BC girls swim way to top of Sec­tion 2

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - By Stan Hudy [email protected]­gian.com @StanHudy on Twit­ter

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. – The Beth­le­hem girls swim­ming and div­ing team are once again back on top of Di­vi­sion I swim­ming in Sec­tion II af­ter more than a decade cour­tesy of a dom­i­nat­ing per­for­mance Satur­day dur­ing the Di­vi­sion I (large school) cham­pi­onships at Shenen­de­howa High School.

The Ea­gles, paced by the meet’s Most Out­stand­ing Swim­mer award win­ner, se­nior Syd­ney Sor­bello, swept all three re­lay events on their way to a 55-point win over sec­ond-place Shenen­de­howa with Niskayuna fur­ther back, an­other 69 points in third-place.

For the past 11 years the girls swim­ming ti­tle be­longed to ei­ther the Plains­men or the Sil­ver War­riors, on Satur­day it got to fly home with the Ea­gles.

“They knew they had to swim with their heart and they did, ev­ery sin­gle one of them,” fourthyear coach Ke­ri­anne San­i­cola said. “The ones that were sit­ting on the out­side seeds knew they had to step up and ev­ery one of them did.

“The ones that were seeded high had to hold those spots and ev­ery one of them did and it just kind of ended up be­ing that per­fect story.”

A key to a per­fect story is the abil­ity to have it jump off of page one to keep the reader in­ter­ested, Beth­le­hem’s pro­tag­o­nist again was Sor­bello who swam the open­ing leg of the 400-in­di­vid­ual med­ley re­lay to set the tone.

“One of the best things about Syd­ney Sor­bello be­ing a back­stro­ker is she does start the meet for us,” San­i­cola said. “How she ap­proaches swim­ming and how she had fun with it is very con­ta­gious. That med­ley re­lay set us off with ‘Oh, we can do this.’” She did. San­i­cola was part of the Ea­gles open­ing re­lay win­ning squad, cap­tured the 200-yard in­di­vid­ual med­ley, and swam the open­ing leg of the 200-freestyle re­lay along with claim­ing the 100-back­stroke ti­tle Satur­day.

“I think ev­ery­body just stepped up and they knew what they had to do and we all just put our best foot for­ward and I couldn’t be more proud of a group of girls,” Syd­ney Sor­bello said. “Watch­ing your team­mates do well is so mo­ti­vat­ing for your­self and it was kind of re­as­sur­ing for your­self, get­ting in the wa­ter and you know you can do that too.”

While Sor­bello was con­tin­u­ously ahead of the rest of her com­peti­tors in the ‘A’ fi­nals, it was the depth and the abil­ity to add points that kept Beth­le­hem in front for the ma­jor­ity of the meet.

“A lot of our kids that were seeded 14th, 15th, 16th and even those seeded out­side (scor­ing po­si­tions) how they needed to ap­proach stuff,” San­i­cola said. “A lot of ‘re­lax, have fun, this is kind of what we do,’ and they showed up.

“We weren’t seeded with most of our 500-(yard) swim­mers and they all showed up and then showed up again tonight.”

The Ea­gles saw eighth­grader Kather­ine Fer­reira fin­ish sec­ond in the gru­el­ing 500-yard freestyle, earn­ing 17 points for Beth­le­hem while se­nior Re­becca Bald­win, sopho­more Caitlin Va­le­rian and se­nior Au­drey Nadeau each added points in the ‘B’ fi­nal, earn­ing a spot in the scor­ing fi­nale from their work Fri­day dur­ing the pre­lim­i­nary swims.

“It’s been in­cred­i­ble, we’ve worked hard to­gether, we’ve suf­fered to­gether and just to have this is such an amaz­ing award,” Sor­bello said.

All of the Sec­tion II swim­mers who met the New York State meet qual­i­fy­ing times through­out the year and at the week­end event will next travel to Ithaca Col­lege Nov. 22 and 23 for the NYSPHSAA swim­ming and div­ing meet.

STAN HUDY/THE SARATO­GIAN

Shenen­de­howa eighth-grader Sa­man­tha Sands turns her head out of the wa­ter dur­ing the 500-yard ‘A’ freestyle fi­nal at the Sec­tion II Di­vi­sion I cham­pi­onships Satur­day af­ter­noon.

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