Type to search

Swimming and Diving: Rough Riders celebrating special season

Swimming and Diving: Rough Riders celebrating special season


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor

The Kent Roosevelt High School boys and girls swimming and diving seasons have been perfect.


Both programs are undefeated.

And both programs captured titles at the Suburban League Championships earlier this month.

Head coach Corey Spicer said off-season training offered a peek at what he thought could turn into a special season in 2023-24, then his swimmers and divers turned in the performances to back up that thought.


“Our team is a mixture of both multiple-sport athletes and year-long swimmers,” Spicer said. “Most of our year-long swimmers train at club teams over the spring, summer and fall. Then, the rest of our team is a mixture of multiple-sport athletes from football, volleyball, soccer, cross country, golf, track, softball and lacrosse.

“This is the first year for our local youth team, the Kent Seariders, which hosted swimming clinics over the summer and had a solid turnout of swimmers from our area.”


“We had a pretty good idea of the situation we would be in this season early this summer when we saw some of the talent we were getting from the freshman class,” Spicer said. “Pairing them with a strong group of juniors and seniors, we knew this was going to be a season to remember.

“We especially knew our girls team was going to get a significant boost with this class of freshmen girls. For the most part, they are made up of girls who have been swimming for the Kent Seariders for multiple years and seeing how they swam last season at Splash League Championships really had us excited for their year up at the high school.

“The boys team did lose a key member to graduation over the summer, Gage Bailey, who was a top-10 finisher in multiple individual events at the state meet last year, but we had a really good portion of our team coming back after last season. With their previous championship experience and additional boys coming in as freshmen, we knew we would be able to make some noise again in the league.”


Drew Vecchio


200 IM and 100 Breaststroke

“Drew is our senior captain and the rock of our team,” Spicer said. “He’s been a great leader and he has done anything and everything for us this season that we needed him to. We are excited to see how the rest of the year goes for him.”

Jack Puhalla


50 Freestyle and 100 Butterfly

“Jack is a returning state-qualifier from our Medley relay and has stepped up to fill the shoes in the 50 Freestyle and 100 Butterfly this season,” Spicer said.

AJ Springer


50 Freestyle and 100 Backstroke

“AJ is a returning state-qualifier from our Medley relay and has really shown some expansive growth this season in his sprint and underwater technique,” Spicer said.

Kadin Pyka


100 Freestyle and 100 Breaststroke

“Kadin has shown he is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the next couple of seasons in the league,” Spicer said. “We are so excited to see what is in store for him, not only this postseason, but for his future as a Rough Rider. He is a true competitor in every sense of the word and is one of the hardest-working kids I’ve been blessed to coach.”


Gabriella Melin


200 Freestyle and 500 Freestyle

“Gabby has already set the school record this season in the 500 Freestyle at the Suburban League Championships and is the senior captain to our young girls team,” Spicer said. “She is a great role model for all the young girls to learn from, and we are really excited to see how her postseason pans out.”

Jeanie Barzellato


500 Freestyle and 100 Breaststroke

“Jeanie might be the sweetest and most caring individual you will ever meet, but don’t let that fool you when it comes to competing in the water,” Spicer said. “She has shown toughness and always comes up big for us when we need her to. She is our other senior captain on the girls squad.”

Trinity Heath


50 Freestyle and 100 Freestyle

“Trinity swims with a fire no kind of water will ever be able to put out,” Spicer said. “As a freshman, she was able to sweep the competition in the 50 and 100 Freestyles at the Suburban League Championships. She is someone to keep a close eye on this postseason.”

Coco Golden


200 IM and 100 Butterfly

“As a freshman, Coco has shown some great promise in two of the hardest races in the high school lineup,” Spicer said. “She can swim each stroke at a high level and has been a pivotal part in the success of the 200 Medley and Freestyle relays. We are excited to watch her growth in the water the next couple of years.”

Natalie St. John


200 Freestyle and 100 Backstroke

“Natalie is just scratching the surface of her full potential in the pool and it is really exciting to watch unfold,” Spicer said. “She leads off the team at the beginning of each meet in the Backstroke for the Medley relay and always sets the tone. Big things are in store for her in the coming seasons.”


“We are still battling it out through our dual-meet season before we can claim the full title of the Suburban League, but we are extremely proud of the way everyone swam at the league meet,” Spicer said. “From day one, they have had the goal to be the first team in school history to claim the title on both the boys and girls side, in the same season. It would also be the first girls title since 1996. The way they support each other and are not only excited when they swim fast, but when their teammates do, is a true testament to their togetherness. We are excited to continue swimming fast and meeting team and personal goals along the way.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *