WNY Athletics

Buffalo Seminary Swim Team Continues to Shine

Sports is full of clich√©’s like it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.
Sometimes, though, those old sayings are spot on. Just ask the Buffalo Seminary swim team.

The Red-Tailed Hawks picked up right where they left off when they opened the spring swim season with an 86-70 win over Mount St. Mary on March 27.
It was the first official varsity meet for the Hawks since capturing the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association playoff title in the fall of 2019.

“I think for us its such a big deal that we were even able to do this because I think we all remember every time we got to a mark where we thought the season would (start) it just kept getting pushed back,” said junior captain Ellie Tesluk. “We just kept waiting and waiting and waiting and we really thought that the spring season that we have now would be canceled too. We’re fortunate to be in the pool. We’re all just so fortunate to be safe in general during the pandemic. That’s something we keep in mind during practice. All the time too.”

Freshman Elle Noecker, who won two sectional titles and went to states last year while with the Eden High School swim team,
stole the show as she set new team records in the 100 backstroke and 200 Individual Medley. Noecker was also part of the 200 IM relay team that also set a new program record.

The Buff Sem line-up also features Grace Rauch and junior Lauren Levy who is also part of the record-breaking 200-relay team.
Having the start of the season pushed back repeatedly was especially frustrating because the girls felt very confident that they could make another legitimate run at the 2020 playoff title.

“There’s on my four teams so everyone knows each other,” Tesluk said. “We pretty much had an idea how everything was gonna play out because we knew a lot of the seniors from the other schools were graduating and were getting new swimmers. And we were even more excited than last year to win, because SEM is not really known for its athletics. People don’t really go to SEM to do sports. But it’s really exciting cause it’s the one sport that the whole school almost kind of rallies around. I know it’s not the same this year because people can’t come to the meets. But it’s still really nice to do something for your school that makes other people proud.”

Though the All-Catholic tourney will not be held during this abbreviated season, the Hawks are focused on finishing atop the regular season standings.
As the Hawks navigate the new season they are keenly aware that their opponent is not limited to who they are facing in the water.
The Covid-19 pandemic has swimmers has everyone adjusting to strict safety protocols.

New coach Andrea “Andi” Parish said that she is very proud of the mature and business like way the girls have adjusted to a much different way of doing things than they are used to. From wearing masks to being mindful of social distancing in all situations the girls are doing what they need to do to stay safe while still working their hardest.

“I am very impressed by all of it. I don’t know, hopefully I was this mature when I was that age,” said Parish, who swam for North Tonawanda High School.
“They wear their masks to practice every day. They wear their masks on deck. They stretch and stay (six feet) apart without me having to come down on them about it…it makes things so much easier to have a mature and just a nice group of girls. It’s amazing to me. They’re just all so nice.”

Tesluk said that the pandemic has helped the girls see the world in a much different way and gain a greater appreciation for what really matters in life.

“It just really allowed us to put everything in perspective and not take good health and well-being for granted,” she said. “Because I think on a regular day to day basis we all are so consumed with swimming and school. I’m not trying to glorify the pandemic in anyway but it definitely owed us to take a step back and just look at what is important and recognize that swimming is a real privilege and we’re so thankful to do it.”

Pics Courtesy of Buffalo Seminary/@HawkSquawks on Twitter

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