Showdown in the pool

Shen, Nisky top contenders in Division I

It may be nearly impossible for this year’s Section II Division I girls swim meet to match the excitement of last year’s duel between Niskayuna and Shenendehowa.

Shen and Niskayuna battled back and forth for last year’s team title before the Silver Warriors won the 400-yard freestyle relay to finish one point ahead of the defending Sectional champions in the closest Sectional meet in history.

“It was an awesome day last year,” said Niskayuna coach Steven Hall. “It was a testament to the girls’ work ethic.”

This weekend, Niska-yuna enters the Sectional meet at the Shen Aquatic Center as the team to beat. The Silver Warriors are coming off an undefeated run through the duel meet season including a 100-86 victory over Shen Oct. 12.

“I’ve been telling the girls that nothing is guaranteed,” said Hall. “People can do anything on any given day, so we have to be prepared for that.”

Shen coach Chuck Dunham said that last year’s results have no bearing on his team as the Plainswomen seek to take back the title that they lost to Niskayuna.

“Our whole thing is that what happens in the past is in the past,” said Dunham. “Our goal this year is to get 100 percent best times from our swimmers and 100 percent best scores from our divers. As long as we do that, we can’t look back and say what we could have done or not done.”

Niskayuna is led by Kina Zhou, last year’s Division I most outstanding swimmer. Zhou has recorded the top time among Section II swimmers in four events this season – the 200-yard freestyle, the 200-yard individual medley, the 100-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle.

“She’s one of those kids that comes around once in a long time,” said Hall. “I really think she’s going to do something special this week and in two more weeks [at the state meet] in Buffalo.”

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