VARSITY 2015-2016

3/5/16- NYS Federation CHAMPIONSHIPS

Over the weekend, the AquaRams travelled to Buffalo NY to compete in the New York State Swimming and Diving Federation Championships. For two days, the meet was filled with the best competition of high school swimming and diving in the state of New York and similar to past years, the Fordham Prep swimming team did not disappoint as they captured an impressive 2nd place finish overall just 12 points from 1st place!

Spencer Lafata led the team with a 2nd place finish in the 200yd freestyle with a time of 1:40.52 and an exciting come from behind 1st place finish in the 500yd freestyle with an Automatic All American time of  4:27.02.

Freshman Nick Torres also led the team with top finishes in his events including 5th place in the 200 individual medley of 1:52.64 just off our team record and 2nd place in the 100 backstroke 51.21!.

Other great individual performances were turned in by Aristides Speres in the 100 butterfly 51.51.45 along with Ryan Mairele and Stephan Gray in the 500yd freestyle coming in at  4:49.12 and 4:49.27 respectively. Gray also was nominated for the sportsmanship award of the meet for the Catholic High School Section.

In the relays, the team of Aristides Speres (46.41), Alec Nicaj (47.35), Nick Torres (45.81), and Spencer Lafata (46.10) captured 1st place in the 400yd freestyle relay for the 5th year in a row with an automatic all american time of 3:05.67, less than a second off the state record which is also held by Fordham Prep. In addition, the team of Nick Torres, Charles Lazaroni, Aristides Speres, and Alec Nicaj placed 5th overall in the 200medley relay and 4th in the  200freestyle relay with Speres, Francis Moran, Lafata, and Nicaj. 
Congratulations to the team on a fantastic meet and conclusion to the season!

2/7/16- NYCHSAA Championships

The Fordham prep swim and dive team concluded their CHSAA season on Sunday evening. The three day meet saw incredible competition throughout. Thursday evening the divers got the team some early points taking 2nd, 13, 18, and 19th. Saturday during the swimming trials the team placed themselves in a great position for sunday's finals, with all swimmers turning in best times of the season. Sunday's finals started with the 200 medley relay 1st through third place teams sepersted by less than a second. Through the next 5 events the lead changed hands between the Prep and two other teams multiple times. Prep swimmers Spencer Lafatta and Nick Torres were crowned individual champions in the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley respectively. After the diving the top three teams were sepersted by only 11 points. Through the final 6 events the Aquarams continued to turn in top swims with Spencer Lafata winning the 500 freestyle, Nick Torres the 100 Back, and the 400 relay of Aristides Speres, Allan Cooke, Nick Torres and Spencer Lafata winning the final event. As the dust settled and the final score was announced the Prep had been crowned 2016 CHSAA runner ups. Congratulations to Stephen Gray, Ryan Maeirle, Allan Cooke, Charles Lazaroni, Aristidies Speres, Spencer Lafata, Nick Torres and Alec Nicaj all turned in State Championship qualifying times and will represent he Prep at the New York State Federation Championships. Congratulations to all Prep Swimmers and Divers on an excellent season!

1/25/16- FORDHAM PREP VS. st. anthonys

The Fordham Prep Swim and Dive Team concluded their duel meet season Monday evening against this years league powerhouse St. Anthony's.  What was billed to be a competitive and exciting meet surpassed all expectations.  The Aquarams turned in fantastic swim after fantastic swim, winning the first 3 events and going into the one meter diving tied 31 to 31.  The back and forth continued after the diving with St. Anthony's and the Prep swapping slim leads after each event.  Going into the final event, the 400 yard freestyle relay, the Aquarams had a slight 2 point lead.  After the final touches, in what was the most exciting race of the season, the Prep came up just a tad short, conceding victory to the Friars by 2 points. The team has much to be proud of at the conclusion of the duel meet season, many swimmers and divers turned in their best performances of the season on Monday and are looking to use this momentum to catapult them even further in the CHSAA Championships that are scheduled for February 4th, 6th and 7th.  Outstanding performances were turned in by Aristedes Speres, Jared Copeland, Frankie Moran, Nick Torres, Stephen Amato, Steven Gray, Alec Nicaj, Nick Malloy, Trevor Sermon, Chris Bennianti, and Spencer Lafata.

Kudos to all swimmers and divers for an excellent duel meet season, and to the Class of 2016 Aquarams completing their duel meet careers 39-1.  Good Luck at Championships!


On Tuesday, December 22nd the Prep Swim and Dive Team had one last task to take care of before winter break.  Set for a show down with school rival Xavier, the team was committed to continuing their undefeated season moving into the holidays. Several fantastic swims were turned in highlighted by Aristedes Speres, Spencer Lafata, Alec Nicaj, Brian Chrystal, Trevor Sermon, and many more.  The team jumped out to a quick lead, and was able to maintain and build winning some exciting races along the way.  The team looks forward to capitalizing on its winter break practices at their next meet, against Xavieran on Tuesday, January 5th at the Fordham University Pool.  All are welcome to come and cheer on the team. Good Job and Good Luck to all Aquarams!

12/3/15- FORDHAM PREP VS. ST. Francis

The Prep swim and dive team welcomed the terriers of St. Francis Prep to the Rose Hill campus.  The Aquarams snapped to a quick start sweeping 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the meet's initial event, the 200 yard Medley relay.  The second event saw Freshman Nick Torres win the 200 yard freestyle, followed by Junior Spencer LaFata in the third event, the 200 yard Individual Medley, also capturing 1st place.  Seniors Alec Nicaj and Brian Chrystal continued the winning ways securing the prep's 4th and 5th wins in the 50 and 100 yard freestyles. The team went on to win each of the remaining 8 events and the overall meet 93-67.  Outstanding swims were also turned in by some younger members of the team when Freshmen Andrew Wetty, Chis Garcia and Sophomores Daniel Masseo, Ryan Garvey, Lukas Petit all made their A-championship qualifying times.  The team looks forward to continuing its season against Molloy, on Monday December 14th.  Congratulations to all Swimmers and Divers on a job well done!  


11/22/15- FORDHAM PREP VS. ST. Peters

Sunday evening the Prep Swim and Dive team swam Staten Island powerhouse St. Peters.  The Aquarams got off to a quick start taking first and second place in the 200 yard medley relay, and continued their winning pace for the remainder of the meet.  The Prep won every event, including sweeping the 1 meter diving. Alec Nicaj, Michael Filaridi, Jalen Ramjohn, Chris Benninati, Brian Chrystal, Stephen Amato, Dylan Walsh and Mike Marun all turned in great swims. Congratulations to freshman Austin Hourican, Luke Rosato, Jared Copeland, Ryan Maierle, and Nick Torres all who made their Varisty A-championships cut.  The team looks forward to the annual Relay Carnival on Tuesday evening.



The Prep Swimming and Diving team kicked off its variety season Thursday night welcoming St. Dominics to the University natatorium.  The team got off to a quick start sweeping the 1 meter diving and the 200 yard medley relay event, and continued to its fast pace throughout the night.  Junior Spencer Lafata won the 200 yard freestyle in a New York State Championship qualifying time of 1:45.34 seconds.  Alan Cooke, Trevor Sermon, Frankie Moran, Aristides Speres, Ryan Maierle, Jared Copeland and Nick Torres also turned in excellent swimming performances.  The team has a quick turnaround for its second meet as they look to take on St. Peters High School, Sunday at 5:30pm.  Congratulations to all swimmers and divers on a great first meet! 


2015 Fordham Prep Freshman Swimming & Diving

Congratulations to the FP Freshman Swimming & Diving for finishing 2nd place at CHSAA Championships.  The team won 5 of the 8 swimming events. Nick Torres was named the meet MVP, breaking 3 league and team records (100 IM, 50 Back, 50 Free). Ryan Maierle won two events (50 Free & 100 Free). In the final race of the day, the 200 Free Relay team of Luke Rosatto, Jared Copeland, Ryan Maierle and Nick Torres set a new league and team record. 

2015 NY State Federation Champs

The Fordham Prep Swim team captured their 5th consecutive New York State Federation Championship this weekend in Ithica, NY. The 200 Medley Relay of Jalen Ramjohn, Ian Bidwell, Aristides Speres and Alec Nicaj began the meet with a 3rd place finish. In the 200 freestyle relay, the team of Michael Verini, Timothy Buttigieg, Alec Nicaj, and Steven Tierney won with a time of 1:24.92. Top eight performances were turned in by Michael Verini (50 Free & 100 Free), Steven Tierney (200 Free, 100 free), Jack Collins (500 Free), Ian Bidwell (200 IM & 500 Free), & Spencer LaFata (200 Free & 500 Free), The final event of the day, the 400 Freestyle relay, the team of Michael Verini, Spencer LaFata, Jack Collins, Steven Tierney, finished the meet with a fantastic swim of 3:06.19 and sealed the deal assuring the team's dominating win with 245 points. Congratulations to all!
Congratulations to all!


Mr. Smith: Watching, Waiting, Praying and the Papal Conclave
Posted 09/21/2015 12:25PM

Watching, Waiting, Praying...A Journey to the Papal Conclave
Craig Smith, Ministry & Religious Studies

In the two and a half years since his election, Pope Francis has become a household name and a worldwide celebrity. From Rolling Stone to Fortune, and even in the coverage of his current visit to the United States, Francis is a media sensation. In many ways, it is safe to say the world loves Pope Francis. My personal relationship with the Holy Father began in the middle of March of 2013 before I knew who our next pope would be.

Each time I pray I always begin with the words, “Lead me, Lord.” I hope for and seek God’s guidance in the big picture of my life, but also in the little moments within the journey of each day. I never in my wildest dreams would have expected that very prayer to lead me somewhere physically, to an actual place. But lead me it did, in March of 2013, to Vatican City for the papal conclave and the election of a new pope. When asked by many why I traveled all the way to Rome by myself for this historic event, I often replied, “To pray. To hopefully and joyfully pray for the future of our Church.”  It just felt like the place for me to be, in that place at that moment in time.

What a powerful journey it was! I spent most of two whole days in St. Peter’s square that week, watching, waiting, praying. Each time smoke appeared, it was as if the entire crowd collectively stopped breathing. Time just stood still. Is it white? Are there bells ringing? Do we have a new pope? It was that third, charming time that it actually happened, and the crowd thundered with cheers, laughter and jubilation.  There is nothing like it. Those minutes in between, while we were waiting to greet our new pontiff, seemed like an eternity. And when Cardinal Bergoglio’s name was said and his choice to be called Francis announced, there was chaos, faithful chaos. A new continent? A new name? A Jesuit? Even before he stepped out onto that balcony, this pope was already a trailblazer.

The most profound and peaceful moment came as our Holy Father asked us, those present and the faithful throughout the entire world, to pray for him. Me, Craig Smith? Pray for you, Pope Francis? I recall the truest sense of hope as the theme of my prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to guide Pope Francis and our church to be filled with compassion, peace, welcome and love. The entire square of well over 100,000 people was silent in prayer. And then after, to receive the papal blessing marked by the sign of our faith, our triune God, I had never had an emotion like that. It was bigger than happiness, brighter than joy, deeper than peace.

Pope Francis is someone who embodies humility with a holiness that inspires. He is not “holier than thou” but “holier because of thou.” Whoever “thou” is. But most explicitly he cares for and is truly WITH the poor.

You know, desire changes everything. In my years, I have (unfortunately, but admittedly) begrudgingly volunteered at soup kitchens, food pantries and homeless shelters. I never really enjoyed it. But just after returning from Rome, I worked at the soup kitchen at my parish in New York City. My entire perspective had been changed by the words and example of our Holy Father. I could so clearly (and desired to) acknowledge God's presence within the guests of the kitchen. If I ever doubted it, I just took a moment, clasped my hands in prayer and reverenced the holiness within each person I served.

My pilgrimage to Rome helped me experience God in a new way. It was one in which I witnessed all that is good, all that is God, and I am eternally grateful. Never in my wildest dreams could I have hoped for such an experience. I think sometimes God dreams even bigger dreams for us than we could ever dream for ourselves.

To tell you the truth, even after all of these years, I think I sometimes doubted God’s work in my life because I felt unworthy, unholy or undeserving. But everything has changed. I am certain, now more than ever, of God's presence in my life, the life of others and the life of our church. Not because I am or we are more holy, more worthy or more deserving. Everything has changed because I am now more willing to acknowledge and receive the presence of God.

My prayer now not only begins with “Lead me, Lord,” but also “Lead us, Lord.” Lead your faithful to new places, new journeys and new opportunities to express love and peace. Lead us to follow new dreams and discover new hope. Lead us, loving God, to you.

Craig Smith teaches Religious Studies at Fordham Prep, works in Campus Ministry in addition to being the head tennis coach. He is currently completing a Ph.D in Religious Education at Fordham University.

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