Brant Beach Yacht Club Swimmers Open Season With Victory

By DAVID BIGGY | Jul 18, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy

Olivia Davis and Kristin Maurer spent four years together swimming at Southern Regional High School. This summer, before they head off to college to start their next chapters in life, they took on a coaching role together, taking over the reins of the swim team at Brant Beach Yacht Club.

Of course, for as competitive as they were during their careers at Southern, Maurer and Davis had to adjust to the reality that summer swimming on Long Beach Island isn’t nearly as intense.

“It’s summer and it’s fun, but it’s important to us,” said Maurer, who next month will begin studying broadcast meteorology at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. “The biggest challenge is getting the little ones to listen and focus, but the kids love to race and we want the best for them.”

And it’s no surprise that Davis and Maurer guided BBYC to its first victory of the summer season on July 12 – a 180-138 triumph over Barnegat Light Yacht Club.

“We’re so happy with how this meet turned out,” said Davis, headed to Ramapo College of New Jersey later this summer. “It was a home meet in the bay, so it was a comfortable atmosphere for the kids. But the most important was their sportsmanship and how they supported each other. I’m so proud of them.”

At the outset of the teams’ opener, it appeared the meet would be a tight one the whole way, with BLYC coming out and scoring a few wins during the medley relays. But as the butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke events moved along, it became clear that BBYC’s depth was going to win out in the end. Carrying a decent lead into the freestyle relays, BBYC finished the job.

Still, BLYC coach Thomas Pazzana wasn’t disappointed with his crew of 40 or so youngsters.

“All I want from them is that they do their best,” said the 23-year-old Pazzana, who started swimming when he was 5 years old at Barnegat Light Yacht Club and is in his fourth summer as coach. “This is a lot of fun, and as a coach you see them succeed and you can’t help but feel good about it. When they get out of the water after a race and have a big smile on their face, it’s the greatest thing in the world.”

Obviously, swimming competitive meets in the bay is quite different than when the teams will make their way to either St. Francis Community Center or Haven Beach Club and swim in pools. But that’s part of the fun, according to BBYC swimmer Mariah White, one of the team’s big guns in the 12-and-under division.

“I prefer swimming in a pool, but I think swimming in the bay makes you better,” said White, a Pearl River, N.Y., resident who summers on the Island and began swimming at BBYC at 7 years old. “Sometimes, it gets choppy out there and it’s harder to swim through that. And you can’t really see where you’re going, so you have to know what you’re doing in the bay.”

Interestingly, friend and teammate Ava Jobst likes the exercise of swimming but mostly enjoys spending time with the friends she’s made at the yacht club.

“This is more fun than competitive. It’s definitely more laid back,” said Jobst, who started swimming the same time White did, at 7. “If I didn’t swim, I’d have to find something else to do. But it’s been great being on a team like this one because I’ve met a lot of friends over the years.”

For BLYC 12-and-under swimmer Jeff Muhlschlegel, he, too, has his friends to thank for getting him involved with the swim team.

“I have some friends who were doing sailing and swim team, and I tried sailing but didn’t really like it,” said Muhlschlegel, after completing his first attempts at swimming competitively. “Then I tried out swimming and liked it, so I joined the team. I like it so far, especially because I get to be with my friends.”

Of course, swimming competitively in the bay was a whole new experience for Muhlschlegel as well.

“I always thought I was a strong swimmer,” he said. “But going up against other people has let me know I have to work harder to get better in this sport.”

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