BALLSTON SPA — Not all competitors are enemies. In fact, sometimes they’re friends. At the Ballston Spa High School pool on Monday, one could find both Scotties and Blue Streaks practicing together in preparation for an upcoming state championship.
The harmonious session was the result of girls varsity swim and dive coaches Ted Snyder and Joshua Muldner, from Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs, respectively. The two have been friends for years. And with states on the way, they decided to (temporarily) join forces.
“Ballston Spa and Saratoga had an amazing dual meet this year and these girls battled hard against each other in their meet. These differences miraculously blend away,” Coach Muldner said.
Three local girls are heading to the swim and dive state championships this week: Jillian Ferrie and Addison Kenney from Saratoga, and Sarah Blaum from Ballston Spa. They’re all coming off impressive performances at sectionals.
Blaum, an eighth-grader, took first in both the 100 fly and 100 free. “My relays both did amazing too,” she said. “So, it was really good.”
The Saratoga girls made school history, according to Muldner. “[Ferrie] had her highest placed finish ever at sectionals at two events,” he said. “She is now eighth all-time in school history in the 200 IM.”
Not to be outdone, Kenney broke the school record in the 100 backstroke. “That was a 17-year-old record,” Muldner said.
But the record-setting may not be done.“For my fly, I’m trying to go for the other school record, which is like a half-second drop from where I’m at,” Kenney said.
Kenney will have an opportunity to do so at states in Webster, New York on Friday and Saturday.
Blaum said she was feeling excited but “pretty nervous” about her first state championship. “I just want to see how it feels, have fun,” she said. “It’s kind of a test run, basically.”
Luckily, the elder Kenney and Ferrie seemed to be taking Blaum under their wings. Ferrie admitted that her first experience at states was “kind of intimidating.”
“It’s a little nerve-wracking,” Kenney said. “At the same time, it’s such an intense meet that there’s a really good energy and you feel proud of what you’ve done and accomplished.”
The Saratoga swimmers firmly believe in their coach’s mantra, “trust the process.” Ferrie defined what that meant. “Even if you’re not there now, you will be there,” she said. “You just have to wait and keep trying your best. You’ll get there.”
Fans can follow the action at states in real-time via the Meet Mobile app. Results will also be posted to the website Swim Cloud.