Hawks make history

The Woodland girls swim team celebrates after winning the NVL swimming championship, the first in school history, Nov. 3 at Kennedy High School in Waterbury. -WILL LETOURNEAU

WATERBURY — Woodland swimmer Dia Gawronski said she told her teammates they would make history last Friday. And she made sure of it.

Gawronski and her teammates put forth an epic effort and outperformed the competition as the squad earned Woodland’s first NVL swimming and diving title. The Hawks defeated previously unbeaten Seymour, and the rest of the league, last Friday at Kennedy High School.

“I cannot describe how great it feels to be the first Woodland swimmers to ever be NVL champions,” said Gawronski, who shattered numerous records and won two individual events and was a part of one relay victory. “I told the girls the night before finals that we can and will make history. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.”

The Hawks put 791 points on the board to outscore runner-up Seymour, which finished with 780 points.

Gawronski led the way.

One of Woodland’s senior captains, Gawronski broke nine records at the meet. Her win in the 100 butterfly in 57.21 seconds broke the Woodland school record, the Kennedy pool record, the NVL record and the NVL championship meet record.

In the 500 free, Gawronski won the event in 5:10.58, and set the Woodland school record, the Kennedy pool record and the NVL championship record.

Brooke Pope, also a team captain, won the 100 yard free in 56.33.

Perhaps it was the first event of the night that set the tone. Woodland took second in the 200 yard medley relay and set a school record with the team’s four captains — Gawronski, Pope, Kyla Drewry and Jordan Williams.

“Our four captains have just been amazing, in the pool and outside of it,” Woodland head coach Mike Magas said.

Younger swimmers also contributed. Sophomores Aly Rojcov and Camille Terrell joined Gawronski and Pope to take first in the 200 free relay in 1:45.01

In the 200 IM, sophomore Morgan Swift went on to earn a fourth-place finish after being seeded 12th prior to trials. In the 200 free, sophomore Casey Brooks placed fifth, while freshmen Emily Beyer (eighth) and Spenser Burkowsky (15th) posted personal best times.

“I think winning the title goes to show how far the program has come and the talent that Woodland has acquired over the past few years,” said Pope, who also placed third in the 50 free. “I’m excited to see what they will do in the years to come.”
Girl's Swim and Dive Wins NVL Title
Woodland also received a lift from its divers who had three place among the top nine. Maddie Hoxie took sixth overall, while Julianna Bartolucci was eighth and Adrianna Byczko was ninth.

“Our divers dove incredibly on [Nov. 2], which also gave us an advantage going into the meet on [Nov. 3],” said Drewry, who also took fourth in the 100 fly and sixth in the 100 back. “This win could not have been possible without each and every member of the team, and I am so proud of the way our girls preformed.”

Magas agreed.

“We were the only team to place four girls in every event at the finals,” Magas said.  “This championship took a total team effort.”

Make no mistake, the team understands and appreciates what it accomplished last Friday.

“It’s such an incredible feeling to be able to win the NVL championship, but the fact that it was Woodland swimming’s first title, is just legendary,” said Williams, who also took ninth in the 500 free. “I know Coach Magas has been waiting for this moment for 14 years, and making him proud after all he does for us, was an incredible feeling.”

The Hawks will now head to the Class S meet Nov. 14 at Southern Connecticut State University. The diving competition of the meet was set for Thursday.