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S-GI girls swim team is making a splash, so far

FIN-FLIPPERS — The S-GI girls swim team is making waves this season. From left, Katherine Zygaj, Alex Zifra, Victoria Piatek. Photo submitted by Karen Reynolds.

SPRINGVILLE — The Springville-Griffith Institute girls varsity swim team is now 2-1 in their division. Last week, the girls capitalized on beating Cleveland Hill and Lackawanna. The team lost to what coach Karen Reynolds called “the dominating force” of the East Aurora Blue Devils. The Blue Devils have won the division for more than 20 years, and continues to hold a winning team.

“When we take on East Aurora, we go in thinking about personal time improvements, not about winning,” Reynolds said, of their strategy.

This season, the S-GI swim team is led by senior captains Katherine Zygaj, Victoria Piatek and Alex Zifra. These girls have been with the team from seventh grade. In the beginning, the ladies were part of a 14-girl team; the team has since grown to 30.

“We have a young team that has a bright future ahead of them,” Reynolds added. “We have 13 middle school girls that are main contributors on the diving board and in the water. The remainder of the team are high school girls that bring a lot of experience, dedication and motivation to the sport.

I am very proud to be this team’s coach,” she continued. “They work hard, day in and day out. They persevere over their own obstacles. They accomplish their goals that they have set for themselves, this season. They are team players.”

Reynolds explained that, as a sport, swimming does not highlight one event or swimmer, but has a number of categories for recognition: personal best times, fastest sprinter, fastest stroke, fastest distance, top-place finishers and point achievers, for the team.

“Each girl on this team has something to be proud of and success in the water,” Reynolds said.

Michayla Piatek has been leading the team as a distance swimmer, and Zifra has balanced herself between mid-distance, long distance and sprinting. Libby Rehrauer takes the breastroke, as well as the 100-fly and Sophie Blum is what Reynolds called an “iron woman, dominating in the 200-IM event and 100-back.” Elle “Woods” Holland has brought some speed in the 50- and 100-free, as well as the 100-backstroke. Maura West is continually dropping down her 50- and 100-freestyle times, so far this season.

Kelsey Zabawa and Samantha Zifra are seventh graders who are representing S-GI on the diving board, this season.

“Kelsey comes to the squad with an extensive amount of flipping and twisting from gymnastics,” Reynolds said. “Her natural talent is being showcased on the board.”

Samantha Zifra spent time preparing for diving before she part of the team, according to her coach.

“As this team continues their season, I look forward to sharing more accomplishments by the other members of the squad,” Reynolds said, of the progress her girls are making. “They are all impressive to watch.”

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