Will Tagliareni Graduates Hackettstown High School with Five Swimming Records

By Steve Sears

Hackettstown High School’s Will Tagliareni in the spring of 2022 set five new school records for swimming.

Tagliareni’s school records are in the 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke, and the 200 IM (Individual Medley).

In fact, Tagliareni, who is 18, not only had a great senior year, but he steadily improved since his freshman season. As a sophomore, he set then a school record in the 500 freestyle. “Ever since then, I’ve been constantly bringing it back down to faster time,” he says.

Tagliareni started summer swimming when he was eight years old, and also did club swimming since the sixth grade. “The first club that I started on was the Sea Dragons, which was out of Centenary (University). That later closed, so I went to the New Jersey Barracudas (at both Kittatinny High School and Blair Academy) in my freshman year,” he says.

Will is not the first Tagliareni to dip his toes into the pool for the Hackettstown Tigers. First there was older brother and 2015 graduate, Thomas, who swam his senior year, and another older brother, Joe, who started as a freshman in high school, graduated in 2018, and is now at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Newburgh, New York. 

“My freshman year, I wasn’t the strongest swimmer,” Tagliareni says. “Of course, I did club since sixth grade, but I wasn’t the strongest swimmer. We (Hackettstown) had a small team and we still do to this day. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I really started to progress in a positive way. I saw a bunch of improvements with my time – that’s when I joined my new club – and I got the record for the 500. That was the year that I really started to see a bunch of improvements with my swimming. Obviously, it probably was one of the more memorable years of my swim career only because it was just such a high. I think it was more of my attitude towards swim. During my freshman year, I guess I wasn’t the most serious, and then I feel like sophomore year is when it really clicked. I could see a bright future in myself for swim. So, I think it was more of an attitude change, and me taking swim a lot more serious than I had in the prior years. I think it has a lot to do with that.”

When the pandemic rolled around for Tagliareni’s junior year, the Kittatinny pool slowly shut down as did the one at Blair. So, he and his team headed to the Tranquility Valley Retreat Center to train. Just a five-lane pool where you couldn’t dive in, it was a huge change for the 15-year-old. “Junior year, there was not much improvement I would say in times, but it was still fun with the whole environment, my team and everything, so that made it very enjoyable,” he says of 2021. “It was kind of like a standstill, so it was kind of hard to see any improvement.” And it was difficult to really compete when doing virtual meets. Tagliareni explains. “One team would go in first; for example, my team would go in first, and then the team we were competing against would come after us, so we never had any like true competition. It was kind of hard to gauge yourself.”

When 2022 rolled around, pools started to reopen more, swim meets were scheduled and happened once more, and Tagliareni’s swimming life was reinvigorated. “We had a normal season,” he says. “This year was much different. I saw the most improvement I’ve ever seen. My attitude towards swim definitely changed from the last years. I just wanted to see the best. Everything started to fall in line. I guess you could say it really clicked that this was my last year as a (Hackettstown) swimmer.”

Overall, his final year as a Hackettstown Tiger was great for he and his fellow swimmers. “I think it was a lot of environmental changes,” Tagliareni says. “Our team, especially the boy’s team, we had the most successful season we’ve had in past years. For a small team, I’d say that we did very well this year.” According to Tagliareni, the Tigers captured three out of their seven meets this year, which was an improvement over prior seasons for the Ashlee Weingarten coached club. “So, I think everyone’s attitude on my team really changed, which I would say helped me be more of a better swimmer and a better athlete, if you will. I saw a tremendous change in my times this year, and I’m very thankful for that.”

Tagliareni, who in addition to his brothers has been supported by his sister, Kate, and his parents, Jeannie and Tom, also took part in cross country and track & field at Hackettstown. He will attend and swim for the University of Scranton in the fall. “Swim just sticks out for me,” Tagliareni says. “Every one is like a family, every team I’ve been on. I’ve made so many friends from it. It’s just a very enjoyable sport.”

“And my performance this year, it just means a lot to me.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.