BRISTOL - Throughout the season, Bristol Eastern junior swimmer Brianna Ogonowski was successful finishing in first place in all but two meets in the 100 breaststroke, her best event.
But as the final weeks of the season approached, Ogonowski, who was expecting to see her time improve, found the time to be stagnant between the 1:11 and 1:12 mark.
“She was telling me how she was stuck on her time,” teammate Julia Michaud said. “She originally struggled with having the time of 1:12 for her 100 breaststroke and she kept telling me how she could never beat it but she knows that she could do so much better.”
In order to qualify for the State Open, Ogonowski was going to need to have her best meet in the Class L finals. And she did.
With a time of 1:07, Ogonowski qualified for the State Open after being named an alternate for it the previous two years as a freshman and a sophomore.
“She knew that she really wanted to get to Opens,” head coach Nick Daddabbo said. “She’s been an alternate twice. I really think she knew that she had to work a little bit harder than she might have in the past to get her over that alternate spot and actually be in the field for the race.”
“It was a really good feeling,” Ogonowski said. “It surprised me just because of how much time I had to drop. To be able to make the State Open was a really cool thing since the past years I haven’t been able to.”
The State Open, however, didn’t go as she had hoped as Ogonowski finished with a time of 1:09.8, still strong but a step back from the state final race.
While her swimming performances have been strong, the respect her teammates have for her speaks volumes to the person she is out of the pool.
“She’s always been a really good leader for the team,” senior teammate and captain Sarah Maglio said. “Even just as my experience as a captain, it was really nice to have her on the team. She was always there to back me up and to get the girls pumped up and she’s always been a leader.”
One thing is for sure, just like Ogonowski had the drive to cut her time to 1:07 to qualify for the State Open, she’ll have that same drive to get back to the Open and finish with a better time.
“I didn’t do as well as I wanted to,” Ogonowski said. “But next year, I can’t wait because I am going to work just as hard and even harder to make it as far as I can in the Open.”
She has already proved that she is as good a swimmer as there is in the area.
“She came out and got better this year,” Maglio said. “She just pushed herself and completely just blew everyone away. The one time I know counted [the most] was the one to make it to the Opens and when she beat her time for her event to get to the Open, I think that was her best performance.”
With her leadership qualities, Ogonowski will be a co-captain of the Lancers next season with Michaud.
“She’s always so passionate about what she does,” Michaud said. “No matter what kind of day she’s having. You might be able to tell if she’s having a bad day but no matter what she still puts in as much effort as every other day and it’s always her best.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @OrencoleDan