EAST HAVEN >> While members of the East Haven girls swim team have been yearning to add more swimmers to their dwindling roster size, going from 12 swimmers two seasons ago to only four last season, Laura Rosado of Wilbur Cross has simply been hoping to have a team.
Sometimes, wishes do come true.
During the off-season, East Haven athletic director Anthony Verderame, understanding the Easties’ need to increase their roster size and with no swim program in New Haven, approached New Haven citywide athletic director Erik Patchkosky about creating an East Haven/Wilbur Cross co-op swim team.
“I approached Erik Patchkosky about creating a co-op and he and I worked out the details,” Verderame said. “Then both principals (East Haven principal Vincent DeNuzzo and Wilbur Cross principal Edith Johnson) gave their approval, both Boards of Education gave their approval and the CIAC approved our request to co-op. This is an amazing opportunity for both schools. Our student-athletes are absolutely thrilled to be swimming with each other and we are looking forward to a mutually successful season.”
East Haven/Wilbur Cross girls swim coach David Oshana, who began coaching the East Haven girls swim team last season, calls the co-op situation a win-win situation for everyone.
“Having numbers is a great thing for the team,” Oshana said. “It helps us score more points and hopefully we won’t have to forfeit any events due to low numbers. This also allows my swimmers to focus their energy on their best events.
“My athletic director set up the program with Wilbur Cross in an effort to get more swimmers. But there was also a lot of interest from Laura Rosado, who is a junior at Wilbur Cross and is currently swimming for our team. The bottom line is East Haven needed more swimmers and New Haven needed a program. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.”
Rosado, who has been swimming for the Omni Swim Club at Yale the last seven years, approached Johnson several times to try and get a swim program started at Wilbur Cross. New Haven schools haven’t had a swim program since 2006.
“Since my sophomore year I have been talking to our principal, almost every day, about getting a swim program started,” Rosado said. “She was very supportive. Having a co-op with East Haven is so great and exciting. I never thought it would happen this quickly. What I’ve been doing now is trying to get the word out and recruit more Wilbur Cross girls for the team. I’ve been talking to students and I put up signs all over Wilbur Cross asking anyone interested to join our swim team.”
There are two girls from Wilbur Cross on the team now and five more are expected to join the team by the end of this week. Since the team became a co-op program there has been more interest in East Haven and Oshana hopes to have 14 girls by the time the Easties’ regular season starts on Tuesday when they host North Haven at the East Haven Community pool at 4 p.m.
East Haven swimmers are anxious to start the regular season with their expanded team.
“When I first heard the co-op was going to happen, I was so excited,” said East Haven junior Gina DiVierniero, in her third season on the swim team. “We (East Haven team) were all excited and hoping to get a lot of girls.
“We haven’t been a big team over the years with low numbers. Now we have enough swimmers to compete in every event with a chance to get team wins. Hopefully, we can get even more girls from Wilbur Cross next year.”
Other swimmers expected to make an impact this season include freshman Syreena Melendez of Wilbur Cross and East Haven juniors Jennifer Jarrin and Ellen DiVierniero.
“Syreena Melendez has a lot of potential and we have a lot of good swimmers who swim on club teams,” Oshana said. “But for some girls, this is their first chance to swim in high school. The goal this year is to build the program, increase our numbers and improve everyone’s ability. They are all great kids, they are working hard and they are all excited to have a chance to swim. Hopefully, at some point, we’ll be able to get even more swimmers. We just need numbers and then we’ll be able to get some (team) wins.”