Frondoza a force in the pool for the Titans
Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 9, 2023
Sophomore Ethan Frondoza following in the footsteps of his older sister, Audrey, as a standout for West Forsyth
By Jay Spivey
For the Clemmons Courier
Ethan Frondoza is a sophomore on the West Forsyth boys swimming and diving team, but for at least the last two seasons he’s had to follow in the shadows of his older sister, Audrey, who is a senior on the team.
That’s a tough shadow to follow, and that has nothing to do with Groundhog Day.
“She was the one who actually got me in to swimming,” Ethan said. “When she first started, she looked like she was enjoying the sport, so I thought I’d probably enjoy it. So, I started swimming, too.”
This past Saturday at the NCHSAA Class 4-A Central Regional at the Greensboro Aquatic Center, Ethan competed in four events — the 200-yard medley relay, 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke, and the 400-yard freestyle relay — all of which he was trying to qualify for Friday’s NCHSAA Class 4-A state championship at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary.
Not to be outdone, Audrey competed in two events — finishing eighth and qualifying for the state championship in the 100 butterfly at 58.16, and she also swam the 100 back, finishing 13th at 1:00.85, failing to qualify. After having a three-year dry spell of not having any girls in the state championship, the Titans will have two. In addition to Audrey, Katherine Perdue qualified in the 100 back after she finished fifth in the regional.
“She is his biggest cheerleader,” Coach Sandy Thomerson said of Audrey. “She adores him. She’s always, screaming, yelling for him. He’s a little bit quiet and reserved, so she kind of steps in for him.”
Ethan qualified for the state meet in two events — the 200 medley relay, which he swam the first leg, the backstroke, and placed sixth with teammates Aidan Oghalai, Jonah Greene and Kyle Creep with a time of 1:38.44. He also qualified in the 100 back, finishing fourth at 52.38.
“It makes me really proud to watch him grow as an individual and as a swimmer because he was so small, and a lot of the older kids would be so much faster than him,” Audrey said. “Now, he may not be as tall as the others, but his speed definitely makes up for his height.”
With both Audrey and Ethan swimming at different times during a given event they get a chance to cheer for each other.
“I’m very proud because sometimes she’ll have bad swims and she’ll be super upset,” Ethan said. “But when I see her go to new times, she looks very happy, and it also makes me happy.
“She has a big passion for swimming. She loves swimming.”
Their coach gets a chance to see the sibling bond on the pool deck.
“They’re really sweet together, honestly,” Thomerson said. “I don’t ever hear them arguing or fighting.”
Audrey swam at West Forsyth two years before Ethan was a student there. So, Ethan had a chance to see the ropes from his older sister’s perspective.
“I feel proud because I practice and I always see her putting forth a lot of effort,” Ethan said. “And so, I’m just really happy that she is improving.”
Ethan is also improving.
“To be honest, I know there’s a lot of fast swimmers,” he said. “I know it would be really cool to win, or at least place in any events. But what my main focus is, is to improve with my times.”
As part of the learning process of being a top-notch high school swimmer, a person must put in ample effort.
“Ethan’s a pretty rounded swimmer,” Thomerson said. “Obviously, he swims with TYDE year-round, so I don’t have him on a regular basis, just in meets, but I can pretty much put him in any event he competes.”
The irony is, that Ethan is not particularly fond of the one of the events for which he qualified for the state championship this week.
“To be honest, I don’t really like backstroke that much,” Ethan said. “It’s very tiring to me because I’m heavily dependent on my underwater (stroke). But I’m fast in it, so I’ve just got to do it.”
And Ethan’s coach is definitely putting him in the pool for the backstroke, either for himself or the relay team.
“Backstroke — he’s just phenomenal. His underwater, it’s amazing what he can do,” Thomerson said.
Ethan still has one more chance to swim alongside his sister. Audrey will end her swimming career at the state meet and will graduate in June. She will attend UNC Greensboro to become a nurse.
“I wouldn’t say it was nerve-wracking (to watch Ethan swim),” Audrey said. “But I would say it was more inspiring because whenever I would get the opportunity to watch him swim and see that he’s a sophomore beating juniors and seniors, it encouraged me to push myself even harder.”
As for Ethan, he’s just savoring the moment, knowing that the Frondoza name will live in West Forsyth swimming lore for years to come.
“I guess it would be something good to look back on,” he said.
West Forsyth swimming and diving state qualifiers
Boys 200 medley relay: 4. (Ethan Frondoza, Aidan Oghalai, Jonah Greene, Kyle Creep) 1:38.44
Boys 50 free: 3. Jonah Greene 21.35
Boys 100 fly: 2. Jonah Greene 51.04
Boys 100 back: 4. Ethan Frondoza 52.38
Girls 100 back: 5. Katherine Perdue 58.63
Girls 100 fly: 8. Audrey Frondoza 58.16