KI’s Stampone signs with Wilkes
Grasonville resident, TCY standout figures to swim fly, middle distances for the Colonels
EASTON — Anthony Stampone knew he wanted to extend his swimming career after high school and his time with the Talbot County YMCA program.
But Stampone, a senior and student president at Kent Island High, also knew he didn’t want to go too big.
“I never really thought about swimming DI,” Stampone said. “I was thinking DIII probably since the end of my sophomore year, beginning of junior year, when I started my college search. I love swimming, but like I know my own limitations.”
That doesn’t mean Stampone won’t be trying to stretch himself when he begins swimming for Division III Wilkes ( Pa.) University next season.
“My goals going into college are to improve my times,” said Stampone, who recently signed his national letter of intent poolside at the Talbot YMCA among coaches, family and teammates. “I want to try to make conferences freshman year. I think I should be able to do that. And then maybe by senior year, the end goal is NCAAs. But that is shooting high.”
Stampone, 18, who lives in Grasonville, hopes to play a part in pushing Wilkes to new heights. Located in Wilkes- Barre, Pa., the school just added swimming to its athletic program for 2014- 15 season. This year, the Colonels went 1- 11 overall, 1- 9 in the Middle Atlantic Conference, and finished last in the 12- team field at the conference championships.
“It’s awesome to see him get an opportunity at Wilkes,” longtime Talbot YMCA head coach George Higley said. “He’s really improved since he’s been here. Persevered. Really good leader, here, and at the high school.
“He had a really strong
finish at districts, Cap Classic; some high- level meets,” added Higley of Stampone, who swam four years with TCY. “He’s probably going to be one of the top kids up there. It’s a perfect fit.”
During Talbot’s titlewinning effort at the East Field South District Championships last month, Stampone teamed with Ben Gardner and the Brown twins, Joshua and Jacob, for a fifth- place finish in the 15- 18- year- old 200- yard freestyle relay with a time of 1 minute, 32.17 seconds.
He could see relay action at Wilkes, and figures to swim the butterfly and middle distances in individual competition.
Stampone was runner-up in the 100 fly at this year’s Class 3A- 2A- 1A East Region high school championships — lopping 3 seconds off his seeded time with a 58.13 — fourth in the 500 freestyle ( 5: 39.10), and swam a leg on Kent Island’s second- place 400 freestyle relay. He finished seventh in the 100 butterfly at states ( 58.11), but did not swim the 500.
“It’s kind of sad to have him leave,” said Kent Island head coach Jen Traver, who had Stampone swim in practically every event at some point over his four years with exception of the freestyle sprints. “I can remember the very first practice, freshman year, trying to show off for everybody; clowning around. And just to go from that, that little freshman guy, to one of the big leaders on our team; and being responsible, thoughtful and hard working, and hardly ever complains, always does what he needs to do … He’s truly going to be missed.”
Stampone’s college search started with about eight schools and was gradually narrowed to three, including Division I George Mason and Drexel. And though he didn’t want to go big, Stampone admitted it took awhile to make his decision.
“I was there for about two months, just going back and forth between the three of them, and visiting them all again,” Stampone said. “I went up for a student’s day at Wilkes. I went there, saw the kids that I would be swimming with, like went to class, saw the teachers that I would have and it just clicked. I decided right there.”
Stampone said he plans on studying mechanical engineering.
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Kent Island High senior Anthony Stampone, left, and head swim coach Jen Traver were all smiles after Stampone signed his national letter of intent to swim for Wilkes University.