NISKAYUNA — First-year Niskayuna swimming coach Scott Seligman does a lot of things like his mom, Pat Seligman, used to do in her hall of fame career with both the Shenendehowa boys and girls’ teams.
“Leading into today, I made up a dozen lineups until I thought I had one that would be good for the meet,” Scott Seligman said. “It’s one of those traits I got from my mother. I wanted senior night to go well. I didn’t want to be the reason it didn’t. Once we got through the first two events, I was confident — ‘We got this.’ ”
Niskayuna opened with three wins and closed by taking five of the last six races in a 108-78 Suburban Council win over longtime rival Shenendehowa Wednesday in the Silver Warriors’ pool.
Junior Yunfan ‘Lisa’ Dong, a newcomer to the Niskayuna team, was a four-event winner for the reigning Section II large-school champions, while senior Elaine Lipkin won three events.
“Coach said he wanted to see us go out and have fun, and remember, ‘You’re capable of doing more than you think,’ ” Lipkin said.
Niskayuna wasn’t sure what to think of a Shenendehowa team that had won every meet since a two-point loss to Guilderland/Voorheesville to begin the season. The Plainsmen’s run included a triumph at their invitational Saturday, when they used their depth to outpoint New York power Pittsford 363-296.5 for the top spot.
“Shenendehowa kept getting faster, and we were a little nervous because of that,” Lipkin said. “At their invy they had a lot of state cuts and great times.”
In the always-anticipated league matchup, Niskayuna’s lead swimmers had the better times for the most part in its third straight dual meet win against Shenendehowa.
“That’s the most energy I’ve seen in this pool in a long time,” Lipkin said after Niskayuna went to 8-0 in dual meets and dropped Shenendehowa to 6-2. “Even the younger girls were into it, and they helped us achieve what we wanted to achieve.”
Shenendehowa showed some fight after Niskayuna’s quick start when Natasha Sheffer won the 50-yard freestyle, Tess Weiskopf won the diving competition and Jessica Salmon followed with a first in the 100 butterfly.
“That was Shenendehowa pride,” Plainsmen coach Sandy Stanislowsky said. “It had to be at that point. Their bodies had been through a lot.”
Stanislowsky acknowledged that the strong Shenendehowa Invitational performance had taken a serious toll on her athletes. Scott Seligman, a 2002 Shenendehowa graduate who swam for the Plainsmen during his mom’s heyday, figured it did, too.
“Shenendehowa swam an amazing meet the other day,” he said. “We had a feeling it would take something out of them, but it’s Shenendehowa and Niskayuna, so you never know.”
Niskayuna took nothing for granted in the meet which matched the only teams to win Section II Division 1 championships from 2008 through last year.
“We came in wanting to be our best,” Dong said. “We wanted to swim hard and leave everything in the pool, and we did that. We believed and it ended up being a good meet for us.”
Dong, Rebekah Eckman, Kamryn Paige and Isabel Bushway combined for a meet-starting win in the 200 medley relay before Lipkin and Lillian Bushway went 1-2 in the 200 free. Dong and Isabel Bushway then went 1-2 in the 200 individual medley.
“We weren’t expecting to get three in a row to start it,” said Lipkin, who also swam on victorious 200 free relay and 400 free relay units. “It gets the meet off right. No one knew how the meet was going to go.”