THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD BENSONHURST RESIDENT ANNIE ZHU from the LaGuardia Aquatics Club has qualified to compete in the U.S. Olympic 100- and 200-meter breaststroke and individual medley trials this month. The goal: to represent the US at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Zhu will travel to Omaha, Nebraska, where she will face 50 of the nation’s elite swimmers, the majority of whom are seasoned, college-age competititors. However, her coach says the 5’7″ swimmer appears unfazed, perhaps because she has already faced a few of her competitors in national championships.
“They are surprised that I am really young but race at such a high level,” said Zhu.
Annie has been swimming competitively under the guidance of Coach Dragos Coca since she joined the club at age four. By 10 she held the national record for the 100-yard and 100-meter breaststroke in her age group. When she set her first record, Coca said, “Annie is very talented. When you watch her swim, you realize that swimming is an art.”
The following year she set three more records — the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard and 200-meter breaststroke. By age 12 her racing times qualified her for the Olympic trials. According to the official Olympics web site, Marjorie Gestring of the U.S. remains the youngest female gold medalist in the history of the Summer Olympics for winning the gold medal in springboard diving at age 13.
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BAY RIDGE RESIDENTS SAL CARBONE and WILL MILLENDER put their chomping prowess together for charity at a slice-eating contest at Rocco’s Pizzeria June 1. Millender won the first two years of the annual competition and Carbone won last year, so the competition between the two was set to be fierce. Although the 375-pound Millender wanted to regain the title of champ (after losing 100 pounds on ABC’s Fat March), 190-pound Carbone emerged victorious after downing just over 15 slices, according to the Daily News. Millender trailed with just over 12. The event, host by Rocco’s co-owner Joseph Loccisano, raised $4,000 for MercyFirst, which provides resources for thousands of children, teens and families in the tri-state area.
NYC HOUSING COMMISSIONER SHAUN DONOVAN and his staff spent Saturday, May 31, cutting and installing drywall at the site of what will be 41 affordable, eco-friendly homes from Habitat for Humanity in Brooklyn. The team worked alongside the low-income families who will own the homes, which are part of Mayor Bloomberg’s 165,000-unit affordable housing plan. In addition to the muscle that HPD lent to the complex, the agency sold the land to Habitat-NYC for a nominal fee of just $13 and is committing $1.845 million from the NYC Housing Trust Fund to the project, located in Brooklyn’s Ocean Hill-Brownsville neighborhood. The Atlantic Avenue complex is the largest multifamily Habitat project in the world and is being built to LEED standards for green building.
WORD IS OUT: the MTV crew has settled on the BellTel building in downtown Brooklyn as the site for the upcoming Real World: Brooklyn. Although Borough Prez Marty Markowitz announced the decision at BAM to a chorus of boos, residents have expressed surprise, although not unanimous unhappiness, at the decision, citing the fact that previous settings for the show have been noteably more… luxurious. According to NY Magazine, BellTell owner David Bistricer boasted that this is not exactly the kind of apartment indigenous to the area: The 6,000-square-foot, two-story penthouse has ten-foot windows, five bedrooms, bamboo flooring, two private terraces and a big roof deck.
PRATT ADJUNCT PROF JIM SUPANICK has received a prestigious Arts Writers Grant from Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation for his article “Windsock Navigation: eteam’s International Airport Montello.” The article is an investigation of the NY-based artist collective eteam’s elaborate art project, staged near a defunct airstrip in the remote desert town of Montello, Nevada. The award was given for Supanick’s “dual commitment to the craft of writing and the advancement of critical discourse on contemporary visual art.”
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On May 16, two Wagner College seniors from Brooklyn graduated with honors: Aleksey Etinger was honored with the Dr. Norman L. Freilich Memorial Award for a graduating student accepted into medical or dental school, and is headed for the NY College of osteopathic medicine next year. Michael Frasca, a nursing major, won the Constance Byron Award for “academic merit, leadership qualities, tenacious spirit, thoughtfulness and caring for others.”… Dr. Regina Peruggi, president of Kingsborough Community College, announced on Friday that seven KCC athletes were named All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association for various accomplishments: Robert Mortell, Faisal Muhammad, Blake Prince, Haris Redzematovic, MaksimVergavoz, Jamie Wilson and Beraiah- Yisrael.