Season Success Amidst a Pandemic

Debbie Latchford

Although we started the year surrounded by many unforeseen obstacles and constant change due to the pandemic, Swimkins had a great deal of success in the 2021 season.  All of our swimmers took part in several local, regional, and zone competitions (some in-person and some virtual), which gave them an opportunity for growth and experience. 

The Junior athletes’ four-man routine of Olivia Biesinger, Olivia Canna, Carly Ermer, and Angelie Roger competed virtually at the East Zone competition in March, placing 4th with their technical team and 5th place with the free team.  The same group competed at Regionals in May, earning first place in both of those routines.  Two of our Junior athletes also attended the Junior Olympic National Championships in Colorado Springs.  Carly and Angelie swam their solos, placing 9th and 12th respectively. They swam their tech duet earning 8th place, and they advanced to finals where they placed 8th in their free duet. 

Our 13-15 Age Group Team: Maddie Diguadio, Samantha Grady, Lauren Hart, Caite McNamara, Kutty Morris, Gabby Pilat, Jamie Starck, and Sabrina Stark, attended Nationals in Mesa, Arizona in April, where they placed 10th in the nation!  The same team won 1st place at the Regional meet in Tonawanda, which qualified them for the Junior Olympic Championships at the end of June. After their prelim swim, they advanced to finals, placing 13th in their age group. The duet consisting of Caite and Jamie placed 15th at JOs, while Gabby and Sabrina’s duet placed 33rd at JOs. These four ladies also competed in the duet events at Nationals in Arizona in April and at Regionals in Tonawanda last May. In addition, Jamie placed 15th at JOs with her solo. 

Another 13-15 highlight to the year occurred when Jamie Starck went to national team trials and placed 21st in the country.  She qualified to attend the training camp in Las Vegas this summer and had an opportunity to hone her skills while gaining feedback from elite national and international coaches.

Maddie Diguadio, our lone 12&U Age Group athlete, competed in the solo event at several competitions this year.  Earlier in the season, she wowed her coaches when she placed 7th at Nationals in Arizona. She placed 1st at the Regional meet in Tonawanda in May and earned the bronze medal at the East Zone Championship in June. Later that month, Maddie placed 10th in the US in her age group division at the Junior Olympic Championships.

Our Intermediate Teams had great success as well.  The 13-15 Team of Zahara Aljenahi, Miriam Monahan, Colleen Murphy, Nora Murphy, Bella Panepinto, Danica Pecoraro, and Ellis Winnie won 3rd place in the East Zone Championships in June. The team placed first at the Regional meet in Tonawanda earlier in May. Nora and Emme Grace Targia showed off their solo skills at several competitions. Nora earned the bronze medal in the 10 & under division at the East Zone Championship in June, and Emme placed 4th in the 11/12 division. The 12 & Under Team of Claire Bozman, Jane Shin, Emme, Lucy Wheeler, and Morgan Zakrzewski also swam well in the EZ Championship, placing 4th overall.

Our Novice swimmers, Carolyn Collado and Gwyn Nave showed some tremendous growth this season. Both girls learned how to swim their strokes more efficiently and did a great job of picking up some of the basic synchro skills. Gwyn even swam a solo at the Regional meet in Tonawanda and the annual watershow! We also welcomed our newest Swimkin, Zimo Wen, who joined Carolyn and Gwyn to swim a trio at the watershow, as well.

“We are so proud of these young ladies.  They had to follow strict Covid protocols for a large portion of the season, which made it extremely difficult to work on synchro skills and choreograph our routines. However, teamwork and determination prevailed as they overcame lots of hurdles, and they made the Swimkins coaches proud at every competition this year,” said head coach Debbie Latchford.