Hitting the home stretch

Throw out the team records when the Section II, Division I girls swimming and diving championships begin next Thursday at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Robison Pool.

Saratoga, Shenendehowa, Niskayuna and Bethlehem will battle it out for the team title. Bethlehem went through the league season undefeated, but Saratoga, Shen and Niskayuna all have plenty of talented swimmers to make a serious push for the championship.

It's the team that not only has the star swimmers but also the depth that does well, said Shen coach and Section II swimming chairperson Pat Seligman. "We have a few swimmers that we expect great things from, and we have several swimmers who we think will also do well."

The relays are shaping up to be a battle between the top four contenders. Shen and Saratoga have the top two respective times in the 200-yard freestyle relay, while the Blue Streaks top the leaderboard in the 400-yard freestyle over Niskayuna and Shen. Bethlehem has the top time in the 200-yard medley relay, followed by Saratoga and Shen.

"We have two relays that we think have a good shot to qualify (for states)," said Seligman.

Individually, Shen is led by sophomore Kara Zebrowski, who is at or near the top of the Section II leaderboard in six events. Zebrowski has recorded the fastest times in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke, but is equally at home in the 200-yard individual medley, where her time of 2:13.19 ranks second to Bethlehem's Molly Howland, and in both the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard freestyle, where she ranks third.

Saratoga has a pair of strong individual swimmers in junior Maggie Callesano and senior Bridget Rowland. Callesano is ranked among the top five in several events, while Rowland is ranked second in the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard backstroke.

In Division II, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake will battle Queens-bury and Scotia-Glenville for top team honors. The Lady Spartans are led by junior Kaleigh Ahern and senior Amy Lamparelli, who hold several top-10 overall rankings in Section II.

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