West Orange—Golda Och Academy senior Jessica Antiles has done it again. At the February 4th Prep Championship Meet at the Lawrenceville School, Antiles broke the pool and meet record in the 200 Individual Medley (IM) with a time of 2:02.6, a record she broke last year with a time of 2:03.50. She also set a new meet record in the 100 butterfly with 00:56.01; the previous meet record was 00:56.85.
“Jessica’s performance at the Prep Championship was spectacular,” said GOA’s swim coach. “Another two records went down, and the second in the 100 butterfly was her first time swimming the event this year! That being said, her accomplishments in the pool pale in comparison to her performance the past four years as a teammate and a leader for the GOA swim team.”
Currently, Antiles holds the Prep Championship’s pool and meet record in the 100 breaststroke with 1:03.91. She also holds the Essex County meet record in the 200 IM with 2:02.62 along with the 100 freestyle with 51.47, and is the New Jersey record holder in the 200 IM with a time of 2:00.84.
On January 19, the school’s star swimmer placed first in both of her events at the Super Essex County Championships, winning the 200-yard IM in 2:03.45 and the 100 free in 52.14. In December, Antiles won five events at the Holiday Classic XXVIII held at Rutgers University where many of the fastest teams from the East Coast compete. Antiles took home the High Point award, receiving the most number of wins at the meet.
For the high school senior, swimming has seemingly always been a part of her life, having started competitive swimming at the age of 6 at the JCC in West Orange. Since age 9, Jessica has been swimming for the Cougar Aquatic Team in Montclair, where she says she has benefitted from great coaching and friendships. “Swim workouts together with dry-land training are grueling and time consuming, but I know my accomplishments are part of a team effort,” she said.
Last summer, Antiles competed in the Israeli Nationals and won all four of her races in the Open Division (all ages). In addition, she was the High Point winner among all the women competitors. Two weeks before the competition, Antiles trained with a club team in Jerusalem called Hapoel Yerushalaim, the team she represented at Nationals. “It was an incredible experience to be able to train with the club and swim in Israel,” said Antiles. “The team took me in with open arms, and I felt like I was part of their family.”
At the end of this month, the GOA senior class will depart for their semester in Israel, called Neshama. While abroad, Antiles will continue to train with Hapoel Yerushalaim, practicing approximately 35 hours a week. In addition, she will attend one or two training camps in Wingate, the major athletic facility in Netanya, Israel. Although Antiles qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 400 IM for the summer of 2016, her goal is to make the Israeli Olympic team. In April, she will compete in the Israeli Nationals where she hopes to meet the time standards for the team.
“I am so thankful and excited for this amazing opportunity,” said Antiles. “Swimming is one of the most important things in my life. It gives me the chance to try my absolute best every day and has enabled me to develop a passion for something I love. There are definitely painful moments, both physically as well as emotionally, but it has taught me and continues to teach me how to grow from adversity and overcome setbacks.”
By Erin Sternthal