Sectional Swimming: Silver Warriors need help from role players

Niskayuna swimmers scored big points and little ones leading up to the final race at last year’s Sec

Niskayuna swimmers scored big points and little ones leading up to the final race at last year’s Section II Division I championship meet before a record-setting victory sent the Silver Warriors to the top team spot for the first time since 2004.

That area-record swim of 3:33.15 by Kina Zhou, Mikayla Frodey, Emma Terwilliger and Emily Whitaker in the 400-yard freestyle relay gave the Silver Warriors 40 points for a 399 total, while Shenendehowa took second in the race, for 34 points, and closed with 398.

“Good meets happen when you have a combination of both. You need to be a full squad. You need both your stars and role players to come through,” said second-year Niskayuna coach Steven Hall. “The middle kids, the second and third-year girls, they created that opportunity.”

Hall said Niskayuna will again need significant contributions from its entire cast in order to defend the title that Shenendehowa claimed four times in six years leading up the dramatic 2010 meet.

Sectionals begin today with diving at Ballston Spa, and the swimming portion is set for Friday and Saturday at Shenendehowa.

“It’s not going to come down to fourth, fifth and sixth,” said Hall. “It’s going to be eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th. They’ll be the deal breaker.”

Niskayuna will be looking to continue what has already been a superb campaign. The Warriors went 8-0 in the Suburban Council, including a 100-86 triumph over Shenendehowa, and also took the 17-team Shenendehowa Invitational.

“We’re going to try to swim our best. We’ve done more work than we’ve ever done, and we’ve worked on all of the small details,” said Hall, who swam at Johnstown High School and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “If that means we win, that will be great, but if it goes another way and we do the best we possibly can, I think we’ll still be satisfied.”

Zhou is seeded No. 1 and the defending champ in the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley, and will swim on two of Niskayuna’s relays, with each of them also seeded No. 1. As a sophomore she swam the 100 and 200 free at the state meet and placed first and second, respectively, while setting a Section II record in the latter (1:50.24).

Niskayuna’s other returning individual champ is Terwilliger, who won the 200 free last year as a junior, and also joined with Zhou, Grace Matuszyk and the graduated Whitaker on a triumphant 200 free relay. Niskayuna’s big group of returning point getters also includes Leanne Archer, Erin and Morgan Lenney, Rachel Wurth, Catherine Grygiel, Catherine Kaucic and Maggie Jordan. Jordan is the No. 1 50 free seed.

“Everybody on our team has the potential to score,” said Hall. “That’s a nice thing to have.”

Shenendehowa has a double No. 1 seed in Olivia Samson in the 200 free and 500 free, and is the reigning champ in the latter event. Jenna Bickel of Guilderland/Voorheesville is No. 1 in the 100 back. The senior set a Section II record (56.24) at the 2010 sectionals and went on to claim the state title.

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake is the five-time defending Division II team champion and has athletes seeded No. 1 in nine events.

Categories: High School Sports

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