On Jan. 29, 18-year-old Cinnaminson High School alum Evan Forbes received fantastic news—news that might not have seemed possible as recently as a few months ago.
Forbes was going to represent Seton Hall in the Big East Swimming Championships, an illustrious feat considering that Seton Hall swims in the most competitive college division in the country, Division I.
It’s even more impressive when you consider Forbes was a long shot to even make the team before the season started.
Forbes was a mainstay on the Cinnaminson High School swim team from 2007 until his senior year in 2010, swimming mainly in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke. Forbes opened eyes with his leadership both in and out of the pool. He was elected as team captain for his junior and senior years, and was chosen as the team’s Most Valuable Player during his junior year.
John Guscott, the assistant coach for the swim team at Cinnaminson High School, liked the way Forbes led by example during his time there.
“He showed a good work ethic,” Guscott said. “He worked hard. It really showed off on the other swimmers.”
Forbes explained that choosing Seton Hall had more to do with his academic ambitions than with his swimming career.
“I went to Seton Hall for the prestigious nursing program, since I eventually want to become a nurse practitioner,” Forbes said.
Forbes swimming in college almost never came to fruition, until a fellow Cinnaminson High School swimmer and Seton Hall classmate convinced him otherwise.
“At first I was hesitant about swimming in college, because I was going into a hard major,” Forbes said. “My past teammate, Kaitlyn Hafner, convinced me that Seton Hall would be the best place to study nursing and swim on the swim team.”
Kevin Mullaney, the assistant coach for the Seton Hall Pirates swim team, explained that although there was not a definite spot on the roster for Forbes when they had initially met, his intense work ethic secured him one.
“In the first week of practice, it was clear Evan was a special swimmer,” Mullaney said. “He worked very hard and showed both leadership and confidence when he opted to go first in the lane. All of Evan’s teammates began to respect him because of his work ethic and his refusal to give up on swimming for Seton Hall.”
A pivotal moment of the season came when the team was attending a beach practice in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. According to Mullaney, the bus that was taking the team had limited seats, and Forbes was one of the swimmers who did not have a spot on the bus.
Kevin Webster, captain of the Seton Hall swim team, contacted head coach Ron Farina to tell him that if the bus couldn’t fit Forbes on it, then his car could.
“Webster called the head coach (Farina) and said that he would drive Evan personally to Ocean Grove,” Mullaney said. “He did not want to leave Evan behind and considered him a major part of the team. Kevin’s support of Evan shows just how much respect Evan garnered from his teammates.”
The swimming season is officially over, and after his first year as a Seton Hall Pirate, Forbes knows he made the right decision.
“I love it here,” Forbes said. “I couldn’t imagine going to school anywhere else. The team is awesome, and we’re like a family because we’re all really close and help out each other. My academics are going well, and I love being able to balance school and sports. “
Now, Forbes has started to balance something else into his busy schedule: diving.
“Evan began training as a diver so he could help out the team,” Mullaney said. “He showed a great deal of dedication as some days he was practicing up to six hours for the team.”
Mullaney added that Forbes could see some serious time on the diving board next season, noting that they only have one full-time diver on the team, and they can use as many as three.
Looking ahead to next season, both Forbes and Mullaney have great expectations.
“I am currently starting spring training and getting ready for an even better season next year,” Forbes said.
“If he continues to have the same attitude and work ethic, he may be a dark horse for captain his senior year,” Mullaney said. “The head coach (Farina) bases a lot of his leadership decisions on work ethic and commitment, and Evan certainly has both very early in his college career.”
Forbes went from a long shot to make the team to a vital part of it in just months. While he certainly let his swimming do the talking, he also displayed the same characteristics that he did at Cinnaminson High School which made him such a valuable teammate.
“He has earned the respect of his teammates because of the commitment he has shown to his team,” Mullaney said. “His commitment is truly second to none.”