Team-first Gawronski to swim for Air Force

Woodland swimmer Dia Gawronski signs her National Letter of Intent to swim for the Air Force Academy on Nov. 15 at the school in Beacon Falls. Pictured, front row from left, Woodland swim coach Mike Magas, Gawronski, Cheshire Sea Dog coach Sean Farrell; back row from left, Woodland assistant swim coach Matt Demirs, Woodland assistant to the athletic director Jill Spiwak, Region 16 Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin, Woodland Principal Kurt Ogren and Woodland Athletic Director Brian Fell. –CONTRIBUTED

BEACON FALLS — Being part of a team means a lot to Woodland swimmer Dia Gawronski.

As the senior piled up accomplishments in the pool this season — which included leading the Hawks to a Naugatuck Valley League championship while setting several records in the championship meet, as well as a pair of wins and personal bests in the Class S championship on last week — Garwonski was always focused on team accomplishments.

Woodland coach Mike Magas remembers Gawronski wasn’t worrying about herself at the NVL championship.

“We were conversing during the meet and she kept talking about her confidence in the entire team,” Magas said. “It was all about the team. Everything was ‘we’ and ‘us.’”

Gawronski’s dedication toward servicing a larger group will continue into her collegiate career. On Nov. 15, she signed a National Letter of Intent to swim for the Air Force Academy.

Gawronski was focused on service academies while she looked at colleges, looking at Air Force, West Point and Navy. While she originally wanted to stay on the East Coast, Air Force invited her on a recruiting trip to Colorado Springs, Colo.

Once she saw the camaraderie of the cadets and swimmers, her mind was made up.

“The girls on the team said this ‘is not for everyone,’” Gawronski said. “But I am confident in my decision and excited to swim in Division I. I wanted to continue swimming in college, but service is my top priority.”

Former Woodland swimmer and current Air Force freshman cadet Colin Kennelly helped steer Gawronski toward Air Force, with an emphasis on commitment.

After four years of education, cadets are required to serve for five years. Gawronski would consider a career in the Air Force beyond that commitment.

“I’m the first person in my immediate family to consider a service academy,” Gawronski said. “I like physics, I like to challenge myself. I definitely think I will enjoy a career in the Air Force.”

Even with her accomplishments, Gawronski’s biggest impact was felt as a teammate.

“She was always willing to help the younger swimmers,” Magas said. “(Gawronski) and the other captains (Kyla Drewry, Brooke Pope, Jordan Williams) led by example with their words and actions.”

Gawronski ended her high school career at the State Open at Yale this past Saturday.

“I want to thank my coaches, family, teammates, competition, everyone who contributed to my success as a swimmer and as a person,” Gawronski said.