GOING FOR THE GOLD — The Springville-Griffith Institute varsity swim team’s 200-medley relay team. from left: Donald Piatek, Trey Aebley, Mitchell Bunic and Ryan O’Hara. Photo by Katie Kostelny.
SPRINGVILLE — The Springville-Griffith Institute swimming and diving team has had an exceptional season this year, according to participants. The 200-yard medley relay school record was broken by the team of Don Piatek, backstroke; Trey Aebley, breaststroke; Mitchell Bunic, butterfly, and Ryan O’Hara, freestyle.
On Jan. 24, the swim team picked up its eighth win against Depew, with a score of 118-63. During this meet, the 200-free relay team of Piatek, Aebley, West and Bunic shattered an 18-year-old record. Springville has also placed second in the Erie County Interscholastic Conference and smashed several records, along the way.
When asked about what he hopes to achieve in the remainder of the season, O’Hara said, “I look forward to establishing a legacy, for both myself and my team. I want to be on all of our relays and score records and patches. I really love this team. We are pushing for the gold and everyone is doing their part.”
Aebley, one of the captains of the team, has been swimming on the varsity team since seventh grade. He described his reaction to breaking the longstanding record as “shock,” because he wasn’t expecting it until his senior year. “It’s a very hard sport. You have to be flexible, as well. You have to have the mental state of an athlete, because if you don’t have that, you won’t do as well. You need to have the drive to do well,” Aebley explained. He described his swim team as a family, “We’re all there for each other. We’ve had our backs for as long as I can remember.”
Bunic has also been swimming on the varsity squad since seventh grade, and last season, broke an individual record in the 100-yard breaststroke; a record that had been unbroken for more than 30 years.
“I was very happy, I felt very accomplished and I felt like it helped out our team,” he said, of how it felt to break that record. “A lot of those records are really old, and the record I had broken was like, 31 years old, so it was a huge milestone for Springville swimming,” Bunic said.
When asked about what his team means to him, he said, “It’s like a family. It means that I have 18 friends that I can count on and that have my back. It’s more than just a sport and trying to do what’s in the pool. I mean, it’s outside of the pool. If we need help outside of school, we’re there for each other.”
This year is coach Duane Boberg’s first season, although Bunic has known the team leader for much longer.
“He helped me through club swimming for all the years I’ve been doing that. He’s a lot more intertwined with the team. He’s knows how we think and he pushes a lot harder, because he knows what we can do,” he said.
Piatek has been swimming for six years. He explained that Boberg was his initial influence to start swimming. “He saw me swimming in my pool when we had house parties and stuff and he told me I should become a swimmer, so I did it,” he said. When asked about the record he said, “I was shocked, because it’s been up there for so long and we’ve had so many good swimmers come through before us.”
Piatek said his next goal is to break the 400-yard free record and that he hopes to continue swimming in college at either the State University of New York at Fredonia or ITT Technical Institute.