2022-23 STAR Senior Banquet Program

Page 1






PRESENTED BY: Jen Eisenmann


Buffet Style




Sarah Carlson, Aidan Domster, Maddy Domster, Nate Eaton, Abby Eisenmann, Adam Fred, Aaron Gasiewicz, Natalie Killion, Aidan Losito, Evie Leighton, Mia McDonnell, Emma Sauer, Jude Strittmatter, Katie Tothero, Paul Wissel, Zoe Zawodzinski



Coach TJ & Coach Mark



Coach TJ & Coach Mark






PRESENTED BY: Jen Eisenmann


PRESENTED BY: Aidan Domster and Evie Leighton





Coach TJ & Jen Eisenmann

Message from Our Presidents

We’d like to welcome all of our families to the 2022-23 STAR Senior Team banquet! It is so important to take time to celebrate accomplishments, recall fun memories, and reflect on how special our STAR family really is.

We would like to congratulate all of our athletes for their successes over this past year. There have been many new team records as well as countless personal athlete milestones that have been accomplished. Your hard work, sacrifice, and dedication does not go unnoticed; your passion is a motivating force for the whole team!

A huge THANK YOU to all of the parents who have stepped up in so many significant ways to help make our team great! Your volunteer efforts at our meets allow us to train at a fantastic facility and hire an outstanding coaching staff. Together we are better! Thank you to our fellow board members for all of your efforts in helping to manage the business side of the club. It is our pleasure to work alongside each of you! STAR is rooted in traditions of excellence in character, in training, in performance and in team spirit. As we move forward into the next year, let us hold these traditions close, while also allowing ourselves to dream about the exciting future in store for STAR Swimming!

—Jen Eisenmann & Shana Stegner STAR Team Co-Presidents


We inspire and empower athletes to become champions both in and out of the water

#freeing #jude #grind

#jokes #yolo #gradseason

#judithcudith #wild #madeit

#safesport #chetternine


#whateverittakes #hashbrown

#STARswimming #WIT

2022-23 SEASON

Sarah SarahCARLSON

Iremember my first practice at STAR like it was yesterday. I was just coming off an injury and hadn’t been in the pool in months. Phil asked me my times and put me in a lane accordingly. I warned him I was very out of shape. Next thing I knew I was getting lapped and had to remove myself from the lane.

For me, this day was very daunting, in a new environment, surrounded by new people. However, everyone was very welcoming and they turned out to be my friends for the next five years.

The coaches have always been so encouraging, and are willing to do anything to make a practice better, and more enjoyable. There’s nothing more I would rather hear than TJ screaming words of encouragement through a main set. Although practice can be exhausting, the people and the coaches make it all worth it. The coaches didn’t just run a practice, they taught us how to be caring, responsible, have empathy for oth ers, and so much more that. I will always remember and carry that with me. I truly thank all the coaches for everything that they have done for this team, and how much they really care about all of us as individuals.

Swimming has taught me so much over the years and molded me into the person I am today. It has also given me memo ries I will never forget. From Indy trips, swim meets, champs, practices, struggling to get a knee skin on, waking up early; times I will remember forever. One of my favorite memories from STAR is the Indy bus ride. I don’t understand how 50 people confined on a bus for nine hours can be fun, but every year it’s something new and it has hon estly created so many memories and fun times over the years.

I will miss this team so much, but I want to thank my friends, family, and coaches for everything and making it some of the best years of my life.

Lane Lines


Rowing Crew for Michigan State University


100 Backstroke


Playing swimming-Mario Cart during Dreaming practice


“Trophies,” by Drake


Find the fun in swim practice and make friends!

Swimming has given me memories I will never forget.”

Aidan AidanLOSITO

Ijoined STAR when I started 8th grade, and the entire team and culture within the team were completely foreign to me. I was confused by how everyone operated and wanted to get to know everyone better. I slowly built friendships with coaches and teammates and learned to have my own voice and talk louder to be heard on the team.

The closest friends I made along the way were Jude, Aaron, and Nate, all close to my age and all of us graduating the same year. I’m excited for what the future brings to their lives and I can’t wait to see the strides my friends make.

The future is a scary thing but I am ready to tackle it head-on. I’ll be trying to swim in college to see if I can keep up the same energy I hope I still have for it.

Thank you STAR, thank you Coach TJ, Coach Mark, and Coach Phil for guiding me through the years to be a better swimmer, but more importantly to be a better man.

Finally, thank you to my teammates for pushing me to be better

Lane Lines


Swimming for Hartwick College


100 Butterfly


Losing my voice from scream cheering for my teammates


“New Magic Wand,” by Tyler the Creator


Respect your coaches and support your teammates

Thank you for guiding me to be a better swimmer, but more importantly to be a better man.”

Aidan AidanDOMSTER

Iremember going to these banquets when I was younger and thinking how far away it is, and how excited I was to write my own essay. Writing this now, I have no desire to, it all happened so fast. This team has meant everything to me for the past 11 years and I can’t believe it’s coming to an end.

I started swimming on STAR after a couple of months of my sister swimming on Novice. My parents thought me swimming was a good idea, so my sister wasn’t swimming laps around me in our neighbor’s pool, and so I didn’t drown.

I remember driving to Frontier Middle School hating my parents for making me swim, but as time went on I gradually started to enjoy it more. Eventually, my sister and I moved on from Red Team to Blue Team with Coach Nate. Nate, I want to thank you for making practices fun. You helped me fall in love with the sport, and for that I am very grateful.

After Red Team, I moved on to Dreaming with Coach Phil. This meant we would have to go downtown to ECC every day instead of Frontier. This was a big change for me because ECC is a way bigger facility compared to Frontier’s pool.

I’d like to thank Phil for being someone I can look up to. You have given me advice and lessons I will remember for life and for that, I am very thankful. You helped me reach new potentials in and out of the water that I would not be able to reach if it weren’t for your knowledge and help. I remember being put in the small outside lane by myself every practice. I was always upset when you did that, but now as I look back I want to thank you. It taught me to pay attention and to be serious about swimming.

Going to Coach Mark’s group was a big jump from Dreaming. I remember how scared I was to talk to Mark, but I quickly learned he’s a down-to-earth person who I can talk to whenever I need to. Mark, thank you for showing up to coach every day, even if you had a bad day at school. Your dedication to this sport and to making this team better is something I will always appreciate.

Lane Lines


Swimming for Canisius College


100 Breaststroke


The Berkeley trip


“All of the Lights,” by Kanye West


Everything happens for a reason

The multitude of memories we’ve made I will always cherish and I can’t wait to make more!”

TJ, I want to thank you for everything you have done these past four years with me and my swimming. You told me success doesn’t come without hard work, and because of that you helped me want to succeed in swimming. Thank you for the countless hard practices I thought would never end. You helped me want


to come to practice to become a better swimmer. You made this sport mean something extraordinary to me and because of that you pushed me farther than I ever thought I could swim. I’ll never forget those moments.

Matt and Jess, if it weren’t for you guys, I don’t know where I would be today. Thanks for being my best friends. You guys were there for me when I felt like no one else was. The multitude of memories we’ve made I will always cherish and I can’t wait to make more! Evie, thanks for being my buddy for the last couple of years. I can’t wait for the next four! (Go Griffs!!)

Maddy, thank you for being on this ride with me. We did this together, and I couldn’t have done it without you. Mom and Dad, it’s not normal to have parents that work as hard as you two do. You both sacrifice so much daily so I can swim. Thank you for the many car rides to and from swim, for being my biggest supporters in and out of the water, and for being proud of me no matter what happens.

This team has changed my life in so many ways and has made me into the person I am today. It’s going to be hard adjusting to life outside STAR. I can’t believe I am saying goodbye to it. Peace out!


The year 2020 was a very challenging year for everyone. It was very difficult for not just people in New York, but for everyone worldwide. Many things were taken from us as high school students that we will never be able to get back or experience again. Personally, competitive swimming was one of the things taken from me and I was affected mentally and physically. I am very passionate about swimming and eventually when we were allowed to return to the pool, I was happy as ever. However, I did not realize the difficulties ahead of me and the challenges I would face along the way.

The first time getting back into water made me feel alive again. Our pool was finally allowed to open and I was exhilarated. Following the first week of practice, I knew my body would feel sore and tired but I had no idea how discouraged I would feel. Getting back into shape was tough, however, it was even harder mentally. I kept getting upset when I could not swim the times I did before the pandemic and I could not understand why because I was working so hard and felt physically back in shape.

Once we were permitted to have meets they had to be virtual. Teams had to compete at their own pool facility and there could be no spectators. I was thrilled to be able to compete again but did not do as well as I hoped. My body felt overworked and I became really hard on myself. I felt discouraged and it was nearly impossible to have a positive outlook. I needed to have a positive mindset to continue to train at the level necessary in order to get back to where I was before the pandemic. I had to take a step back and understand that there are going to be setbacks in life and you might not achieve your goals immediately but it doesn’t mean it would never happen. I started training harder and pushing myself. When I felt down, I learned to be my own advocate and turned to my coaches and counselors for advice. I made sure everything was done academically so I could focus on swimming and get ting better. I also found talking to and supporting my teammates helped me overcome my own fears and helped me reach my goals. At the end of the season it was time for the championship meet and I ended up getting four State cuts and two pool records. Now in my senior year, I entered State Championships with six State cuts and the possibility of winning a relay with three of my teammates.

Lane Lines


Swimming for Binghamton University


500 Freestyle


When TJ passed out the Star Wars shirts for champs. iykyk


Any One Direction song


Have fun and keep a positive attitude!

I can accomplish anything I set my mind to, including anything that’s challenging or difficult.”
Maddy Maddy DOMSTER

Going through this experience has made me realize that not only am I more resilient than I thought I was, it has helped me instill the belief that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to, including anything that’s challenging or difficult. I will never take for granted my swimming career and being able to support my teammates. This experience has made me the person that I am today and I would not trade it for anything.


Nate NateEATON

Making the change to join STAR was one of the best decisions my family and I have ever made. I was hesitant to join at the end of my sophomore year, as the team seemed all very new to me. Soon enough, however, I found this team was right for me. My teammates welcomed me in, talked to me, got to know me, and pushed me to be a better swimmer.

Coach TJ and Mark showed me a level of dedication to their athletes I had never seen before, pushing all of us to be the best swimmers we could be.

Lane Lines


Swimming for Niagara University


1,000 Freestyle


Swimming at IUPUI


“Wings,” by Shoreline Mafia


Find the fun in swimming!

The more fun you have with the sport, the easier it will be to improve.

Thank you for welcoming me onto this team and helping me become the best version of me possible.”

Now don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t instant. The practices were very different from what I had been used to, and it took me a while to get used to it. In fact, I distinctly remember a conversation with Coach TJ where I was worried I might not be improving and asked him what he thought I should do. This is where I learned one of TJ’s famous sayings: Trust The Process. He told me, “Give me six months to work with you and I promise you will see changes. It  may take a while, but trust the process, and I will get you there.” I took this advice to heart, and sure enough, six months later, I was thriving at STAR. I’d grown accustomed to Mark’s crazy breaststroke drill sets and distance sets, to TJ’s loud and hype sprint sets, and I could really feel them making me a better person and swimmer.

So to TJ and Mark, I want to thank you for welcoming me onto this team and helping me become the best version of me possible.

Next, I’d like to thank some of my teammates who helped me along the way the most. First, I’d like to thank the Williamsville East peo ple: Roman, Peter and Zoey. Roman, you always kept us on our toes, whether it was setting up the Saika Sushi runs or leaving two seconds after us in the main sets (it’s okay, it’s better now), and I’ll really miss that from you. Peter, even though you didn’t go to East, you always hooked me up with all the unreleased SoundCloud music and horrible Instagram reels, and I’ll truly miss that from you. And Zoey, I’m gonna miss dusting the Jeep next year on the rides home from practice. Next, I’d like to thank Aaron and Jude.


Aaron, even though you destroyed me in the pool, you still made me a better swimmer and I can’t thank you enough for that. Judith, it’s gonna be hard next year without you, whether it’s searching for your Xbox or swimming that 200 fly, you will be missed. Lastly, I’d like to thank Avery and Joe. Avery, I’m happy I got to know you better this year and thank you for help ing me do well these past few seasons. And Joe Schmoe: Thank you for not taking us too seriously, and have fun swim ming every single thing fly. Not just these friends, but everyone else as well has really made this team feel like a family. I still love to see each and every one of these people perform and succeed day after day.

Thanks STAR, Chet out.


ILane Lines


Attending Binghamton University


200 Backstroke


Going to Indy and New Jersey for our team travel meets


“Rolling in the Deep,” by Adele



have been swimming for as long as I can remember. It has had such a huge impact in my life and I could not be more thankful for the sport that has made me who I am today. There have definitely been times when I wanted to give up or quit. But continuing to swim is one of the best things I have ever done.

This team’s coaching staff have allowed me to grow as a swimmer and even more so as a person. Coach Nate always cheered me on when I was on the Blue Team, and always encouraged us to have fun. He made swimming feel more like an activity rather than something that needed to be serious. I want to say thank you for making my first years as a swimmer fun.

Coach Phil made STAR a place I was excited to come to every day. Practice was hard work, but it was also fun and entertaining. Even when I had my struggles in swimming, Phil helped me through them and showed me that hard work always pays off. I want to say thank you for always having faith in me and believing that I can achieve my goals, even when I did not believe in myself.

Coach Mark is someone who made my time on STAR unforgettable back when I was on Senior Prep, and continued to make every day unforgettable being on Senior. Whether he’s telling us stories from his life or giving us advice on struggles we may have, he always found a way to be personable with each and every one of us. He remembers details about our lives, and never fails to ask us how we are doing. There has never been a day where Mark has not said hello to me as I walked in, or told me to have a safe drive home on my way out. I couldn’t imagine STAR without Coach Mark. He was always able to help me improve my stroke and even though his practices were hard, they were worth it in the end. Even on the hardest of days, Mark is able to make me laugh, and I can say I’m extremely thankful for that. He taught me you should never give up what you love, no matter how hard it might be or how unsure you are about it. I want to say thank you for all the years I’ve known you and for making my time on STAR truly memorable.

Coach TJ is always able to show great passion at any STAR event. Even in practice, he’ll be running up and down the pool deck cheering us on during a main set. He always encourages us to do what we want, even if it


Go to practice and have fun, swimming should be fun!

I could not be more thankful for the sport that has made me who I am today.”
10 2022-23 STAR TEAM

has nothing to do with swimming. It’s easy to see that he cares about us as people, not just as swimmers. He has a huge heart when it comes to the team, and always tries to create a culture where everyone feels supported. I want to say thank you for always being so passionate and attentive.

What made me really love swimming was the friends I made along the way. I like to say that STAR really is like one big family. We spend every day together and I’ve known most of you for almost my entire life. We really did grow up together.

A special shoutout to Mia, who I have known since we were four and swam for Brierwood together. You are the sister I never had and I couldn’t have asked for a better one. I wouldn’t still be swimming if it weren’t for you and I’m so glad we’ve always been there for each other. Another shoutout for Evie, we met when you joined STAR back on the Blue Team and you’re one of the best friends I will ever have. Your commitment to driving back and forth to Canada every day (and literally moving here alone for the summer when the border was closed) is so inspiring and this team would not be the same without you. And shoutout to Nat, who always agrees to come on adventures with me. Even if we sometimes get stuck on the side of a highway. You are such a good listener and someone I know I can always talk to. Of course shoutout to the rest of Lane 3 and all the memories we’ve made there. Practice would not be the same without you guys and I love you all so much!

Finally I want to thank my family. Especially my mom and all she

does to run this team. She works so hard and I know STAR wouldn’t be functioning without her. Thank you to my dad who has always supported our swimming and has been willing to sacrifice his time and energy to help out. To my older brother, Zach, you are someone I will always look up to and your passion for swimming always inspired me to work harder. Thank you for making me go to practice when I definitely didn’t want to. And to Josh, thank you for showing me that it’s OK to not be a swimmer forever, and there are other things to look forward to in life.

This team has been my life for so long it’s impossible to think this is the end. I will miss the people, the memories, and the sport itself.


Joining STAR was honestly the most impactful decision I’ve ever made in my life. Not only did it completely transform the sport of swimming for me, but it allowed me to create bonds and connections with people that will last a lifetime.

Before I joined STAR, there was one thing I always liked about the team. I noticed the team atmosphere at STAR. I  loved how enthusiastic everyone was. No matter who was swimming, if their cap said STAR, they were getting the biggest support. I failed to have that support at my former team — being the only male swimmer above the age of 15 there was a struggle. Not only at meets, but also the practices. Every swimmer knows training alone is a challenge. Now if you train alone for an entire short course season, the sport of swimming will change mentally. It was a struggle to want to go to practices, knowing I’d be training by myself. However, I made sure I pushed through it and had a pretty solid short course season.

When the short course season ended, I didn’t want to stop swimming. So I emailed coach TJ about swimming long course for STAR. We set up a Zoom call and he told me all about himself as well as the team. A few days later, I’m showing up to my first practice at City Honors. The first thing I remember is walking in, and TJ yelling at me, “Hey Adam, come down here and meet Birdman!” I was familiar with a lot of the names on STAR, like Ian Hewett and Aaron Gasiewicz. But I never knew Birdman. Thank you to Bird for being the best first impression of STAR Swimming. Days go on, and the friendships begin to get stronger. A few months later, I realized these people would be my friends for life.

Lane Lines


Swimming for Southern Connecticut State University


100 Backstroke


Hearing the cheers from my teammates after every swim


“Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2,” by A$AP Rocky


Try events you don’t normally swim

Joining STAR completely transformed the sport of swimming for me.”

Coach TJ and Coach Mark are unlike any coaches I have had for any other sport. The passion Coach TJ has for this sport is something only his swimmers will understand. Having a coach who is unwilling to change their morals just for the success of a team, will impact the sport for all their athletes. Not only that, but the time and effort that goes into creating every practice to have a purpose is a huge challenge.

Adam AdamFRED

Coach TJ always tells us, “I wrote this workout to better you guys, so read the workout.” Not many coaches put that amount of time and effort in. Now, the bond I created with coach Mark is special. I could feel as an athlete he wanted nothing but the best for me. He will tell me straight up what I’m doing wrong, and how to fix it. He will give good advice before and after a race, and he always has a smile on his face. Thank you, Coach TJ and Coach Mark for showing me the love I had inside for this sport. It’s been just over a year since I joined STAR. My times are faster than ever, I have made tons of new friends, and the sport of swimming has transformed from a burden to a lifestyle. This team has impacted my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined, and I couldn’t be any more thankful for all the memories made along the way.



Iwill always hold my STAR Swimming memories close to my heart. The energy level, the team support, and the friendships I have made are truly at a different level. It is these relationships that have inspired me and made me who I am today.

I have enjoyed the advice and the practices from Coach TJ, Mark, and Phil. Coach Mark always told us that the practice set was “challenging and fair.” I will always have TJ in my head, telling me to “kick off the wall.” Also, Coach Phil’s motivational advice after my races, telling me how average I was, made me swim faster in the next race. I know that there is always going to be someone faster, stronger, or better in the pool and my coaches have taught me to keep chasing the next goal.

When I first joined STAR, I knew I had hit the lottery. My boys and I have had a great time pushing each other in practice, swimming in some really fast relays, and doing ridiculous things after practice. Sakai Sushi will always have a special place in my heart and in my stomach (but only for a maximum of two hours at a time). We have been through some rough times, like not being able to swim during Covid, and have made the best of it. I remember how we had to have one swimmer start on each end of the pool, along with one who started in the middle in each lane when we had to be six feet apart. Which one of you liked starting in the middle? That’s right, not one of us! We got through it together and got right back to spitting out the same water as we stood six inches apart in no time!

The first friend I made at STAR was Aidan Losito, and I am forever grateful for that. I have also enjoyed chilling with Chet, Paul, and Adam. I would like to thank Jude for always having my back and for being such a great friend. I would also like to thank those of you who have supported the Go Fund Me that was set up to purchase a new XBox for him.

To my brothers from another mother, D Mintz and Ian, I am grateful for all of the fun times we had together. Whether at meets, practice, driving, or on the Lancaster varsity team (along with Luke), you kept me laughing and taught me not to take things too seriously. D Mintz, we will always have ALNS!

I want to encourage the younger swimmers on STAR to break every record and work your tails off to do great things. I will be rooting for you. Remember that when one succeeds, you all succeed. Atticus, Conner, Carter, Colin, Scrumptious, and Liam (Buck), it’s your turn.

It is my pleasure to give Shower Two to Peter. May you treat her well.

Lane Lines


Swimming for the University of Kentucky


200 IM


I loved the culture we had with the team.


“Not Afraid,” by Eminem


There is no shortcut in swimming. Just keep working hard and trust the process.

I will always have TJ in my head, telling me to ‘kick off the wall.’”

Natalie NatalieKILLION

Roughly eight years ago, my dad told me I should sign up and join my middle school swim team because he thought I might be good at it. Coming from someone who failed Level One swim lessons and only found playing mermaids in the water to be fun, I was hesitant. I decided to try it anyway, and as I showed up to my first practice unaware of what a swim cap was, or how to even put it on, I was in for a long journey neither myself nor my parents expected to take place.

I spent my first five years learning pretty much all the technical necessities of the sport and I built a strong foundation of training. Coach Tom is the one who guided, taught, and altogether inspired me in my early years of swimming. It was then when I found a passion for setting goals and relentlessly chasing them. No matter how far-fetched my dreams may have sounded, Coach Tom never questioned me or what I was capable of, and I think that is why I was able to achieve such a large amount of success under him.

When the pandemic hit, me and my teammates were left without a pool. After training for several months by myself in my aunt and uncle’s backyard pool, I made the tough decision to leave my team and join STAR so I had access to a facility and other athletes to train with. This jump was not easy. I was completely shifting environments, going from a small team closer to home to one of the biggest teams in the LSC that required a hefty amount of traveling to even get to in the first place. Coming to STAR, however, brought me close friends who have since become family.

Nessa was someone who I’ve known my entire time I’ve been swimming. We both started swimming at the same time when we were younger, but our bond grew stronger when we both came to STAR. Through all of the struggles this sport has brought me, Nessa was always a constant light in my life who helped me remember why I swam in the first place. She never failed to make me laugh in almost every situation, even the ones where we probably shouldn’t have been laughing. From the countless drives, sleepovers, and simple moments we shared, I will always look back on our friendship as one that is unbreakable, and I can’t explain how thankful I am for everything you have done for me.

Lane Lines


Swimming for Niagara University


200 Freestyle


Meeting all the girls in Lane 3: Nessa, Mia, Emma, Abby, Evie, and Avery


“Superhero,” by Metro Boomin


Don’t take the sport too seriously. Just have fun and enjoy the moment.

One thing I will always remember is Coach TJ’s emphasis on the importance of gratitude.”
16 2022-23 STAR TEAM

Mia is the person who I feared most when I first came to STAR. I think it was because of her fiery personality and lack of filter, but little did I know that she would become one of my best friends. She definitely broke me out of my shell and probably gave me every necessary and unnecessary confidence boost possible. If I ever needed someone to go to, she was there. Mia never let anything get past her, and she is someone who would do anything for me and those close to her. Mia could manage to make me laugh to the point of no breathing, which almost always happened to be on anaerobic capacity days where I needed all the air I could get. I can’t even count the number of inside jokes that we have that can make me laugh on the spot. Regardless, you have made me a better person and have never failed to be there for me when I needed it most. Thank you for everything.

Emma is who I would credit bringing people together when I first came to this team. She introduced me to her own friends and made me feel comfortable when getting to know everybody. If anyone needed a friend, she was there. Emma also always put others before herself. No matter how difficult it may have seemed, she would do whatever she could if it meant others would benefit from it. I can count on her to be there for me during the highs and the lows, and not many people can say they have someone like her in their life. Thank you, Emma.

As for the staff at STAR, Coach TJ was someone who I immediately thought of to have passion and a desire to win. No matter where we were, whether it be practice or a meet, Coach TJ had a fire inside him that stemmed from a genuine love for the sport of swimming and care for the athletes that participated in it. I never heard someone scream so loud and so consistently without losing their voice, but he was able to show me that it is very much possible. One thing I will always remember about him is his emphasis on the importance of gratitude. He would always remind

us to thank those around us, even if they seemed insignificant. Thank you for the endless lessons you have taught me.

Coach Mark is the “old man” of the team, but with that being said, I would say he has the most wisdom. I think Coach Mark is one of the few people who always believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. He would tell me to be a “bulldog” and never back down, and that is something I consistently carry with me. He gave me advice when it was needed, honesty when I didn’t want to hear it, and a laugh when it was nearly impossible to smile. He is one of the most hardworking people I know, and showed up even when it was hard to on certain days. The faith he had in me regardless of what others thought is something I will never forget. I can’t thank you enough for believing in me, pushing me on my hardest days (especially distance Mondays), and being a person I can consider family. I strive to be even a fraction of the person you are.

Finally, to my parents, thank you for everything you have done for me. From driving me to practices, dealing with the post-race attitudes, traveling with me to meets, supplying me with an unimaginable amount of suits and apparel, helping me deal with the tough parts of the sport, and just overall supporting me through everything, you guys have always been there. I am very lucky to have people like you in my life and I don’t know what I would do without you guys. I would not be the athlete or person I am without you, and I would never be able to do it by myself. Thank you. I love you.


Lane Lines


Swimming for Canisius College


200 Freestyle


500 Freestyle at 2023

Short Course Champs


“Hotel Lobby,” by Quavo, Takeoff



As a new chapter in my life has almost begun, I can’t help but reminisce about the journey I’ve undertaken with my beloved sport and the team, STAR Swimming. The time has come for me to say my final goodbyes to the ECC that has been my second home for so many years. It is with a bittersweet mix of emotions that I reflect upon the countless hours of dedication, the friendships made, the valuable life lessons and the “You aren’t training at 100%” talks. As I have now spent eight years of my life on this team, I always knew I had to write one of these, but did not know it would come so soon.

I remember the day when I first stumbled onto the pool deck as a little girl at age 10, the tallest one out of Blue Team and Senior Prep combined. I started off on Blue Team with Coach Nate and, man, that was a wild experience. It was where I met lifelong friends, Mia and Bess (The 3 Muskaswimmers), played Poison for warmup and went to my first LSC Championships at 10 years old. After that weekend, I realized I could be something pretty special in this sport. Nate was the first coach who saw potential in me. He always told me, “Your stroke is too pretty, where’s the tempo and GRIT?”

That eventually came through when I was welcomed onto Senior Prep. Senior Prep was Coach Mark’s group at the time and let me tell you, there was NO playing Poison on that team. The only game we ever played was called Survivor. 60x100s starting off on two minutes, and the interval going down to one minute, as 12-year-olds. Not much of a game, eh. (“Eh.” I quickly learned to never repeat that word because Mark would say it at the end of each sentence and say, “On the top!” in a British accent, even though I’m Canadian.)

My name on Senior Prep wasn’t Evie anymore, it was O’ Canada. As Mark would say, the “Beast” came out at championships when I was 12. I remember getting the LSC record at that meet, and having incredible races against Natalie Killion, who was my competition forever and now a teammate and a best friend.

The memories I have on this team between Mark and my friendships really got me though being stuck in Canada during Covid. Without them, and the lovely help from the Hewett family,


Listen to your coaches even if it’s not what you want to hear.

As Mark would say, the ‘Beast’ came out at championships.”

I would not still be in this sport. Coach Mark, I will be forever grateful for you and the positive impact you have had in my life, even though your breaststroke practices scare me.

TJ and Phil, you have been such incredible coaches to me on Dreaming and Senior Team. You both have impacted my swimming career in my older years than any coach will ever do. Phil, our OG dream team was one of the best years I’ve had on STAR, except for using the kickout buoys every practice. TJ, you have made such a positive impact on this team ever since you came here and asking me what interval I am going on for the mainset, then just telling me I am going on the A. The potential you see in me is incredible and I am so thankful to have you as a coach for the last couple years.

I would also like to thank my parents for the continuous support through these years and countless

hours you have spent driving me to a different country. I don’t know how you both put up with the thought of me crashing your car driving to Buffalo every day when I got my license.

My teammates made this team so memorable. Lane 3, Natalie, Emma, Mia, Nessa, Avery and Abby. These girls have made such an impact in my life and I am so thankful to call you guys my best friends. Aidan Domster, you continue to make me laugh each day and we hold so many great memories on the team and up in Muskoka. I am so excited for the next four years with you!

I would also like to thank the men’s team for keeping practice hype when I was the only girl there during the girls varsity season. As this has been an ongoing joke for about three years, I would like to give Dmintz the Most Respectful Guy on STAR award. It has now been confirmed. Lane 3 #2, out.


I’ve been a member of STAR Swimming since I was eight years old. When you’re in one place for so long, you forget it will eventually come to an end, but here we are. Ten years later and I’m counting down the days I have left with the team I’ve considered family for more than half my life. Many of the teammates I still have today, I’ve grown up with, and I can’t wait to see what we all accomplish once we complete this chapter.

I remember my first day on the team. I had just freshly quit karate to follow in my older sister’s footsteps and become a competitive swimmer. One thing I’m sure of is that Abby Eisenmann has been my backbone since that very first day. She held my hand and taught me the ropes of the team as I had only known country club swimming before. Abby, thank you so much for being my sister. I’m not sure how I’ll survive without you constantly at my side. I love you, and I know you’ll do great things in your future at Binghamton.

Lane Lines


Swimming for Canisius College


200 Backstroke


Traveling to Indianapolis every year


“Stir Fry,” by Migos


Never give up on your dreams no matter how difficult the sport may get. We all have our ups and downs but if you put in the work it will pay off.

I wouldn’t be the swimmer or person I am today if it wasn’t for the incredible coaches I’ve had the opportunity to work with.”

Throughout my years on STAR, I’ve been through a plethora of friend groups… trios, duos, and even points where I had no friends. No words can describe my love for my forever best friends, Emma Sauer, Natalie Killion, and Vanessa Mintz. We’ve been through the worst together, and it only made our friendship stronger. They’ve seen me laugh, cry, and everything in between. The four of us came together when we needed each other most, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. There will be a void in my life with out the three of you attached to my hip, but I know our bond will never fade. I love you to the end of eternity. F4L.

I wouldn’t be the swimmer or person I am today if it wasn’t for the incred ible coaches I’ve had the opportunity to work with. Coach Nate, thank you for being my first ever club coach and teaching me how to properly make it to the wall and back without waterboarding myself. I’ll never forget my first day on the Blue Team when you asked me what my favorite food was. I said pickles. Although the nickname only stuck with you for a few years, I can count on my fingers the amount of times coach Mark has called me Mia instead of Pickles.


Coach Mark, there are no words to describe how grateful I am to have experienced your coaching since middle school. The dull wooden spoon and survivor “threats” made me and every person who went through senior prep mentally and physically stronger. If I could be half the determined, courageous, and enthusiastic person you are in the future, I would be more than satisfied. You are the heart and soul of STAR Swimming. Thank you for everything you’ve taught me over the years, I will carry those lessons with me for the rest of my life.

I would like to thank Phil Aronica for being my coach for a short time on Dreaming. In just one year, I grew so much as a swimmer and a person. I’ll forever be amazed by the work and dedication you put into each and everyone of your athletes.

it was watching me compete at countless meets over the years, or simply seeing me pass chemistry. The love you have given me over the last 18 years is something I’ll never take for granted. I love you a million times over and I’ll miss you like crazy when I move 30 minutes down the road in August.

It’s been a long run, STAR. Thank

Last but not least, I owe a big thank you to TJ. The amount of passion you have for this team is undeniable. You always remind us why we love this sport and motivate us to continue our journeys as athletes. Thank you for caring about us as people, not just swimmers. On behalf of this whole program, we wouldn’t be the same without you.

My final, and most important thank you goes to my parents. I cannot express the amount of gratitude and respect I have for you both. You have raised me to be a kind, hardworking, reliable, and intelligent individual. That will only guide me to success in the future. Thank you for always supporting me and being the greatest parents I could ever ask for. I don’t know what I did to deserve such incredible role models. Thank you for being my biggest fans whether


Emma EmmaSAUER

Iremember my first STAR banquet reading these essays waiting for it to be my turn. Now that I am here having to write my own, I’m having the hardest time trying to find the right words to describe my journey. This team has become like a second family to me. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to enjoy and cherish every moment of being a part of it. It’s crazy seeing how far everyone has come. I look forward to seeing what everyone accomplishes in the future.

Lane Lines


Swimming for St. Bonaventure



100 Freestyle


Traveling to New Jersey


“Can’t Stop Dancing,” Becky G


There’s always another race!

I have created friendships that will last a lifetime and have learned countless life lessons.”

Although I have only been on STAR for the past four of my 11 years of swimming competitively, I have so many memories to reflect on. This team has impacted my life in so many ways. I have created friendships that will last a lifetime and have learned countless life lessons that I will carry on with me forever. STAR is really always the best team on deck. I can’t even express how thankful I am for my friends and coaches who I have met along the way.

I wouldn’t be here today without the amazing coaching staff I’ve gotten to work with throughout the years. Coach Mark, I can confidently say you have impacted my swimming career more than anyone else. I remember how difficult it was adjusting to swimming during the pandemic, but you never gave up, pushing me to my limits. I have so much admiration for you and your dedication to this team. You truly are the heart and soul of this team and I’m so thankful to have been coached by you. I also want to thank Phil for his support throughout the years.

Coach TJ you are the most passionate coach I’ve ever had. You are constantly cheering and checking in with everyone. I appreciate how much time you put into the team and the effort you give to make sure everyone’s doing okay. This team would not be the same without you.

During my time on STAR I’ve met my three best friends: Vanessa Mintz, Mia McDonnell and Natalie Killion. You guys have supported me through good times and bad and I can’t imagine my life without you all. I love you guys so much and I’m going to miss swimming with you all everyday more than anything. #F4L!


I want to thank all of Lane 3 for making every practice a good time. I’m going to miss all of our inside jokes so much.

Lastly, I want to thank my parents for everything they’ve done for me. I wouldn’t be the swimmer or person I am today without you. Thank you for always getting up to drive me to practice or staying at work late to pick me up. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I have without both of your support.

This team is so special and I can’t believe it’s time for me to say goodbye to it. I’ve had the best four years here! One of the best decisions I’ve ever made is joining my freshman year. Thank you, STAR Swimming, for shaping me into the swimmer and person I am today.



Ihave been on this team for so long and have seen so many swimmers come before me and write their essays that it doesn’t seem real that I am finally taking this last step on my journey on STAR.

First, I want to thank all of my coaches — Gina, Brandi, Nate, Luke, Mark, and TJ — who helped me in my swimming journey and who helped shape the person I am today. I also want to thank my mom for driving me to practice even when I didn’t want to go. And last, but definitely not least, I want to thank all of my friends on this team who gave this sport meaning to me and gave me so many unforgettable memories. It didn’t matter if it was in the middle of a grueling TJ sprint day, right before my second 200-yard butterfly of the day, chilling by the campfire, or gorging ourselves at Saika Sushi — you would always make me laugh, and I am so incredibly grateful for you.

I started on this team 14 years ago when I was homeschooled and I didn’t know that many people. STAR instantly became a second family for me. STAR is where I made my friends, some of whom I have now known for almost my entire life. And I know that these friendships will continue even beyond my time on the team.

I have been given so many incredible opportunities, like going to Indy, which was always so much fun, Futures in Ohio, NCSAs in Florida, and even Junior Nationals in North Carolina.

I will never forget the incredible culture of this team and what it has given me. The intense games of foursquare at the Natalie Lewis meet, playing Knockout before practice, or even going to Keysa post-practice for a brutal ball sesh. Yeah, swimming is fun, but it’s the people you’re with who make swimming truly one of the best sports.

The sense of being part of a family working towards one goal is unlike any other sport. It has taught me what hard work really is. Like a short, 6,000-yard IM set from Mark, where you get an exorbitant five seconds of rest on the wall.

I will never forget the talks from TJ and Mark, especially Mark (I’m sure every one knows what I’m talking about). Although we may not appreciate them at the moment, I’m sure we will later in life. At least some of them… maybe!

I’m so excited for this team and what the future holds, and I’m certain STAR will only get better and grow as time goes on.

P.S. I pronounce Roman as the new holder of Shower One.

Lane Lines


Attending NC State University


100 Butterfly


Laughing with my friends on the bench before a race


“Never Recover,” by Lil Baby


Hang out with your swim friends outside of the pool and enjoy every moment!

It’s the people you’re with who make swimming truly one of the best sports.”

Katie Katie TOTHERO

I’ve been a swimmer for as long as I can remember. Before coming to STAR, I swam for two different teams, neither of which really clicked with me. It wasn’t until I joined STAR in fifth grade that I really felt at home on a swim team. Before, I had never really felt too passionate about the sport. Sure, I enjoyed it, but was never overly attached. Once I joined STAR, I actually started looking forward to practices and meets, and my technique and speed began to improve greatly. I adored the coaches and even made a few friends.

My early days on STAR especially are a time I look back on fondly. In eighth grade, I decided I wanted to do the musical, which made swimming a bit more difficult to fit into my schedule. Luckily, the way things shook out, I was still able to come to practices, just showing up a bit late. The coaches were so accommodating of my needs, and supportive of my other interests which I greatly appreciate. If it weren’t for that support, I don’t think I’d have continued to pursue my theatrical interests at all.

In high school I began to do plays as well as musicals. This meant I was often out of the water for months at a time, or only coming in for Saturday practices. Due to the length and frequency of practices, swimming is a difficult sport to fit any other activities around it, so I am thankful for every opportunity I’ve had to pursue my other interests alongside swimming, even if that meant taking some time off.

Even after being out for a long time, I always looked forward to coming back, and always felt welcome. I adore all of my activities, but there’s nothing quite like coming back to swim after a long time off. I think that says a lot about the sport of swimming. Because it is an incredibly difficult and time-consuming sport, from the outside it can be hard to comprehend how anyone can stick with it. But ask any swimmer and they’ll tell you that no matter how much they may complain about their sport, they really deeply love and are dedicated to it more than most people will ever realize. Without swimming in my life, I wouldn’t be the person I am today, so I am so thankful to the sport and the coaches and teammates who made this experience so formative and special. TJ especially has been so endlessly supportive and motivational. He really knows how to get people fired up and achieve what they’re capable of, and I cannot thank him enough for that. These years on STAR have been the best in my life. Thank you all for everything!

Lane Lines


Attending SUNY Geneseo


200 IM


Getting to swim outdoors when we first came back during COVID


“Talk It Up,” by Sammy Rae and the Friends


Swimming is the hardest sport you can do, but stick with it, because your confidence will grow and you’ll see results.


I am so thankful to the coaches and teammates who made this experience so formative and special!”
26 2022-23 STAR TEAM


Iwould like to start out by saying thank you to my parents and coaches. My parents have done so much for me throughout my years of swimming and have always supported me. I would also like to thank my coaches for all they have taught me. I would not be the swimmer I am today if not for them.

I have been swimming since I was 8 years old, but I did not join STAR till I was 14 and going into my freshman year of highschool. I will always remember my first week at STAR because I came for one day and then got bronchitis, so everyone thought I quit after one day. My years on STAR have had their fair share of ups and downs, but I try to just remember the ups. One of the best things I got from STAR was some of my best friends. I would like to throw a shoutout to Grace Vogt who was one of my first friends I made on the team. Being on the team for four years has given me a fair share of good memories. Whether it be Speedos, when the toilet wouldn’t stop flushing, or Indy 2023, when we stuck 25 swimmers in the elevator. One of my favorite aspects of the team is the energy. During a sprint practice, you can always hear TJ yelling at everyone to go fast or teammates encouraging you to do your best during the set. During a meet, everyone cheers everyone on, especially at finals. When I first came to STAR this was very different from my old club so it took a bit to get used to, but it became one of my favorite parts of the club.

Maddy Dom. Thank you for being like a sister to me. I will miss making jokes with you every practice and hearing you rant about what is going on in your life. You best not leave me when you go to college.

Thank you Mira and Marisa for staying at the back of the lane with me during practice and always giving me someone to get in late with. Mira, I will never forget the picture you took of me when playing Pokemon Go at Zones. Thank you both for making me laugh until my stomach hurt.

To Maddie McKinney. I will miss hearing about your boy drama every practice and poking your belly button every chance I get. Thanks for being my dryland partner when I decide to show up.

Grace Vogt. Thank you for being my first friend and for all the memories we have together. Whether it be our noise complaint in New Jersey or sprinting down the halls at Indy or when we just look at each other at practice and start laughing, I love it all. I will miss practice with you so much. Everyone flies with the goose.

Thank you STAR for all you have done for me. Go Team, Womp Womp.

Lane Lines


Swimming Club at the University of Alabama


200 Butterfly


When I pushed Aidan Domster in the pool with his clothes on


“Glock In My Lap,” by 21 Savage & Metro Boomin


Enjoy it while it lasts because time flies by so fast!

One of the best things I got from STAR was some of my best friends.”

2022 Long Course Record Breakers


Kyle Dean, Evie Leighton, Grace Vogt, Josh Stegner: Mixed Senior Open 200 Free Relay 1:45.53

Ian Hewett, Zach Eisenmann, Jude Strittmatter, Matt Woyksnar: Boys Open 200 Medley Relay 1:48.74

17-18 GIRLS

Natalie Killion: 50 Free 27.43, 100 Free 58.29, 200 Free 2:03.69, 400 Free 4:22.35

17-18 BOYS

Aaron Gasiewicz: 100 Fly 56.78

15-16 GIRLS

Mira Keller: 200 Back 2:15.33

15-16 BOYS

Peter Peyser: 50 Free 24.64, 100 Free 53.91

Fatta: 100 Breast 1:26.99

Medellin: 50 Fly 31.25

2022-23 Short Course Record Breakers


Miles Moore, Carter Kobielski, Mitchell Coen, Grady Moore: 200 Free Relay 1:31.18

Grady Moore, Carter Kobielski, Landon Frederes, Miles Moore: 400 Free Relay 3:20.49

Landon Frederes, Michael Barone, Grady Moore, Miles Moore: 200 Medley Relay 1:43.76

Lucas Berdysiak, Liam Clark, Grady Moore, Miles Moore: 400 Medley Relay 3:45.33


Evie Leighton, Natalie Killion, Mira Keller, Zoey Griffin: 400 Free Relay 3:28.62

Natalie Killion, Evie Leighton, Mira Keller, Zoe Zawodzinski: 200 Medley Relay 1:46.69

Zoey Griffin, Evie Leighton, Mira Keller, Natalie Killion: 400 Medley Relay 3:52.71


Evie Leighton, Natalie Killion, Zoe Zawodzinski, Grace Vogt: 200 Free Relay 1:36.01


Peter Peyser, Aaron Gasiewicz, Paul Wissel, Gannon Moore: 200 Free Relay 1:23.46

Aaron Gasiewicz, Peter Peyser, Paul Wissel, Hugh Harrison: 400 Free Relay 3:05.22

Hugh Harrison, Peter Peyser, Aaron Gasiewicz, Paul Wissel: 200 Medley Relay 1:32.60

Roman Tedeschi, Peter Peyser, Aaron Gasiewicz, Paul Wissel: 400 Medley Relay 3:27.95


Levi Waks, Janiyah Batson, Mabel Markel, Dillion Mulawka: 400 Free Relay 5:11.64

Austin Derrick, Mabel Markel, Dillion Mulawka, Tanner Ray: 200 Medley Relay 2:30.51


Elizabeth Carducci, Madeline Loeffler, Isaac Waks, Jack Wischman: 200 Free Relay 1:49.16


Miles Moore, Sydney Jokic, Ashanti Washington, Lucille Harrison: 200 Free Relay 1:36.71


Jen, Chris, Zach, Abby & Josh

It’s nearly impossible to list all the contributions Jen has made to STAR Swimming. Many amazing parents come through the club giving of their time, energy, and talents. Some really stand out, leaving a lasting mark that will benefit future generations of athletes. Jen Eisenmann is one of these parents. She embodies our club’s core values of accountability, respect, resilience, passion, and fun. Her unwavering commitment to this club is evident every day. She is a true leader, team player, problem-solver and our go-to for anything club-related. Whether navigating STAR through a head coach search, hosting a swim meet during COVID, or ensuring every swimmer has a positive experience at STAR, Jen has committed immeasurable time, effort, and energy to all of us. All this while balancing being an amazing mom, wife, and teacher. This club is better for having Jen as our President of the Board and being part of our club for all these years. We’ve learned from her guidance and leadership as we move forward into the future. We are all exceptionally grateful for her long-lasting commitment to our STAR families. Thank you, Jen Eisenmann!

2022-23 LSC Record Breakers

SCY NIAGARA LSC 13-14 BOYS RELAY Grady Moore, Carter Kobielski, Landon Frederes, Miles Moore: 400 Free Relay 3:20.49

SCY NIAGARA LSC 17-18 GIRLS RELAYS Evie Leighton, Natalie Killion, Mira Keller, Zoey Griffin: 400 Free Relay 3:28.62

Natalie Killion, Evie Leighton, Mira Keller, Zoe Zawodzinski: 200 Medley Relay 1:46.69

Zoey Griffin, Evie Leighton, Mira Keller, Natalie Killion: 400 Medley Relay 3:52.71

2022-23 SEASON

USA Swimming Motivational Time Standards

WINTER US OPEN: Mira Keller, Natalie Killion. WINTER/SUMMER NATIONALS: Aaron Gasiewicz, Ian Hewett, Max Kruglov, Peter Peyser. FUTURES: Liam Clark, Zach Eisenmann, Zoey Griffin, Jess Humby, Jude Strittmatter, Roman Tedeschi. AAA: Michael Barone, Lucas Berdysiak, Emily Blake, Connor Dean, Maddy Domster, Nate Eaton, Landon Frederes, Lucy Harrison, Reilly Herbert, Sydney Jokic, Carter Kobielski, Evie Leighton, Maddie McKinney, Mateo Medellin, Bridget Reilly, Josh Stegner, Grace Vogt, Matt Woyksnar, Atticus Young, Zoe Zawodzinski. AA:  Shannon Belote, Giada Cappelini, Lizzy Carducci, Sarah Carlson, Emily Chung, Jelena Codjovi, Liam Coen, Mitchell Coen, Adam Fred, Brady Garcia, Haley Loehfelm, Maddie Loehfelm, Aidan Losito, Catherine Markowski, Vanessa Mintz, Emma Sauer, Ally Stegner. A: Vaughn Bruzgul, Aidan Domster, Julia Errington, Sophia Hall, Logan Johnston, Mia McDonnell, Avery McLaren, Bobby Miller, Dominic Mintz, Thomas Moldenhauer, Cara Pillitteri, Fiona Reilly, Jack Shepler, Joseph Skoumpris, Matthew Spence, Emily Swan, Bess Tesluk, Ashanti Washington, Julia Weyer. BB:  Adriana Bango, Abby Eisenmann, Stephen Fattey, Marisa Gachette, Faith Kauffman, Keaton Lemieux, Morgan Malush, Corinne McAndrew, Evelyn Montagna , Tarin Rietz, Grace Riviera, Sophie Rugnetta, Joey Rogers, Madison Scarpace, Katie Tothero, Natalie Walier, Sarah Whamsley, Ava Whitley-Grassi.

11-12 GIRLS Lilah
11-12 BOYS Mateo
LSC: 17-18 BOYS
200 IM
Aaron Gasiewicz:

Thank you for your support!

Coach TJ Day, Coach Mark VanRemmen, the STAR coaching staff and their families STAR Board of Directors

Erie Community College Vince McCarthy, ECC Aquatic Director ECC security staff Jason Tedeschi, ajar media

Pearl Street Grill & Brewery Tony Martin Awards

Coordinator Courtney Lanza and all of our meet volunteers!

Banquet Committee: Karen Coen, Nicole Domster, Jen Eisenmann, Meg Leighton, Boni McClaren, Lorraine Strittmatter, Emilie Tothero

Banquet Program Design: Jason Tedeschi, ajarmedia.com

Raffle Basket & Gift Contributing Families: Andalora, Carlson, Clark, Coen, Day, Dean, Domster, Eaton, Eisenmann, Fred, Gachette, Garcia, Gilday, Griffin, Jokic, Kauffman, Killion, Kobielski, Leighton, Loehfelm, McClaren, McDonnell, McKinney, Murray-Zawodzinski, Ng Chung, Peyser, Reilly, Sauer, Sokolik, Strittmatter, Tedeschi, Tothero, Tothero, Umansky, VanRemmen, Vogt, Wissel, Young, Yousef

STAR Swimming Volunteer Award Recipients

2007 Bob Matlack

2008 Larry Lichota

2009 John Marchese

2010 Joe Deren

2011 Katherine McCauley

2012 Donna Westermeier

2013 Catherine Kibler

2014 Dorothy Maurer

2015 Bob Bender

2016 Lynda Blake

2017 Micki Staples

2018 Megan Hurley

2019 Randy & Kristen Matteson

2021 Meg & Jeff Hewett

2022 Leo Gibbons





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