About 700 swimmers gathered at Old Orchard Swim Club on July 30 for the 62nd annual Cherry Bowl, an end-of-season swim meet that features Cherry Hill’s 12 swim clubs.
The event was attended by swimmers, their families and local officials, including Mayor Susan Shin Angulo, Council President David Fleisher, councilwomen Carole Roskoph and Sangeeta Doshi and councilman William Carter.
“The 12 clubs participating today are an integral part of the fabric of Cherry Hill and a cornerstone of the special quality of life we enjoy,” said Shin Angulo. “No event is more emblematic of the special place our swim clubs hold in this community than Cherry Bowl, uniting generations of residents from every one of our neighborhoods to rally behind the athletes who compete every year.”
While teams may compete with each other during the season if they’re in the same division, the Cherry Bowl is the only time all 12 clubs are able to meet before the Tri-County Championships that follow.
“It’s just a great day to be amongst your fellow community members,” said Maureen Behm, president of the Old Orchard Swim Club and co-chair of the 2022 Cherry Bowl. “(You can see) the energy, spirit and camaraderie of the kids and the parents and even members of our business community, who all just come together to make sure we deliver a quality event that really showcases the athletes.”
This year, the Old Orchard Swim Club Team Boosters partnered with the Friendly Strife Foundation – a nonprofit that supports veterans and community youth sports – to promote mental-health awareness. Participants in the meet received a bag tag – a tag identifying the competitors – with a message that reminded them of their self-worth and promoted the national mental-health crisis hotline, 988.
“We know, as a swim club, we’ve had many challenges among our community, and you see it happening in sports,” said Behm. “We wanted the athletes to have some resources in place to make sure they knew they had value, and if they ever needed some assistance, we wanted to highlight the availability of resources.
“We partnered with Friendly Strife as kind of a community giveback and that was really important to us as a Swim Club Booster Club community to make sure we gave back to the community we were trying to showcase.”
During the five-hour meet, four new records were made in the 13- and 14-year-old categories. Erlton Swim Club’s Ben Schlotterer beat the 1993 record of 28.73 seconds for the 50-meter backstroke with 28.23 seconds. Peter Moon from Old Orchard Swim Club swam the 50-meter breaststroke in 31.93 seconds, beating the 2018 record of 31.96.
In the butterfly, the 2009 record for 27.60 seconds was beaten twice: first by Rocco Mann of Willowdale who came in at 27.10 seconds, and then by Ryan Quinn from Erlton, who notched a 26.97 time.
Erlton Swim Club won first place for team championships with 1119.50 team points, followed by Willowdale at 972 points and Old Orchard with 962.50. To see more results from the 2022 Cherry Bowl, visit https://www.teamunify.com/team/recchap/page/results/2017-cherry-bowl-results.
The meet was livestreamed and can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK5sUyv8Ayc.