Seniors lead swim team to dominating performances

Special to The Advocate
Aurora swimming and diving seniors Collin Sapochetti, Mackenzie Roy, Ella Case, Ava Lovell, Sam Lutkus, Katie Cannata, Jonah Markowitz, Brooklyn Duguay, Mikayla Jones and Victoria Blechschmid.

What a difference a year makes. Just over a year ago, the Aurora boys and girls swimming team were both crowned as Suburban League champions. Both titles were the first in school history.

Eager to defend their titles, the “Green Wave” will have to wait until next year to defend that title due to the cancellation of the 2021 Suburban League Swimming and Diving championship. The teams should find some solace in the fact that sectionals are still scheduled for February 12-13. This Greenmen team has quietly been racking up victories, personal records and school records in their quest to hang more swimming banners in the gym at 109 West Pioneer Trail.

In their final meet of the season, the Greenmen did not disappoint. Aurora, Barberton and Tallmadge met in a double dual meet showdown on Feb 5. The Greenmen turned in a dominating performance by recording 18 first-place finishes out of the 23 events. This momentum is largely in part to the great coaching by Coach Gellott and Coach Smith. Much credit goes to these two coaches as they have kept their team strong, healthy and focused throughout the season.

Another reason to feel confident going into sectionals is the stellar Aurora senior leadership of Collin Sapochetti, Mackenzie Roy, Ella Case, Ava Lovell, Sam Lutkus, Katie Cannata, Jonah Markowitz, Brooklyn Duguay, Mikayla Jones, and Victoria Blechschmid have been a huge factor in the success of the team.

The regular season was capped off with the following Greenmen recording PR’s this past week in the meet:

Senior Katie Cannata recorded double PRs in the 100-yard freestyle (1 minute, 9 seconds) and 50 free (31.01).

Senior Sam Lutkus also improved in her time in the 200 IM with a PR time of 2:48.

Senior Victoria Blechschmid recorded a PR in diving with a 279.90 which placed her in first.

Junior Connor Zamary continued his assault on the record books by recording a school record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 55.19.

Junior Nate New improved his PR in the 100 fly (1:02) while sophomore Julia Sapochetti recorded her PR in the 100 fly (1:13). Other sophomores recording PRs during the meet were Kyleigh Roche in the 200 free (2:11) and Alayna Brooker, also in the 200 free (2:12). Brooker also recorded a PR in the breaststroke (1:09) along with sophomore Maggie McVicker (1:23).

A talented group of freshmen all had PRs in this meet: Amanda Chmielewski, 100 back (1:15); Jonah Shanholtzer, 200 free (2:14); Xander Roy, 200 free (2:24); Ben Mulvaney, 100 fly (1:10), and Zab Garcia 50 free (27.72).

Boys swimmers who placed first in the dual meet were Nate New, 220 free (2:02.78), Jacob Good, 200 IM (2:19.48), Connor Zamary, 50 free (23.07) and 100 back (55.19); Nate Ruehr, 100 free (53.57); Max Bailey, 500 free (5:36.61), and Jon Hybil, 100 breast (1:08.87).

Two of the boys relay teams placed first: the 200 medley relay with 1:48.04 (Good, Hybil, Zamary, Ruehr) and 200 free relay with 1:37.49 (Zamary, Good, Ruehr, Hybil). Two other relays came in second: the 200 free relay with 1:57.98 (Nessel, Garcia, Roy, Dani) and the 400 free relay with 4:05.62 (Shanholtzer, Aardema, Ploskunak, Bailey).

For the girls team, first-place finishers were Kyleigh Roche, 200 free (2:11.01) and 100 back (1:11.58); Mackenzie Roy, 50 free (28.47); Annabelle Zamary, 100 free (1:02.39), and Alayna Booker, 100 breast (1:09.89).

Three of the girls relay teams placed first: the 200 medley relay with 2:05.71 (Bender, Brooker, Zamary, Roy), the 200 free relay with 1:53.75 (Roy, McVicker, Devincentis, Brooker) and 400 free relay with 4:13.06 (Zamary, Sapochetti, Roche, Bender). The girls 200 free relay of Case, Roche, Lutkus, and Schmitt came in second with 2:03.41

Coaches Gellot and Smith have these Greenmen hitting on all cylinders but more importantly, they seem to be peaking at the right time of the year. From strong senior leadership to other experienced swimmers to a group of rising freshman talent, the Greenmen showed that they are not letting the obstacles of this past year slow them down.

Temperature checks, masks and mask storage to try and keep them dry, being able to practice with only half the team in the pool at a time, and standing alone behind the starting blocks for a race are just some of the things the swimmers have endured this season.

“Swimming and diving this season has not been the same for every team, and we had to adjust to what we hoped to achieve in one season,” says coach Sarah Gellot. “Even after the boys team suffered their only conference loss of the season to Highland, they adjusted their mindset and were determined to crush new personal goals."

Earlier in the season Connor Zamary crushed the 200IM record last set in 2018 by more than two seconds, swimming a 2:04.60 at the meet against Kent Roosevelt.

Diving on her birthday, senior Victoria Blechschmid dove another personal record in a meet against Brush and Mentor.

“While the season has had its fair share of challenges and changes, this 20-21 team has taken advantage of every opportunity to feel like the universe is ‘normal’, in the water," says coach Gellot. "Aurora should be proud of the continuous accomplishments."