Weekly Feature

2018-09-13 / Sports

Lady Indians’ swimming team ends longtime drought at East’s expense

For the first time in nearly six years, West Seneca West’s girls swimming team emerged from a meet victoriously when it took down crosstown rival West Seneca East Friday, 56-46, in co-coaches Jeff and Alison Kunkel’s debut with the squad.

East coach Dave Papke alerted the Kunkels after the meet that, to his knowledge, it was only the third time in 12 or 13 years that the Lady Indians had taken out the Lady Trojans.

“It was a really fun and energy-filled meet, with lots of personal bests and great swims by both teams,” the Kunkels said in a joint written statement. “We really couldn’t have asked for a better first meet in terms of performance from our girls, but also in terms of our competition. Coach Papke is a great coach, and hisHaley Renzoni completes the breaststroke portion of the 200 medley relay during West Seneca West’s 56-46 victory over crosstown rival West Seneca East Friday. Photo by Jake French Haley Renzoni completes the breaststroke portion of the 200 medley relay during West Seneca West’s 56-46 victory over crosstown rival West Seneca East Friday. Photo by Jake French girls performed very well. We really did have a lot of fun competing against each other.

“As new coaches to this team we weren’t sure what to expect from the girls during the meet,” the Kunkels continued. “We knew they have been practicing extremely hard, learning new techniques and pushing themselves in practice to improve, but one can never be too sure how it will all come together at a meet. They definitely surprised us and did amazingly well, but we think they also surprised themselves, and their families, which is even better.”

West had four swimmers and one diver qualify for postseason competition during the meet based on their efforts: Claire D’Amore, Erin Machowski, Kelsey Sainsbury, Meghan Sainsbury, Haley Renzoni and Sarah Ziemba. D’Amore placed second in both the 200 IM (2 minutes, 40.43 seconds) and the 100 butterfly (1:13.27), and was also part of the winning 200 medley relay – with Ziemba, Renzoni and Machowski – that finished their race in 2:05.72. Machowski won the 100 backstroke (1:16.13) and took fourth in the 100 butterfly (1:27.10), while Sainsbury took second in diving (206.10 points).

Meghan Sainsbury won the 200 freestyle (2:19.76) and 500 free (6:19.97), while Renzoni won the 100 breaststroke (1:15.07) and took second in the 50 free (28.79). Ziemba won the 50 free (28.53) and 100 free (1:03.48).

West’s 200 free relay of Ziemba, D’Amore, Alyssa Benesh and Grace Quinlivan (1:58.56) and 400 free relay of Machowski, Quinlivan, Benesh and Renzoni (4:33.35) each took second place as well.

Many other girls close to achieving the necessary qualifying times to make ECICs, the Class A meet, or the sectional championships.

“The girls’ hard work and dedication were reflected in their performance on Friday as a team, and as individual swimmers and divers,” the Kunkels stated. “It was nice to see, and to get validation that what we have been doing with them is working and is starting to pay off. We have gotten a lot of positive feedback from not only the girls, but from their parents as well; it was nice for the girls’ families to see it all come together, to get to see them compete well, and watch them get their first meet win in a long time. We are very grateful that we are getting to be a part of this.

“One of the girls said in practice on Saturday, ‘I didn’t know we were that talented; I knew we had talent, but I didn’t think we had that much,’” the Kunkels continued. “We are very much looking forward to showing them just how talented they really are, and to see how they perform in the remainder of the season.”

West returned to action Tuesday against Williamsville North, but information about that meet was not available at press time. The Lady Indians close out their week by traveling to Orchard Park on Friday.

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