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Boys swimming: Tappan Zee's Wong goes above and beyond

 

Boys swimming: Tappan Zee's Wong goes above and beyond

 

BY DEBBIE SCHECHTER •  DSCHECHT@LOHUD.COM • APRIL 7, 2010

Tappan Zee junior Stanley Wong, a star on the Tappan Zee boys swim team, has his parents to thank for his swimming abilities.

The Journal News Rockland performer of the year in boys swimming went to a "Mommy and Me" class at South Orangetown Middle School. His father taught him the breaststroke in the pool at his home.

He started competing at the age of 7 for the Orangetown Sharks (now known as the New York Sharks) in the Rockland summer swim league."

I started in the summer league and got some trophies," Wong said. "My mom thought that I was good at swimming, so she kept me swimming and told me not to quit. When I was 9 I went to theJunior Olympics, the metropolitan swim meet; I saw the kids getting awards on the blocks and I wanted to do that."

The next step was to join the high school team, which he did in eighth grade.

"When I was watching the older guys, it seemed like a fun team sport," Wong said. "I wanted to be a part of it with my friends."

"Stanley is a coach's dream from the standpoint that he is very receptive to his coaches' input and always wants to try new ways to improve on previous performances," Dutchmen coach Dan Rafferty said. "He dedicates himself to the sport of swimming by going above and beyond the minimum requirements for succeeding in the sport.

"Attending practices is just part of what Stanley does to be a better swimmer. He follows a strict dry land routine, attends available swim clinics and, most importantly, prepares himself mentally to do better. His accomplishments this year are a culmination of all these efforts on his part."

This season Wong was the Section 1 champion in the 50-yard freestyle for the third straight year and finished third in the 100 breaststroke. He helped both the 200 medley relay and the 200 free relay — which were in consideration for all-America status — to Section 1 titles.

At the state championships in Buffalo in February, Wong finished third in the 100 breaststroke. He missed out on a state title in the 50 free by .04 seconds. He garnered all-America status for his time (20.89). The medley relay and the 200 free relay finished fourth and seventh, respectively.

He achieved all-America status for the 100 breaststroke and in both relays. He's also all over the record books. Wong set four school records, four Rockland County records and a Section 1 record as part of the 200 free relay. Based on his performance in the 50 free at states, he was named all-league, all-county and all-section, and qualified for Senior Nationals.

Back when he started, Wong never thought he'd get to a place where he'd be within inches of a state championship.

"Seeing the seniors go to states and qualify for it at sections," Wong said. "It kind of motivated me to get into that meet and see what it would be like to be at that big of a meet."

But the biggest thing for the captain of the Dutchmen was that he helped the team to an undefeated regular season and their first Section 1 team title in 14 years.

"He's a great teammate," Dutchmen senior Brendan Lavery said. "He's all about the team. In the relay, he swims all out and wants to do it for the team. He also wants everyone else to do well too. He knows that this is a team sport. He's a great teammate and I appreciate him."

Wong liked how the season went but he's also looking forward to next year.

"This season has been the best season that I've ever been a part of," Wong said. "To have us have an undefeated season and to win counties and sections, it's a great feeling. And I'm hoping that we can do it again next year."

In his wildest dreams, Wong said he never thought he'd be where he is now in his swimming career.

"Not really," Wong said. "My parents wanted me to do this to stay healthy. And I guess this is a reward for what I've been putting into the sport."

Coach of the year, Dan Rafferty, Tappan Zee: Rafferty guided the Dutchmen to an undefeated regular season, the Rockland County championship, the divisional championship, and the school's first Section 1 championship in 14 years.

All section:

Lucas Amodio, Arlington; Rex Bernstein, Nyack; Timothy Bosse, Lourdes; Jack Carey, Tappan Zee; Charlie Carr, John Jay/Brewster; Risten Clarke, Horace Greeley; Taegan Clarke, Horace Greeley; John Conway, Suffern; Alexi Corey, Tappan Zee; Zachary Eller, White Plains; Eric Farm, Clarkstown; Dan Gilroy, Briarcliff/Byram Hills/Pleasantville/Valhalla/Westlake; Matt Hadley, Horace Greeley; Kevin Hughes, Rye/Blind Brook/Rye Neck; Ben Itzkowitz, New Rochelle; Matthew Karle, Fox Lane; Brendan Lavery, Tappan Zee; Chris Lyons, Rye/Blind Brook/Rye Neck; Reo Mukadai, Harrison; Reed Neuendorf, Tappan Zee; Michael Nicholson, Horace Greeley; Evan Olin, Ossining; James Pacella, Tappan Zee; Will Robins, Horace Greeley; Johann Schmidt, Clarkstown; Brad Thomas, Wappingers; Ryan Walsh, Arlington; Connor White, Fox Lane; Stanley Wong, Tappan Zee.