BLOOMFIELD, NJ--The Bloomfield High swimming team is putting together a solid program, led by head coach Lenore Imhof. And while the program may be new to some Bengals fans, it's been a work-in-process for a dozen years.
Imhof is an educator at Bloomfield High, as well as an attorney. A Bloomfield native and graduate of BHS, she's also a devout swimmer, having competed in high school and later at Georgetown University.
"It's all about building relationships," she said, in regard to coaching. "And I'm so fortunate, in that I have a tremendous group of student-athletes. They do well in the classroom, and they're wonderful to work with on the swimming team.
"The program during the 2006-2007 school year. We've had great support from the administration as well."
The numbers on the team continue to grow. Imhof noted that there are 35 swimmers, females and males, on the squad for the 2019-2020 season. The Bengal practice at the Montclair YMCA pool The Bengals have a pretty full schedule this winter. The team opened with a meet against Science Park, on Dec. 11, followed by meets at St. Benedict's, on Dec. 14 and Elizabeth five days later.
Following the holiday break, Bloomfield was scheduled to swim against St. Benedict's, on Jan. 9, at 5 p.m., then compete at the Essex County championships, at NJIT, on Jan. 20, starting at 9 a.m.
"The people at the Montclair Y are great to us," said Imhof. "We really have a nice relationship with everyone in the program, including our opponents. We enjoy the competition but more importantly, it's about young people learning to participate in a sport. It builds skills that can last a lifetime."
The team captains are seniors Peter Kuo, Yvel Moreau, Camille Aquino and Faith Guerron.
The girls roster features seniors Katherine Bretz, Stephanie Cardona, Lexie Corio, Mariely Fonseca, Roxanne Gribbin, Jamianne Kelly, Elena Paez-Puente, Tiffany Rodriguez and Mia Vaquero. Tiffany Ortiz is a junior while the sophomore class features Isabella Llanes, Cecilia Plecs and Natalie Torres The freshmen are Sophia Carroll, Alexis Laviola and Imelda Omoyi.
The boys roster has seniors Wadley Darius, Malik Diagne, Matthew Garth, Angelo Gonzalez, Noah Kelly, Christian Lopez, Fernando Ortega-Garcia, Anthony Rizzi and Adam Velin. Derick Bedoya, Nathan Espiritu and Brandon Levine are juniors while the sophomores feature Stephen Antonsson, Fernalee Aquino, Ehab Breikaa, Jonah Clarin, Dante Teresi Ideal Zequ. The freshmen are Jarred Gumboc, Michael Richard, Jason Vaquero and Alexander Wolfe.
Nathan Espiritu has done a good job for the Bengals in the 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle and 200 IM, according to Imhof. And while he may be new to the team, Fernando Ortega-Garcia has stepped into a key role for the team in the 100 butterfly.
"These kids are wonderful," said Imhof, who has been with the program since its inception. "Coming to practice every day is a joy. I'm really proud of the way they've continued to improve."