The end of the Pirates' regular season brings on a whole new challenge — the postseason.
Victoria Woroniecki doesn’t know exactly how she’ll feel when she gets out of the pool for the final time in a high school meet.
On the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 5, the senior swimmer for Matanzas touched the wall for the last time in the regular season in the Pirates’ meet against Atlantic. When she took off her goggles and looked up at the end of the 100-meter backstroke, her opponents were still swimming the opposite direction, desperately flailing their arms to finish the race.
“It’s kind of sad because I’d like to do a couple more years,” said Woroniecki, a former Team USA synchronized swimmer who started speed swimming for Matanzas at the start of the 2017 season. “[But] I don’t really feel like I’m really missing out on much because I was on the national team. I’ve been all around the world. I’ve kind of completed part of my dream. And coming here and swimming for high school, it was nice to really enjoy the spirit that everyone has.”
After finishing in third place in their last meet against Spruce Creek and Father Lopez, the Pirates’ boys and girls teams came out on top Thursday at the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club, defeating Atlantic 93-69 and 109-61, respectively.
Woroniecki won the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter backstroke.
Matanzas boys senior Brendan Zagumennikh won the 50-meter freestyle and was the final leg in the Pirates’ win in the 200-meter freestyle relay. The 17-year-old came within inches of topping Atlantic’s top swimmer, Joseph Yim, in the 100-meter butterfly.
Zagumennikh, who started swimming for Matanzas as a freshman, has seen the progress he’s made over the last four years.
“I remember as a freshman, I was just a little kid and couldn’t even complete a set,” he said. “Attitude-wise, swimming-wise, it all changed for the better. Now I got stronger, faster and just way better as a whole.”
Even though Thursday’s win marks the end of the regular season for the Pirates, a whole new set of challenges are at the center of attention: Districts start on Oct. 18.
A good showing would give Matanzas’ seniors a shot at Regionals or even the State Championship before their high school careers are all said and done.
“I’m going to miss the seniors. You always miss the seniors. Just seeing them grow through the years,” Pirates coach Carrie Purdy said. “[But] we’ve got to keep our eyes on the prize.”