WESTFIELD, NJ — He trains five days a week with the Westfield High School varsity swim team and six days a week with the YMCA’s Devilfish. They are practices that have paid off.
Barney Veres, a 17-year-old captain on the high school swim team, is this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week. He took first in the 100 breaststroke on Monday and helped his teammates — Roan Baker, Matt Swenson and Jeremy Kronheimer —secure a time of 1:40.59 in the 200 medley relay. Among the best parts of being on the team, Veres said, is the camaraderie.
“We’re with each other for so many hours a day doing both practices with the teams,” Veres said. “And making those friends is one of the best parts for me.”
Head coach Jeffrey Knight has taken note of Veres’ leadership.
“He is an outstanding student and regularly exhibits numerous leadership qualities,” Knight said.
Veres has been swimming competitively since he was 7 years old and since rising to the level of team captain, has enjoyed serving as a role model for his younger teammates.
“When I was young, going through it, I’d always look up to the older kids,” Veres said. “I’d follow them see what they do, and now that I am one of those older kids, it’s nice to finally give back and do my part as one of the older kids.”
Although Veres said he’s been seeing his times improve throughout the course of the season, it can be tough when he doesn’t see that improvement. “Keeping a strong mental attitude through that is one of the hardest parts for me,” Veres said.
In school, Veres said he most enjoys studying history. He hopes to pursue international studies and economics in college, where he also intends to continue his swim career.
“It depends on what school I go to,” Veres said. “But if I can’t swim varsity, I’m definitely going to do swim club.”
The Blue Devils will face Bridgewater-Raritan High School at the Raritan Bay YMCA Friday at 5:30 p.m.
“I’m excited for tomorrow,” Veres said. “We’ve been looking to this meet for such a long time now. Everyone is pumped up. We’re ready to swim and everyone is looking to get in there and do really well.”
The Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Ron Bansky & Associates Allstate Agency. Located 502 East Broad St., the agency has been protecting local families and business owners for over 19 years. Call them at 908-301-0711 for a new auto, home or life insurance quote this week and if you mention the Allstate WHS Athlete of the Week they will make a $25 contribution to the Westfield Boosters Association! To learn more, visit ronbansky.com.