Girls swimming: Zhou leads Niskayuna to Section II team title

Senior wins two individual titles and the scholar-athlete award

— Early in the season, the Niskayuna girls swim team had its sights set on winning a Section II championship.

The Silver Warriors achieved that goal Saturday at the Shenendehowa Aquatic Center as it claimed the Division I title with 470 points. Shen was second with 450 points, and Saratoga Springs placed third with 303 points.

"This is what we were trying to go for all season, and everything fell into place today,'' said Niskayuna coach Steve Hall. "The kids were awesome. It was a total team effort, and I couldn't be happier for them."

Along the way, 12 Niskayuna swimmers qualified for the New York State Meet, including three of its relay teams. Senior Kina Zhou led the way by winning two individual titles and swimming on two championship relay teams. Her winning time of 50.18 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle qualifies her for All-American consideration, and she turned in an All-American consideration time of 2:04.10 in the 200 individual medley.

Zhou said her biggest thrill came when she was tabbed as the Division I scholar-athlete award winner.

"It's the most amazing thing ever. Every year, I looked at who got it and knew I wanted it too," said an emotional Zhou, who has a 4.0 grade point average and is headed to Yale. "I will miss Niskayuna. It was the best four years of my life."

Zhou swam the first leg on Niskayuna's winning 200 freestyle relay team, which turned in an All-American consideration time of 1:37.51. Zhou said she was disappointed with her split time of 24.72 seconds, though.

"I set high goals for myself," Zhou said. "And I did not get off to a good start. I was upset with myself, but then I though I can let it get to me or I can use it as a motivator."

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