By Alicia Dziak

Last week, the Varsity girls’ swimming and diving team officially started their season. The team, coached by middle school PE teacher Karen Reynolds and assisted by high school art teacher Christy Komenda,  consists of eight seniors, six juniors, two sophomores, three freshman, and six middle schoolers. Five of those girls are new to the team, while the other 20 are veterans.

One obstacle the team faces early on is the ongoing construction of the SGI high school pool. “The pool construction really compromises our training, getting used to our pool/board/blocks/, and our usual pre-season dryland,”’ Reynolds said. “We don’t have access to some training equipment which affects us as well.”

As an alternative, Springville students commute to the neighboring Pioneer school district.

“They have been welcoming and very helpful with accommodating us,” Reynolds noted.

In the off-season, many girls swam at the SYI pool this summer or at a club program to prepare for the season.

As they look ahead to the upcoming season, Reynolds is optimistic. “We have a really strong core group of powerhouses that make our team have a dominating lineup,” she said. “Elle Holland, senior captain, will swim her last season at SGI this year. She has been to the state meet two consecutive years so this year should be no different because she is stronger and mentally prepared to attack this season.”

According to Reynolds, other standouts include Allie Lavanture (free, back) Anna Lawton (fly, free), and Lauren Ditchey (IM, and all sprint strokes), all seniors that have a major role in the team for their individual specialties and relays.

“Junior Hannah Bergner ended last season with some very competitive times in freestyle so we are excited to see what she can do for us this year,” Reynolds added. “Sophomore Carley Delaney is an extremely fast breast stroke time so this season her goals are set and with her training she has been doing, she is looking really strong. Emily Schlemmer is another name to watch out for because she is bound and determined to break 6:00 in her 500 free and there is not a doubt in my mind she will be successful. Emily is a fierce swimmer and even her sprint freestyle is something the team can utilize. Divers Samantha Zifra, Shannon O’Hara, and Alyssa Greaves are returning and they can definitely shine in our division this season.”

Reynolds said their toughest competition will be East Aurora, who they compete against at home on Oct. 4.

Regarding the team’s goals for the season, Reynolds said that, “Our goals are always to support one another and be a family unit. We train hard together and pick one another up when we are down.  It’s not a one person show…I love this team for their passion and dedication and most of all for all their hard work they give me every practice. A dream come true this season would be to beat East Aurora which has never been done!”