Community Column: Roosevelt Island Marlins

Roosevelt Island Marlins
Roosevelt Island Marlins, Board of Directors
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Swimming is a complex sport that develops qualities that benefit both kids and adults. The Roosevelt Island Marlins Swim Team offers community members an affordable opportunity to swim and compete in an organized and structured environment. For over a decade, the Marlins have been serving both long-term residents and new families arriving to the Island from all over the world. Our Island is a tight-knit community and a family-oriented place, and we are proud that thousands of Island residents have learned to swim with us in our amazing and friendly environment.

The Marlins are supervised by Roosevelt Island Swimming, Inc., a non-profit community-based organization run by parent volunteers. Over the past 11 years, this small but very dedicated group of Island parents managed to create and sustain a high-quality, yet affordable, Learn-to-Swim program and our very successful competitive swim team. With more pool time available for training this season, we were able to grow the program, and saw record enrollment in both our Learn-to-Swim program and the swim team in 2015. Between our summer classes and the regular season, we served over 250 kids and adults ages 18 months to over 50 years.

The Marlins are proud to represent Roosevelt Island wherever we travel, striving to make our community visible to the world. We are not simply chasing faster times and swim-meet records; from the start, the Marlins defined our mission as building not just strong bodies, but strong minds and well-rounded and adjusted personalities. The discipline of swimming practices impacts on all other aspects of our athletes’ lives. Our Learn-to-Swim and swim team swimmers excel in school, time management, setting goals, and working hard to achieve them.

A highlight of the 2015-2016 season was seeing our youngest swimmers in the Future Stars group compete for the very first time. This new division bridges the gap between our Learn-to-Swim program and the competitive team, allowing swimmers as young as six years old to build their competitive skills. The Juniors and Seniors had an outstanding season, reaching their best times and winning many close races. The older swimmers provide great leadership and guidance for our new 8 & Under division recruits, many of whom are their younger siblings.

Many of our Seniors, who started as Beginners five to eight years ago, now attend specialized high schools and successfully complete both academic and athletic workloads. Organized swimming helped them build self-confidence and improve their time management and social skills. Daily workouts at the pool do not simply teach Island children swim strokes or prepare our swimmers for competitions, but also allow them to socialize in a fun, safe, and supportive environment with their peers, learning important lessons that help them succeed at school and in life. Our graduates have attended MIT, SUNY at Buffalo, SUNY at Stony Brook, Columbia, Colgate, CUNY, and many more undergraduate programs.

Over 40 Marlins athletes have competed against the strongest teams in the metropolitan area and won multiple gold, silver, and bronze medals this season. Our team placed among the ten strongest teams of the 105 in the Metropolitan Area (including NYC, Long Island, and Westchester.) We now have swimmers in the top ten in our Metro Area, top 15 in the entire Eastern Zone (East Coast of the U.S. from Maine to Virginia), and top 50 nationally. We are proud of Jasper Bruskotter, Ines Chomnalez, Milos Ciric, Freddy Coronel, Lisa and Matteo Coullare, Isabel Coutinho, Malamati Drougos, Emir Emre, Victor Gazdoiu, Mira Goodman, Katarina and Milica Grozdanic, Nicholas Gusita, Aiden Hightower, Payton Hightower, Elena Jordan, Lara Jordan, Ethan Li, Kelsey Long, Strahinja Maslo, Charline Mazanek, Denys Mialkovskyi, Erika Nazarova, Jonna Norberg, Malte Norberg, Shimaa Omar, Grigory Pashkov, Matija Prokic, Natalie Reinhart, Ian Remor, Patrick Ren, Andrea Ritziu, Bogdan Sadikovic, Sophia Shchuchinov, Timur Shchuchinov, Michael Shumikhin, Maksim Tesovic, Tamara Tesovic, Stephan Vesselov, Nader Yamout, and Andrew Zubac for their accomplishments this season.

Ten-year-old Sophia Shchuchinov was the first Islander to become a Junior Olympics Champion, getting the gold medal in the 2015 Long Course Junior Olympics for 100-meter breast stroke. She went on to represent the Metro Area at the Eastern Zone All Star Championship in Richmond, Virginia. She competed with the fastest age group swimmers, both in individual events and relay races, placing as high as seventh in the Zone.

Twelve Marlins swimmers will represent Roosevelt Island in the Metro 2016 Junior Olympics Championship this March: Milos Ciric, Emir Emre, Victor Gazdoiu, Katarina Grozdanic, Elena Jordan, Kelsey Long, Strahinja Maslo, Denys Mialkovskyi, Matija Prokic, Sophia Shchuchinov, Maksim Tesovic, and Andrew Zubac. A record number of our athletes achieved Eastern Zone qualifying times this season.

There was tremendous parental support this year at the meets, practices, and team events, including movie nights, dances, and parties. Our amazing families traveled with their swimmers and filled the stands at every pool we competed at. The season concluded with an end-of-year dinner filled with great food and music, an award ceremony for the 2015 Team Challenge winners, and a video show. Team members with the best attendance received well-deserved Dedication Awards. This was a wonderful way to encourage and reward swimmers who manage to balance their athletic achievements and academic successes.

On behalf of all Marlins families, we thank our hardworking Learn-to-Swim instructors (Tyrone Hung, Andrea Gasic, Doris Gasic, Sylvia Guzikowski, Ana Naumovska, Jana Lausevic, Elizabeth Yako, and Hugo Genes) and our dedicated coaches (Michael Gavrilchin, Krzysztof Szkoda, and Igor Shoukhardin) for a great swimming season. We credit our experienced coaching staff and committed parents with the teams’ continuing growth and success and look forward to another great year at the pool.

Visit our website at to learn more about our programs, register for the Learn-to-Swim program, or schedule a tryout for the competitive team. You can also shop our online store and purchase Marlins-branded T-shirts, hoodies, and swimwear to support our team.

Tags: Community Column Marlins Swim Team

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