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Shenenendehowa, Burnt Hills swim to team titles again

Shenendehowa made the most of hosting the Section II girls swimming championships for the first time.

The Plainsmen won their 13th Division I (large school) title by using its depth of talent to outdistance their competition. Shen finished with 422 points, though it only won three of the 12 events. Niskayuna was second with 358 points, and Bethlehem placed third with 303 points.

The closest race was the 200-yard freestyle relay, where Niskayuna rallied in the final 50 yards to tie Shen for first place with a time of 1:40.75. Both teams qualified for the state championships, which take place next weekend in Rochester.

Olivia Samson, who swam the anchor leg on Shen's 200 freestyle relay team, had a pair of individual victories to lead the Plainsmen. Samson won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:55.89, and she finished first in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:11.90.

The most outstanding swimmer award went to Guilderville's Jenna Bickel, though. The sophomore won the 50 freestyle in a time of 24.28 seconds and won the 100 backstroke in an All-American qualifying time of 57.25 seconds.

Niskayuna's Laura Manor also won a pair of individual titles at Sectionals. Manor finished first in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:08.20, and she won the 100 butterfly in a time of 59.27 seconds.

Niskayuna's Kina Zhou (100 freestyle) claimed a Sectional championship patch, along with Ballston Spa's Addison Walkowiak (diving) and Briana Borgolini (100 breaststroke).

Bethlehem's 200 medley relay team of Tara O'Donnell, Grace Ayer, Lily Powell and Lauren Zemering finished first with an All-American consideration time of 1:50.19, while Niskayuna's 400 freestyle relay team of Zhou, Manor, Emma Terwilliger and Emily Whitaker took home a Sectional title with a time of 3:36.93.

In Division II (small schools), Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake outdistanced its competition by a wide margin. The Spartans finished with 548 points, followed by Queensbury in second place with 317 points.

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