Barracudas make a splash

| 15 Aug 2017 | 03:28

— In the world of competitive swimming, victory and glory is found in the space of a fingernail finish. Seconds are like lifetimes in this sport, and just a blink of an eye can be the difference between first and second place, between reaching a goal time and falling just short.
For the North Jersey Barracudas, a new USA Swimming club based out of Blair Academy and Kittatinny Regional High School, champions and victories are just a small portion of their success. They focus not on winning or losing, but instead on what is really most important: swimming. As a young team created just the past year, they believe in working hard in and out of the pool, while striving and stretching for any and all goals of their swimmers.
Most recently, the club swimming team completed their first long-course season. Long-course, in comparison to their preceding short-course season, takes place in an Olympic sized 50 meter pool. The beast of competition did not waver the courage of the NJB swimmers, however. Among their small but powerful group, 13 of their qualified swimmers competed at silver/bronze long-course championships at Berkeley Aquatic Club, and 5 swimmers made it to Junior Olympics long-course Championships at Rutgers University. Of the combined 68 swims, dozens of career best times were breached, qualifying times were achieved, and gold medals were taken home.
The season ended proudly with Jake Riva and Samantha Russell making waves all the way up in Buffalo, New York at Eastern Zones Senior Championships. Despite competing against some of the best swimmers in the northeast--aging from 13 to 32--the two left their mark on the old town. Jake Riva, in his 7 different events, finished his season with several career best times as well as a top 24 finish in his 100 meter backstroke. Samantha Russell competed in 4 events and earned all career best times. Between the two swimmers in their combined 12 splashes, they amassed a total timedrop of over 27 seconds.
Those two swimmers sure made NJB proud. To them, and to many on the team, the sport is not about winning though--it’s about the hours spent on the pool deck, the path of bettering and improving one’s self, about the bonds of friendship and family that have sprouted and taken hold. At the end of the day, it’s really just about swimming.
Registration for the North Jersey Barracudas short-course season, which runs from September to March, opens on 8/16. Interested persons can get more information and/or contact information by visiting their website at