Swim season has started off strong. Our swim team has been NEPSAC champions in Division 2 three times in a row, and this season’s crop of athletes is poised to keep the streak strong.
The Williston girls swimming team consists of 37 girls lead by senior captains Sally Alrutz, Sydney Joyce, and Sabrina Shao. The coach is David Koritkoski. Their first meet was Saturday, Dec. 1, against Northfield Mount Hermon School. The team won by 93-77, which is quite a margin, according to Sabrina.
The swim team was founded in 1947. According to coach Koritkoski, last year’s team was the best team Williston has ever had. The girls team broke all the school records with four relay teams. Each team consists of different swimmers every race.
“We have been fortunate enough to have really versatile [swimmers] the last two years,” Coach K stated. “I can ask certain people to swim different events in different years to match up best against the other schools that we are swimming against.”
The girls swimming team competes against Northfield Mount Hermon, Hopkins, Kingswood Oxford, Suffield, Westminster, Kent, Loomis, Ethel Walker, St George’s, Worcester, and Wilbraham & Monson. They also swim against Miss Porter’s and Dana Hall.
Coach Koritkoski said anyone can be successful on the team, even if they’re relatively new to the sport.
“Ultimately what we are trying to do is create a program where swimmers of all abilities are able to get a very good experience,” said Coach K. “We have swimmers on the team who are on their first ever swim team experience, and we have other who are recruited and heading off to Division 1 colleges.”
“Williston swimming means something, but individually the team tends to take on the character of the leadership of the captains of the senior class,” he added.
Sydney Joyce, a captain on the swim team who has committed to swim for the Division 1 University of Pittsburgh, gave her insight regarding the team’s rigorous work schedule.
“We do captain-led stretching before practice and then we get into a warm up swim that is [around] 10 minutes long,” Sydney explained. “Based on the lane you are in, you get a practice that is two hours long, and it kind of changes day by day. Sometimes we will do sprint stuff to work on race pace, or we will do a test set to see where we are at with times and everything, or we will do aerobic work.”
Sabrina Shao, another captain, was new to swimming when she started on the JV team. She stated she lacked in technique, so her coaches helped her with her strokes to make her swim faster.
“Basically technique is a big part of swimming and the coaches help you correct it so you become faster.”
Sally Alrutz, the third captain, has been swimming since middle school and has seen the program evolve throughout the years.
“The program has grown a lot since I came to Williston in 7th grade and I have grown with it,” Sally said. “Lots of new students with swimming backgrounds have come to Williston and their participation on the team has contributed to our success.”
Ava Larkin, a freshman, saw early success in the pool. She was ranked third in the country for the 1500 meter in 2016 in the 11 and 12 age category. Despite achieving individual accolades, Ava said the team as a unit is strong because of the bond the athletes share with one another.
“It helped me develop more of a love for this sport because of how well the people on the team support and just how everyone cares about everyone,” Ava said.
This story originally ran in The Willistonian. The photo is by Risley Sports Photography.