When Edgemont swimmers Kate Hoesterey and Jordana Klein, both juniors, stopped swimming year-round last year, they knew they would still be back to compete for the Sleepy Hollow/Hastings/Edgemont/Irvington girls swim team.
“It’s great to see Kate Hoesterey and Jordie Klein, who may not be doing this year-round, but they have the love for the sport and want to do it with the team because they have so much fun with this group of girls and they want to see themselves improve,” coach Tobey Saracino said.
Saracino called Hoesterey the “biggest surprise of the season” as she opted to focus on rowing crew. Despite being on the water, not in it during the offseason, she’s been dropping time in recent meets.
“She did a 25 in her 50 free, which was her fastest time last year in high school swimming,” Saracino said. “We’re trying to get her down to a 24, which she may have hit at states last year. She’s right back there and her 100 is at a 57, but I foresee that time coming down more with more time in the water.”
Saracino was impressed with Klein, who recently opted to swim the 500 freestyle instead of the 200 individual medley to go along with the 100 breaststroke. “She chose the 500 and I was like, ‘Wait, what?’” Saracino said. “I was so excited. She was ready. That’s what adds to me having so much fun. I have high expectations, but sometimes they throw me off with some of their answers.”
Hoesterey has taken what she’s learned from rowing for City Island and brought that mindset to swimming.
“I enjoy the team, just like I enjoy the SHEDI team,” she said. “When you’re doing club swimming you’re only thinking about yourself, but when you’re on SHEDI or a rowing team you have to think about everyone and how everyone works together. This year with SHEDI we have a huge team, some who are first-year, some who are veterans, and we’ve all been communicating well. I love this year even though it’s so odd.”
The rowing mindset is particularly applicable to the relays. “You always have to think about everyone else in your relay — in crew you have to think about everyone else in the boat — so I think it’s helping me motivate other people as well,” Hoesterey said. “I didn’t see swimming like that before. I just have a fresh new perspective about everything. I’m so happy to motivate everybody on the team.”
Klein had been swimming year-round “since I can remember,” she said. She had multiple reasons including academics, but mostly the intensity of club swimming, which was causing a diminished love of the sport. That’s something she never felt with SHEDI, so she didn’t hesitate to return.
“High school was never a question,” Klein said. “I always knew I was going to do high school — I’ve always loved it so much. I love the team and the dynamic it has. When I stopped competitive swimming I knew I was still going to do high school 100%. That was never a thought that went through my mind and I’m enjoying it so much.”
While the time off was a nice change for Klein, getting back into the water was a challenge. “My first practice I remember I honestly did not think I was going to make it to the wall,” Klein said. “As time has gone on it’s been getting easier and I just had a good meet, so I’m happy about that.”
Klein wanted to have fun, see friends she hadn’t seen in over a year and wasn’t focused on how she would do in the relays, breaststroke and distance freestyle. “I never had the expectation I was going to drop times, so it was definitely a pleasant surprise,” she said.
The team lost a tri-meet to John Jay-Cross River and White Plains when several key swimmers were at a club meet, but is 4-2 overall.
“I knew this was going to be a tough season because we graduated a lot of seniors, but it’s been more successful than we thought,” Klein said. “We lost that meet, but we bounced back and won two meets Wednesday and Thursday. I think we’re shrugging off the loss and each win we’re going to get stronger.”
Without the team’s top two swimmers, Irvington’s Grace Brady and Edgemont’s Natalie Peng, and Edgemont’s Florence Millet, all unable to compete for SHEDI because of an Empire meet, plus the absence of Hoesterey, it was a tough day, but a good one in Saracino’s eyes.
“Unfortunately we did not win those two meets, but it was a great opportunity for a lot of the girls to step up without the US swimmers there to be able to swim some really fast times,” she said. “It was awesome to see that, especially with us having a lot of non-year-round swimmers we’re starting to see a lot of them stepping up and dropping times. They’re having a lot of fun and just enjoying the aspect of improving and being part of a team. We absolutely love it.”
In addition to putting out a different lineup than normal and giving more girls an opportunity to shine, the next day in practice the coaches were able to give immediate feedback to help the girls improve for the next two meets, which the team won, on March 24 and 25.
“A lot of them coming into the next meet on Wednesday were completely different swimmers,” Saracino said. “It was a lot of fun to see them succeed and improve in what they were trying to do with their immediate goals.”
Edgemont eighth grader Manon Jadot went from a 1:09.56 in the 100 butterfly at the Monday meet to 1:00.88 and 1:00.48 in the next two meets.
“She seemed down about it and then she came back and did a minute,” Saracino said. “I had to let her know that when you go on the top 40 for the state, she’s the only eighth grader, ranked 27th as of this week. If you look at the bigger picture it kind of takes your mindset to a different place that you are doing well. Those are the types of things I try to point out to them, like you might not be happy with what just happened, but look where you really are.”
Breaking down Jadot’s form in practice was the key to her quick turnaround. “Her fly, every time she was taking a breath, she was sitting straight up in the water and it was bringing her to a complete stop every single time,” Saracino said. “Every time she breathes she has to drive her chin towards the wall. I told her if she did that she can get in that forward motion and her time will drop dramatically and it did. I told her if she broke a minute I would faint on the pool deck and she started laughing.”
With only two more meets remaining after the vacation week, another goal was to keep hitting sectional cut times and working on relay alignments to ensure the team is locked and loaded for sectionals, which are April 20-22. SHEDI is the two-time defending team champion.
“We’re trying to win sectionals this year,” Hoesterey said. “We won the last two years. We lost a bunch of swimmers, but I think we’re almost as strong as we were, so I think we have a shot to win.”