Lady Rams swim team has plenty of room to grow

The Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity swim team battled a strong Gloversville team in Monday’s season opening meet in the Aqua League at Lynch Literacy Academy. And while the Lady Rams were on the losing end of a 110-56 score, many of the Lady Rams posted good times for their first meet, and gave their fans a glimpse of a team that could be together for much of the next four years, given that this year’s team has no juniors or seniors on the roster.

“We’re excited for this season,” said Amsterdam head coach Nancy Spagnola. “We’re excited because this group is all Sea Rams and they swam on the modified team.”

Returning to the 2015 Lady Rams are sophomores Paige Bertuch, who takes over as team captain, and Abby McNamara. Also returning are freshmen Julianna Busseno, Lauren Santiago, and MacKenzie Farina, and eighth grader Grace Patrei. Bertuch, Santiago, Busseno, and Patrei all posted times in individual events that qualified them for sectionals last season. Sophomore Kayla Dzikowicz was also part of that group to make sectionals last year. Dzikowicz is currently recovering from an off-season injury and hopes to be back on the team before season’s end.

Newcomers joining the varsity team this year are sophomores Olivia Brahler and Tessa Conti, and freshmen Amelia Barkevich, Kelly Kilgallen, Bella Porter and Bailey Isolda.

“They were all Sea Rams,” Spagnola said. “They are familiar with the strokes and the rules.”

Amsterdam earned a pair of second place finishes in Monday’s meet with Grace Patrei (500 meter freestyle), and Bertuch (100 meter breastroke). The Lady Rams got third place finishes from Tessa Conti in the 50 meter and 100 meter freestyle events, Patrei (200 meter freestyle), Busseno (100 meter butterfly), Porter (500 meter freestyle), the 200 meter medley relay team of Bertuch, Barkevich, Busseno and Santiago, the 200 meter freestyle relay team of Kilgallen, Bertuch, Barkevich, and Conti, and the 400 meter freestyle relay team of Conti, Farina, Kilgallen, and Santiago. Turning in fourth place efforts were Porter (200 meter freestyle), Brahler (200 meter individual medley), Bertuch (100 meter butterfly), Santiago (100 meter freestyle), and Abby MacNamara (100 meter backstroke).

Gloversville turned in a first place finish in every event. Leading the way were Desiree Ives in the 200 meter individual medley and 100 meter butterfly, Kylie Cotugno in the 500 meter freestyle and the 100 meter breaststroke, Jenna Vickery in the 200 meter freestyle, Portia Szypula (50 meter freestyle), and Brooke Richardson (100 meter freestyle). Gloversville also took first in all three relay events.

“Gloversville is a strong team,” Coach Spagnola said. “They are close to us so we scheduled them twice, and we can build our times.”

Gloversville also scored in the diving competition led by Alyssa Henley’s first place finish. The Lady Rams currently don’t have anyone competing in the diving events. However, they may soon have a competitor in freshman Bailey Isolda, who has been working on her diving techniques.

“Bailey has been working on some dives,” Coach Spagnola said. “She needs to get the reverse move down. We’re excited to get Bailey diving.”

Amsterdam will be looking to improve from a 2014 campaign that had only one win to show for it, a victory over former Big 10 foe Catholic Central in the last meet of the season.

“We’re looking for more wins this year,” Coach Spagnola said. “Especially with teams that we are comparable with in the Foothills Council.”

Amsterdam returns to action with a meet today at Emma Willard. The Lady Rams will host Foothills Council rivals Glens Falls (Oct. 14), and Queensbury (Oct. 20). Home meets are scheduled to begin at 4:30pm at Lynch Literacy Academy pool.

(Photos by Scott Mulford)

Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.