SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- In and out of the pool, Chris Bondarowicz is a leader.
The 16-year-old junior at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School swims both for the high school and the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA (FSPY) and is one of the top breast stroke competitors in the country and was recently chosen to attend a national swimming leadership development camp in Orlando.
Bondarowicz was among the FSPY swimmers who competed this summer at the YMCA Nationals in Indianapolis, where the team finished 8th in the country, thanks, in part, to his performances. Bondarowicz finished 10th (30.81) in the 50 Breast stroke, 10th in the 100 Breast (1:06.94) and ninth in the 200 Breast (2:23.79), setting a new 15-18 Boys team record.
Earlier this month, the 5 ft. 11, 154-lb. Bondarowicz was invited to attend the YMCA Swimming Leadership Development Camp for high school juniors. Participants are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher; participate in YMCA National Swimming Championships; demonstrate positive leadership skills among peers; exemplify the YMCA’s core values of honesty, caring, respect and responsibility; and complete in challenging two-hour practice sessions of 5,000-7,000 yards.
Although he spends nearly 20 hours each week in the pool and another five hours a week weight training, Bodarowicz also excels outside of sports. He is a Patrol Leader at Boy Scout Troop 33 and recently completed his final project for his Eagle Scout rank: constructing bat boxes at the Fanwood Nature Center. Somehow, he also finds time to volunteer for Home for Good Dog Rescue in Berkeley Heights, NJ.
"It isn’t easy balancing swimming, Scouts, and school. For me, it takes a lot of motivation to keep pushing through all the work," the well spoken junior said. "It definitely has its benefits though. Balancing everything has taught me time management skills that will stick with me forever."
"Having worked with many pro athletes in the past, I can see that same type of drive in him that I do with others where he is not just willing to let anyone outwork him," said his dad, Andrew Bondarowicz, who works at a sports & entertainment management firm. "You can't always control the result, but you can definitely control the effort you put in. That work ethic has translated to not only swimming, but also his school work and other activities."
Hi mom, Marianne, is equally proud.
"Chris has developed a tremendous work ethic. I am so proud of his determination and drive," she said. "He has such a positive attitude. Watching him achieve his goals and excel in the pool is an added bonus."