley Heights High School 95-75 in the final of the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group C tournament at the Neptune Water Center on Neptune. .
“The girls remembered what it was like to win the championship before the pandemic, and they wanted to do it again this year,” said coach Megan Vacarelli. “We have girls who will compete for each other and want their school team to be successful.”
State section the team championship ended the season of highlights, during which the Bulldogs went 11-2 in doubles. Three school records were broken during the season.
Senior Quinn Rinkus set a school record in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1: 05.29.
Freshman Annie Mie set a school record in the 100-meter butterfly with a result of 57.99.
Rinkus and Mi teamed up with junior Kindra Pelletier and senior Elizabeth Wright to set a school record in the 200-meter freestyle relay.
Rinkus helped the Bulldogs win the 2020 state title. Her experience and leadership have played a big part in the team’s success in 2022, Vacarelli said.
“Quinn was a really important part of our program,” the coach said. “She has contributed greatly to our success over the years.”
Mi eventually completed her outstanding freshman campaign by taking the top 16 in the 200-meter freestyle at the NJSIAA Meet Champions.
“She’s a very versatile swimmer,” Vacarelli said of Mi. “I could always count on her to score us points in any case she would be involved in.”
The Bulldogs performed well during the regular season against stiff competition at the Coastal Conference.
Ramson Fair Haven took second place after Trinity Hall Private School of Tinton Falls in the Central Division of Coastal Conference A and received the crown of the Public Branch School.
The Bulldogs finished fourth in the team at the Monmouth County Championships and fourth in the team at the Coastal Conference Championships.
Vacarelli believes that the performance of her swimmers in the regular season led to their success in the state sectional tournament.
“Everything we did during the year led us to victory (title in the section),” she said.
The hard work of bulldogs and devotion paid off when they faced Governor Livingston in the state championship for the third time in four years.
During the meeting, swimmers Ramson-Fair Haven won eight wins in 11 competitions.
Senior Sydney DiPietro won the 500-meter freestyle in 5: 35.23, and she teamed up with Mi, Wright and senior Madeleine Marucci to win the 400-meter freestyle in 3: 50.56.
DiPietro took third place in the 200-meter freestyle after Wright, who finished second in the competition.
The team of Mie, Rinkus, Pelletier and Clancy McCann won the 200-meter relay 1: 52.26. DiPetra, Megan Donavan, Lily Martinel and Carly Holden scored important team points for the Bulldogs, finishing third in this race.
Rinkus, Pelletier, McCann and Wright teamed up to win the 200-meter freestyle relay.
Rinkus spent a wonderful day in the pool, winning distances of 100 meters freestyle and 200 meters integrated swimming.
Mi won the 100-meter butterfly, and Wright won the 50-meter freestyle to help bring the Bulldogs to the section championship.
“Everyone jumped into what needed to be done to help win, and they did it well,” Vacarelli said of the swimmers’ performance in the state finals.
During the 2021-22 season, Vacarelli won his 100th career victory as a coach on Jan. 19 in a meeting against the West High Branch Shore Regional High School.
Having coached boys and girls at Ramson Fair Haven for 12 years, Vacarelli said she is delighted to have enjoyed the success her team has achieved.
Most importantly, the coach is happy to celebrate his 100th career victory with swimmers this season after all they have experienced over the past two years in the fight against the pandemic.
“It was very good to do that with this team and this group of seniors,” Vacarelli said. “We’ve all been through a lot over the last few years, and we’ve stayed together through it all.”
After the Bulldogs defeated Governor Livingston in the state championship match in the sectional championship, the 2021-22 season ended for the team in the Group C state semifinals, losing 93-77 to Morris County High School.