Victoria Woroniecki, who competed at the FINA World Championships of synchronized swimming in July, won the 100-yard backstroke and finished third in the 50-yard freestyle in Matanzas' meet against Spruce Creek and Father Lopez.
Victoria Woroniecki has been speed swimming competitively for only less than a year, but as she calmly sinks into the cool water at the Port Orange YMCA’s pool for the start of the 100-yard backstroke, she remains focused.
At the sound of the whistle, the 16-year-old explodes off the wall and, with a deadly combination of grace and athleticism, glides rapidly down her lane.
When Woroniecki touches the wall for the final time and rips off her tight goggles, she looks up: Her opponents are still struggling through her wake.
The Matanzas boys and girls swim teams struggled in their meet against Spruce Creek and Father Lopez on the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 28, but Woroniecki was a bright spot for the Pirates.
She competed in the 100-yard backstroke, 50-yard freestyle, 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay. The converted synchronized swimmer won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1 minute, 3.46 seconds and finished third in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 26.78 seconds.
In July, Woroniecki, who has been synchronized swimming for eight years and a member of Team USA for two years, competed in the FINA World Championships of synchronized swimming in Budapest.
“She just has a really good feel for the water,” Matanzas coach Carrie Purdy said. “She’s a very dynamic athlete in the water. Swimming comes naturally to her.”
But despite Woroniecki’s talent for synchronized swimming, she no longer has a desire to do it. Instead, she’ll be focusing on speed swimming for the rest of the year.
“It’s fun swimming competitively,” Woroniecki said. “There’s no politics in speed swimming; that’s for sure. In synchro, there’s a lot of politics.”
It was the subjectivity of synchronized swimming that ultimately drove her away from it.
“In speed swimming, whoever touches the wall first is the winner,” she said.
Woroniecki, a senior and a Florida Virtual School student, said her goal is to be either recruited by college scouts or spotted by an Olympic coach.
But for now?
“I think I wanna just stick to having fun,” she said.