West Orange Wave swim team making a splash this summer

By Josh Baker


WEST ORANGE, NJ – The West Orange Wave is a competitive summer swim team that competes in the North Jersey Summer Swim League. The West Orange Wave competes during the summer season and holds their tryouts shortly after Memorial Day.

The team is open to West Orange residents ages 8 through 17. Home meets and practices are held at the Ginny Duenkel Pool. Ginny Duenkel, who also hails from West Orange, was one of six world-record holders in the 1964 Olympic finals.

“We’re hoping to see an improvement in sportsmanship this year,” said head coach Marc Navata. The West Orange Wave has a lot to go up against this summer. “We’re in the North Jersey Summer Swim League, which is comprised of 20 towns throughout New Jersey,” said Navata. “We are in the top division, and in our league is us, Westfield, New Providence, Mountainside, and West Caldwell.”

Navata is backed up by a large assistant coaching staff, including Carlee Phillips, Phillip Jones, Ameerah Ali, Nerissa Santa Cruz, Elizabeth Butler, Teresa Narduzzi, Christine Spike, and recent West Orange High School graduates James Butcher and Madeline Narduzzi.

Competitions comprise  individual races and relay races, both of which involve four different styles: freestyle (the most popular stroke), backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.

For individual events, teams receive five points for first place, three points for second place, and one point for third place.

In relay races, first place receives seven points (anything else gets zero points).

With a roster of exactly 100 swimmers (a two-swimmer increase from last season), the team practices twice a week for an hour, and competes with other towns twice a week, from Memorial Day weekend to the end of July. Even though managing 100 swimmers seems like an excessive amount of responsibility, Navata and his excellent staff are up to the task.

The goal of the North Jersey Summer League is to introduce the sport of swimming and to foster interest in swimmers to continue into year-round competitive swimming. Being on a team such as this encourages sportsmanship, leadership, and achievement.

The Wave won their home meet on June 25, and will have their next home meets on Thursday July 5, Monday July 9, and Tuesday, July 17, all at 6 p.m.