50 Years, 50 Titans: The English Family

Heather Scibetta

In 1988, Western Empire State Titans merged with the Town of Tonawanda Swim Club, that is when our club became known as the Titans. The Titans organization gained more than a team name that year, they gained the English Family. Let us introduce you to mom Jody and her three children Jackie, Katie and Erin.

JODY

Jody served as our board president for years, was and responsible for sanctioning our very first swim meet at the Town of Tonawanda Aquatic and Fitness Center, was editor of the bi-monthly newsletter, The Inside Lane, and so much more. Her careful collection of Titans history helped us document our timeline of the club’s history found in the lobby of the Aquatic and Fitness Center.

When did you start as a Titan? 

We have been with the club since 1988 when the Western Empire State Titans, where our kids swam--merged with the Town of Tonawanda Swim Club, becoming known as the Town of Tonawanda Titans Swim Club.

Best part about being a Titan:

The best part of being a swim parent was working as club president with other parents and coaches to make the Titans the best they could be. I also loved officiating and being on deck up close and personal with swimmers. Nothing like it. I encourage all swim parents to be as involved as possible.   

Best memory of Titans:

I was so proud when our 50 meter pool was built for hosting the World University Games water polo event in 1993. And nothing was better than hearing U.S.A., U.S.A. shouted from the stands while officiating the Games at ECC. I learned that world class swimmers swim faster than I can walk the deck. I was thrilled when a German swimmer tossed me his flowers after he left the medal stand. Not so thrilling was being overruled by the chief judge when I DQ’d a swimmer from Japan. The chief judge claimed he was out of my jurisdiction!

What would be your most dreaded event to swim:

As a former swimmer and coach myself, I hate to say it would be the fly. Luckily, my kids don’t take after me, for my daughter Jackie holds the record for the 100 fly at Kenmore East. 

Fun Fact about Jody: 

A swimming mother’s dream would be to see her daughter on the medal stand for the 200 fly at MAC championships. Well, guess what? This happened to me! BUT Katie hadn’t even made finals. It so happened that her teammate was too tired after her swim to accept yet another award, so she asked Katie to take her place. And wouldn’t you know it, I was out of film!

JACKIE

When did you start as a Titan? 

I started in 1988 - I was four years old. 

Best part about being a Titan: 

This team was always like a family. The atmosphere on deck and at practice was always friendly and welcoming. Coaches like Scott and Tim and Andrea were always leading by example, and always gave you just enough room to fail, but also were there to help mentor and guide you to be the best version of yourself. 

Best memory of Titans: 

As a swimmer: Titans Long-Course Meet at the AFC every year. Every memory I have of it includes sitting outside in the 1990s with families like the Weisses, Gellins, Quinlins, and Delaneys - eating ice cream sandwiches and laying outside - to only have someone abruptly run out and say “hey - your heat is up next!” Those were the best times. 

As a coach: Meetings at Scott’s house. There was nothing better than walking into his house after hours of coaching and cracking a beer and eating Pizza on his living room floor with all your friends (aka, other coaches). 

What would be your most dreaded event to swim:

400 IM. I hated it, but my mom always signed me up for it - I guess so I could be a well-rounded swimmer? Anyways, my mom was officiating one of my meets at E.C.C. and had to come and tell me that I had been disqualified three separate times in the event. I never had to swim it again. 

Fun Facts about Jackie: 
I was a member of Titans for exactly 25 years. 

I got to continue swimming for Scott and Tim when they came to coach the UB Swim Team.

 

KATIE

When did you start as a Titan? 

In 1988. I was eight. I came over from WEST with my brother.

Best part about being a Titan:

To borrow a phrase from Matt Gianiodis, Age Group City! I spent most weeknights and frigid outdoor summer mornings training in a pool with my Titan friends joking around, quoting Wayne’s World, talking about new videos on MTV, while we hung on lane-lines and crammed ourselves together on the gutter. There was always a great coach standing over us, joking around with us, putting in the work to help us perfect our technique and challenging us to always be a little better. I spent a lot of time with Gail Mundt, Matt G, Scott, Tim, and Andrea, Mr. Brewer and Dan Murphy. They had unique personalities and coaching styles and they all made a lasting impression on me.

Best memory of Titans:

I loved swim meets that would start on a Thursday night and went through to Sunday night finals. I lived to take off a Friday from school to compete, spend the day on deck with our team, come back for finals, browse the table that had the swimsuits and t-shirts for sale and cheer on our relays at finals. Clocking in best times was a bonus that always made the weekend.

What would be your most dreaded event to swim:

I was pretty good at 200 butterfly and 400 I.M., and since they were harder, fewer girls signed up, so I figured I had a better chance to come back for finals. I remember standing behind the blocks waiting for my heat thinking whyyyy did I do this?

Fun Fact: 

I always swam much faster at a championship meet than I did during the regular season. Consequently, any time a new coach started with our group; I always got the Most Improved award.

I was a breaststroker and shattered my big toe during my first winter break but managed to train for the next couple of months without kicking. I got my lifetime best times in both breaststroke events at my conference championship, so that was pretty cool.

ERIN

When did you start as a Titan?

I joined Titans in 1988 when my team, Western Empire State Titans, merged with the Town of Tonawanda Swim Club.

Best part about being a Titan:

During high school, I was not a full-time swimmer.  I lettered in 4 varsity sports, so swimming full time was out of the question. I was co-captain of the swim team at Kenmore East, so I appreciated the fact that Coach Matt Gianodis allowed swimmers like me to practice with the Titans after the tennis season was over and during the summer. 

Best memory of Titans:

One of my best memories was practicing with Mr. Brewer, who coached Titans at the Sweet Home Middle pool. He had so many creative names for specific swimming drills that he had us do. One clever one that comes to mind for learning butterfly was called the “man from Atlantis.” 

What would be your most dreaded event to swim:

Being a sprinter, I definitely would not sign up for the 500 free. I do remember swimming the 800 meter free one summer, though, at the Cheektowaga long course meet. But, no thanks, not for me. 

Fun Fact:

I dreaded when my mom would drive us to practice and we had to listen to Oldies 104 on the radio.

 

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