BEACON FALLS — The Woodland girls swim team thinks it could be in for a special season, and with the Hawks led by the top returning swimmer in the Naugatuck Valley League, it’s not hard to see why.
Senior Dia Gawronski was the most outstanding swimmer at the NVL championship meet last season. Her name is already plastered all over the Hawks’ record board, and she’s looking forward to lowering the numbers already up there.
“I’m a big competitor for myself,” Gawronski said. “I try to get best times. I know that I’m on the (record) board a lot, but I’ve been swimming for long time, and I’m just trying to get best times.”
Woodland coach Mike Magas said that even as talented as Gawronski is, her work ethic is what makes her the perfect leader for the team.
“The biggest thing is the example she sets for the girls, not only out of the pool but in the water,” Magas said. “She leads by getting in the pool and swimming hard in practice every day. It’s making them push themselves a little harder to try to reach her level.”
Gawronski, who can swim any discipline at an All-NVL level, is one of four senior captains. She’s joined by Brooke Pope, a freestyle sprinter, Jordan Williams, who competes in the backstroke and freestyle sprints, and Kyla Drewry, who specializes in the butterfly and backstroke.
The foursome also plans on swimming one or two relays together per meet.
“I’m looking forward to the relays that the four of us are going to have,” Gawronski said. “I hope those are going to break some records.”
Pope said that the lessons she’s learned through her first three seasons at Woodland will help entering her final year.
“Throughout the last couple of years, I think we’ve just learned that even if you do a bad swim, you’ll get better,” Pope said. “You just have to work hard and put in the effort. You can always learn from the swimmers next to you and the swimmers on your team.”
Williams added that the family-like atmosphere among the team ends up paying dividends in the pool.
“It’s how we push each other and always encourage each other to do our best,” Williams said. “We have such a positive attitude all the time. We’re really like a family and Mr. Magas is like the dad. He teaches us to not only be good swimmers but to also be good people.”
Four sophomores should join those four seniors as major point-getters for the Hawks. They include Casey Brooks, Morgan Swift, Allie Rojcov and Camille Terrell. Magas also pointed to the fact that Woodland boasts six divers, including top returning seniors Maddie Hoxie and Julianna Bartolucci.
“They’re going to be scoring a lot of points for us,” Magas said.
Between championship potential among swimmers to depth all around the pool, Drewry likes the Hawks’ makeup.
“I think we have a really good team put together,” Drewry said. “There’s something special about us, the way we work together. We’re looking forward to having a really good season.”
Magas sees that potential, too.
“My biggest goal is to always have them improve every day,” Magas said. “We’d like to compete for the league championship, but the biggest goal is to swim faster and better, and to grow as people.”
Woodland will open the season Friday in Milford against Jonathan Law. The Hawks’ home opener is Tuesday vs. Windsor Locks-Ellington-East Granby.