Union County News

Fanwood Resident Ana Bogdanovski's Unlikely Swim Course Has Led Her to the Olympics in Rio

6752b3d347a358b68c90_Ana_3441.JPG
Fanwood resident Ana Bogdanovski will swim in the Olympics in Rio. Credits: John Mooney
72d8163ab0260d173dee_a89cbffff2590b038507_DSC_3426.JPG
Aislinn Mooney, Ana Bogdanovski, Chris Karelus, ‎Competitive Aquatics Director at Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA, Morgan Tsin, and Taylor Tsin Credits: John Mooney
25ff45592f17f91c82ab_Ana_-_Phelps.JPG
Ana Bogdanovski and Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps Credits: John Mooney
14b1b86cea417189717c_Ana_-_Ledecky.JPG
Ana Bogdanovski with Olympic swimmers Katie Ledecky and Jessica Long (U.S.), Lotte Friis (Denmark), and Mohamed Hussein (Egypt ) Credits: John Mooney
0bc1da632efc68ab1b74_Ana_-_brother.JPG
Ana and her brother, Dorian Credits: John Mooney
591983d83ed5e2a0571a_DSC_3437.JPG
Fanwood resident Ana Bogdanovski visited Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA (FSPY), where she swam in her early career, before heading to Rio to swim in the Olympics. Credits: John Mooney
cad456293ae793e6f183_Ana_-_bicep.JPG
Ana Bogdanova flexes her muscles. Credits: John Mooney
f4497628de03ba850cef_Ana_3447.JPG
FSPY swimmers Morgan Tsin (left) and Aislinn Mooney (right) take a picture with FSPY alumna and Olympic swimmer Ana Bogdanovski. Credits: John Mooney
545e295c40d4877f3603_Ana_sneakers.JPG
Ana Bogdanovski's sneakers are decorated with Olympic Rings and the Macedonian flag. Credits: John Mooney
6752b3d347a358b68c90_Ana_3441.JPG

FANWOOD/SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Ana Bogdanovski is perhaps the most unlikely participant at the Summer Olympics in Brazil, where the Fanwood resident will carry the flag for her nation: Macedonia, a country located in the Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe.

Bogdanovski's parents both are natives of the country, and she has dual U.S.-Macedonian citizenship. Now a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, the swimmer was  a 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year Top 30 nominee and holds the top ten fastest times in the school's history for the 50, 100, and 200 freestyle.

In the Parade of Nations at the Opening Ceremony in Rio, Greece will enter first, as always. The other nations will enter in alphabetical order in the language of the host country (Brazilian Portuguese). Thus, Macedonia -- officially known as the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (Antiga República Iugoslava da Macedônia) -- will be the 8th country to march. Bogdanovski will carry the flag on August 5 and then compete on August 8, just one week past her 23rd birthday. 

Sign Up for E-News

Bogdanovski, who grew up on MacLennan Place and still calls Fanwood her home, captured 10 NCAA titles and earned All-America honors 23 times during her college career.

Her spot on the Macedonian team came to be after she asked an uncle to get her a swim cap with the country's flag on it. It turned out that the times the swimmer had placed in competitions here in the U.S. were fast enough to qualify for the Macedonian Olympic team. She will swim in the 200 freestyle for her ancestral home land on August 8th in Rio.

"My uncle signed me up to be on the team. It was happenstance," said Bogdanovski, who is the Macedonian national record holder in 50, 100, 200 freestyle, and 50, 100 backstroke. "I always dreamed of swimming in the Olympics for Macedonia, but didn't know how to go about it. I spent a few months training there."

What makes her journey to the Olympics even more unusual is that she gave up the sport while she was a sophomore in high school.

"I was really bad, and I wasn't having any fun," the self-depreciating Bogdanovski said. "At 4 ft. 11 inches, I was the smallest swimmer on the team. My best time was 1:12 in the 100 freestyle. (Because I left) I was only swimmer to not get a varsity letter on the swim team."

Nor was she a child prodigy.

"I didn't even pass the deep water test at Highland Pool the first time I tried. The Westfield Y told my parents not to waste their money on me. I came to FSPY and had a hard time making Bronze times."

"She had a rough time," said her former swim coach Chris Karelus, ‎Competitive Aquatics Director at Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA.

Her career might have come to an end at age 15 were it not for her friend Jill Leahy.

"I went to the Magnet School, and Jill went to Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. We missed hanging out together, and I realized our only opportunity to be together came during swim practice," recounted Bodganovski, who loved growing up in a quiet street and riding her bike to downtown Fanwood to get ice cream or bagels.

Bogdanovski explained that in high school she would get so nervous that she would throw up before her races and sometimes hid in the bathroom faking stomach pains or shoulder injuries to get out of swimming.

"I thought it was too hard. I didn't want to do it," Bogdanovski said.

"Ana had a rough freshman year," recalled SPFHS swim coach Jess Hulnik. "She really blossomed in her junior and senior seasons."

At Johns Hopkins University, Bogdanovski  was a NCAA "Today’s Top Ten Winner," was featured in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" section, and was a Division III Collegiate Women’s Sports Award and Woman of the Year Top 30 nominee in 2015. She also won her school's Catherine P. Cramer Award, given to the senior female who has made the most outstanding contribution in athletics at Johns Hopkins.

In 2014, as a junior, she was honored as the NCAA Division III Woman Swimmer of the Year. From 2013-15, she was a Ten-Time overall NCAA Division III Swimming National Champion (five-time individual). During her college career, she was a 23-time All-American Award recipient.

Bogdanovski won a post-graduate scholarship and, after taking a year deferment to train for the Olympics and will attend New Jersey Medical School (formerly UMDNJ) in Newark upon her return from Rio. During the past year, she has trained in Baltimore and at U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, where she swam with the sport's biggest stars, including Katie Ledecky, Missy Franklin and Michael Phelps.

Bogdanovski says she eats like a normal human being and drinks shakes made with protein powders and beet juice concentrate. 

Her advice to the young FSPY swimmers who came to meet her at a homecoming of sorts on Sunday was: "All the training you do will prepare your body. You have to control your mind. It's okay to be nervous; if you are not nervous, you don't care."

"Never stop dreaming. Swimming has taken me to places I never thought I'd be."

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_d2018ea59b9a3e8bbd37_childrens_library_2-18

Wed, February 21, 3:30 PM

Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield

Storytime with Miss T in the Children's Library

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_9d8e453cf3136a3d0129_rec_2017_hw_helper

Wed, February 21, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper

Education

Carousel_image_1c276bd64c2e4971fc53_childrens_library_2-18

Thu, February 22, 3:30 PM

Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield

Family Movie: Hidden Figures

Arts & Entertainment

Rep. Watson Coleman Statement on Indictment of 13 Russian Nationals

February 20, 2018

Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller of indictments of Russian businesses and nationals for a criminal conspiracy to interfere with the presidential election in 2016:

“Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments are the latest ...

The Definition of Insanity

February 21, 2018

There is a quote, attributed to various people, including Albert Einstein that states, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”, that is fitting for our current election for Union County Democratic Committee (UCDC) chair.

There is no shortage of polling data related to the functioning of our Federal, State and Local ...

Another Holiday, Another Encounter with Marine Life along Jersey Shore

February 19, 2018

SPRING LAKE, NJ — In neighboring Spring Lake, a baby seal made its way onto the beach near the north end pavilion early this afternoon.

Photographer Nancy Orlowski discovered the harbor seal pup near the jetty situated just south of the pavilion on Ocean Avenue at Ludlow Avenue.

The seal’s Presidents Day appearance on February 19 comes one day after a whale was spotted off the ...

¡HOPES CAP, Inc. Ofrece Preparacion de Impuestos GRATIS en su Communidad!

February 19, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - ¡HOPES CAP, Inc. Ofrece Preparacion de Impuestos GRATIS en su Communidad!

Los servicios estarán disponible en los siguientes lugares:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Habrá disponible ayuda con la aplicación para números de ITIN y también habrá Auto
Preparación de ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Rapps Pharmacy: What You Need To Know About The Flu

There seems to be no end in sight for the current flu season which has touched every part of the country, and right here in New Jersey.  Rapps Pharmacy, an independent, full service, and locally owned Plainfield neighborhood pharmacy, offers these tips:  

As influenza virus activity increases and is likely to continue circulating for upcoming weeks, the Centers for Disease Control ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantom,2017)

How does a writer of a beloved series like Harry Potter or Temperance Brennan break out of their readers' expectations and try something new? For J.K. Rowlings it was the novels penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith; books about a maimed and very flawed private detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. For Kathy Reichs, it is the ...

Drama by Raina Telgemeir

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic, 2012) (target audience, Young Adults)

 

When my daughter, Shauna, was six years old, we took her to see her first Broadway production; a revival of The Wiz starring Stephanie Mills. I knew that it was the last time Mills could get away with playing Dorothy, and I impressed upon Shauna that seeing this show was a special moment in her life. As a ...

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory (Touchstone, 2017)

Yesterday my cousin, the daughter of my mother's sister, called me from California where she lives, and hit me up for money. This is not the first time she has asked me for money, and not the last, I am sure. She grew up the daughter of a privileged family and cruised to Europe frequently when she was a child. Her wardrobe came from ...

The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb

The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb (Atria Books, 2017)

 

Sharyn McCrumb is, quite simply, an American gem, and one of my favorite authors. From her books set in Appalachia with strange characters who remind us of our pioneer past, to St. Dale, a masterpiece about the legendary car racer, Dale Earnhardt in McCrumb's NASCAR series, McCrumb's poetic language and attention to ...

Maisie Dobbs by Jacquelline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (Soho Press, 2003)

In the song “The Schuyler Sisters” from the Broadway musical Hamilton, sister Angelica sings, “ I've been reading 'Common Sense' by Thomas Paine. So men say that I'm intense or I'm insane, You want a revolution? I wanna a revelation . . .” because she and her sisters are “looking for a mind ...