A swimming good time

A swimming good time

Paulo Madeira graduated from Montclair State University with a computer science degree and a math minor. Not bad for the start of a resum?. So, Madeira entered the job pool — literally — and never got out.

Madeira, who moved to America from Portugal when he was 17, is finishing his first year as the aquatics director and swim coach at the YM-YWHA of North Jersey in Wayne. The Y just completed its first winning season in the JCC swim league, and is sending six swimmers to the United States Swimming League New Jersey state championships at Rutgers University from March 17-19.

Frank Petracco, TylerBurchell, and Peter Kutyla were members of the 4×100 free medley relay that took 6th place overall.

"This year is a stepping stone. Every year I want to improve these numbers," said Madeira, the former Montclair Y swim coach. "We’re sending 6 kids to states this year, and next year I want to take 10 or 1′. We were successful compared to last year, but I want to be better."

The Blue Streaks improved all their numbers from last year, as over 100 kids, ages 6 to 17, competed this season — compared to about 60 last year. They compiled a 3-1 record in JCC league competition, and a loss to Scotch Plains was the season’s only blemish. It was a change from previous years, Madeira said, when the Blue Streaks were consistently winless in JCC competition.

"[In the past] the kids were very unmotivated because they kept on losing their JCC and USS meets," explained Madeira. "[The Y] wanted me to bring new life to the team and to motivate these kids."

Consider them motivated. In his rookie coaching season, Madeira has overseen several outstanding individual efforts. In particular, the six swimmers going to the state championships — Heather Bastinck, 11, Randi Ploshnick, 13, Patrick Shanley, 15, Michael Aboody, 10, Ilana Kleinfeld 10, and Jessica Rigoglioso, 10 — represent a renaissance for the Y’s swimming program. All six — plus Jen Zambrano, who "aged out" of the state competition — achieved the "gold standard" in their age group and specific event, earning them the right to compete at New Jersey’s most competitive level.

Said Madeira, "In 5 years, I see us bringing about ‘0 kids to the state championships, and on top of our division in the JCC league."

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