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

You Meet the Most Amazing People on the Trail

The weather cooperated this weekend, so I went for more than one hike. After all, there are only just over fifty days before my walk to Maine commences, so why not.

This Saturday, some friends dragged me away from housecleaning (thank you!) for a quick jaunt through Watchung Reservation.  While we were there, we ran into two individuals from Westfield; the cosplayers introduced themselves ...

Go Take a Walk

Friday, March 30 was Take a Walk in the Park Day, so I did.  I really didn't have an excuse to not do so; the sun was shining, I had the day off, and I had no plans for the rest of the day.  So after a session with Abbe, my trainer at LifeTime Fitness, I made the short trip to Lake Surprise in Watchung Reservation. 

As I made my way around the lake, it was easy to see how ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, May 20, 2:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

History of Silhouettes & Craft for Children

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_9d8e453cf3136a3d0129_rec_2017_hw_helper

Mon, May 21, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper

Education

Mon, May 21, 7:00 PM

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills, Somerville

Meta Performs ‘Dismantling the Racism Machine’: ...

Giving Back Other

Holy Savior Academy Presents ‘The Sound of Music,’ Eighth Graders Inducted into Thespian Society 

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy's Drama Club performed 'Getting to Know: The Sound of Music' on May 3 and May 4. 

Holy Savior Academy's Drama Club just finished its fourth year and has performed six shows. The Drama Club is run under the direction of Susan Loughlin, Daneile Micale and Eva Tripodi. This year’s production, which featured a cast ...

UC's Performing Arts Company Earns Prestigious Foxy Award

May 20, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ -- Union Catholic's Performing Arts Company received a great honor when it was chosen for the Outstanding Achievement in Choreography or Movement for its Fall Play, Peter and the Starcatcher, at Montclair State University's Theater Awards last Monday.

Ms. Jeanette Rudnicki, a 2009 graduate of Union Catholic, was the choreographer. UC senior Angeline Carlo, who lives in ...

Peru Claims 1-0 Victory Over Colombia as Soccer Legends Show Off Skills in Paterson

May 20, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- During their playing days Carlos Valderama and Julio Uribe led their teams to victory in some of the largest soccer stadiums across the globe. On Saturday, the men, known better as “El Pibe” and Uribe, brought their talents to Paterson’s Baurele Field.

The rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the nearly 500 fans who turned out to watch these beloved players ...

La campaña alimentaria anual de los carteros está lista para el 12 de mayo en todo el país

May 11, 2018

WASHINGTON, 2 de mayo de 2018 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- La Asociación Nacional de Carteros (National Association of Letter Carriers, NALC) llevará a cabo la 26ª edición anual de su campaña alimentaria el sábado 12 de mayo.

La campaña alimentaria Stamp Out Hunger® es la más grande con duración de un día en todo ...

Featured Business: NJ Printing & Embroidery LLC

Featured Business: NJ Printing & Embroidery LLC

Nestled in the heart of Plainfield is NJ Printing & Embroidery, a family-owned business providing digital screen printing and embroidery for custom shirts, caps and other items.

The company also offers custom printed business cards, fliers, banners and storefront vinyls, and can provide expert graphic art design upon request.

Eric ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...

'The Sting' with Harry Connick Jr. Slithers and Shakes at Paper Mill

MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and Chicago.  Scott Joplin’s music is intertwined with the show, especially “The ...

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

The Man in Room 306 at the Luna Stage, West Orange, NJ

            The Luna Stage, a Jersey theater gem, chose to revive its 1995 world premiere drama, The Man in Room 306, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Starring Jamil A.C. Mangan as Dr. King, this 90 minute production portrays Dr. King in the last hours of his life as he struggles to write a speech for the Poor ...

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead Books, 2017)

 

I wanted to like Into the Water by Paula Hawkins because I had enjoyed her previous novel, The Girl on the Train, which was a suspenseful thriller. However, when I finished reading the first part of the Into the Water, I realized that I had not absorbed anything that was happening in the story. I blamed myself for not paying ...

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (Citadel Press, 1970)

 

How does a reviewer do justice to a book called “the great American novel”? I first read Johnny Got His Gun during the Viet Nam war, when young people, nationwide, were protesting fighting in a war that was a senseless waste of life; a war in which the United States had no business participating.

The Truth About My Reading

The Truth About My Reading

I didn't get my Composition and Literature teacher at Montclair State College at all. A crusty old man with a dour disposition, Mr. Smith always seemed angry and rude. He appropriately intimidated freshmen, even me, an English major, who found this common core course beneath my dignity. Frankly, as a graduate of Highland Park High School, and a survivor of Mrs.

The German Girl

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa (Washington Square Press, 2016)

For each of the twelve million victims murdered during World War II there is a gutwrenching story to be told. I have read hundreds of memoirs, biographies, plays, and novels that recount the stories of the martyrs; some are exceptional, some are fair. The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa, an award-winning journalist, ...