Niskayuna’s talent pool goes deeper than Zhou. The Silver Warriors have several swimmers who have already recorded state meet qualifying times including Emma Terwilliger, Maggie Jordan, Mikayla Frodey and Rachel Wurth.
“At this point last year, we had three girls that made the state [meet] team,” said Hall. “This year, we already have seven kids who made the state team. They swim all year round, and they’re really dedicated.”
Shen is led by sisters Olivia and Julia Samson. Olivia has her sights set on winning the 200- and 500-yard freestyles, while Julia is focusing on the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke.
“We’ve got a very focused and motivated group that’s been working hard all year,” said Dunham.
Other Division I swimmers to keep an eye on this weekend are Guilderville’s Jenna Bickel and Bethlehem’s Tara O’Donnell in the 100-yard backstroke, Bethlehem’s Bethany Powhida in the 200-yard individual medley, and Bethlehem’s Grace Ayer in the 100-yard breaststroke.
In Division II, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake enters Sectionals as the odds-on favorite to win the team title. The Lady Spartans feature several talented swimmers including Sara Swett, Lauren Rabideau and Kelly Pruskowski.
The Section II girls swimming and diving championships begin Thursday with the 1-meter diving competition at Ballston Spa High School. The scene shifts south to Shen Friday for the preliminary heats in Division I and II. The Division II finals take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, and the Division I finals start at 3 p.m.