Ten SSHS Swimmers and Divers Heading to State Tournament
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Springs High School Girls Varsity Swim and Dive team is once again sending a large squad to the State tournament, to be held this weekend at Ithaca College. A total of 10 (eight swimmers and two divers) will represent the Blue Streaks in relay, individual and diving competitions.
The 10 who will compete this weekend are:
Felicity Ryan (9th Grade)
Samantha Badar (10)
Autumn Boxley (11)
Victoria Breslin (11)
Alison Canjura (12)
Emily Danielson (12)
Morgan Hoffman-Smith (11)
Noelle Kolakowski (12)
Taylor Patnode (10)
Sophia Tannatta (12)
The diving finals take place on Friday, November 19 and the swimming finals on Saturday, November 20.
“This is a great group, and the whole team has had a fantastic season,” said their enthusiastic Coach, Joshua Muldner. “We finished out the regular season 8-2 and took third overall in the Sectionals, winning three events. Last year, we set a team record by sending 10 girls to the State Tournament, which was the largest squad of any team, and we are thrilled to tie that record this year.”
Speaking of records, “…this year’s team set several,” Coach Muldner said. “For instance, sophomore Taylor Patnode set a school record in the 50 freestyle at 24.34, and Felicity Ryan set a freshman record for 11 dives at 508.75. We’re real proud to say she dethroned the reigning champion in the Sectionals, a senior from Shen, by 25 points.”
Coach Muldner continued, “What I like about this group, all 30 on our team really, is how they interact – they’re best friends and hang out with each other.” But make no mistake - when it comes to their sport - this team is all business. And it starts early in the year, and early in the morning.
“People need to appreciate what a commitment all these kids make. They start in August, and for three weeks before school begins, they are practicing from 5:45-7:45 a.m. That’s usually before their classmates even think about getting up,” Coach Muldner said with a smile. “And then, they are lifting weights in the afternoon!”
The process reverses itself once school starts – lifting in the morning (6-7 a.m.) and in the water after school five days a week, plus Saturday afternoons. “It takes a special individual to make that commitment. Some of these girls have done this for years,” he said. “I am so very proud to call myself their coach.”
This is a team with obvious athletic prowess, but part of their coach’s pride stems from the fact that it’s also a team with a heart. “Every year, we designate two charities as recipients of our fundraising. We held our ninth annual charity swim-a-thon - raising money for Kristen’s Kause (supporting Kristen Shinebarger, a Maple Avenue Middle School student battling cancer), and also for The National Kidney Foundation, in honor of team member Victoria Breslin’s grandmother.”
And this team with talent - this team with a heart, makes their coach proudest of all with how they perform in the classroom. “Even with all the hours they put in on their sport and helping others, this is a team of scholar-athletes that for years has averaged a 95 GPA. That’s awesome!” Coach Muldner said.
You see all these elements in abundance as the squad goes about their business at a preparatory practice at Skidmore before boarding a bus to Ithaca: The skill and technique, the joy and camaraderie. It’s all there. Add it up and this makes a group that represents Saratoga Springs High School with excellence, making it easy to understand their Coach’s pride and even easier to root for them in this weekend’s tournament.