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Senior captain Laura Borrelli and the North Haven girls’ swimming and diving team set multiple school records this fall, and Laura contributed to a pair of them with her performances in the 200 medley relay, plus the 200 freestyle relay. (Photo courtesy of Laura Borrelli )
Laura Borrelli capped her career with Indians’ girls’ swimming by winning the team’s Sportsmanship Award for the second year in a row this fall. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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The North Haven girls’ swimming and diving team recently completed a historic 2017 season, and senior captain Laura Borrelli played a huge hand in the Indians’ record-breaking campaign. North Haven broke several school records during the recent postseason, including in the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays, with Laura swimming on both of them. Each of those relay teams earned All-State accolades and helped the Indians post their all-time best showing at the Class M State Championship with a second-place finish.
At the SCC Championship, Laura joined forces with Maddie Bergin, Angela Gambardella, and fellow senior captain Jasmine Nguy to place second in the 200 medley relay and earn All-Conference honors, while breaking a school record that had stood since 2003 with their time of 1:51.90. Then at states, the quartet broke their own record with a first-place finish and a time of 1:51.43. In the 200 freestyle relay, Laura, Gambardella, Bergin, and Riley Jooss notched a school-record mark of 1:40.88 when they took third place at SCCs and then came one one-hundredth of a second from topping that mark with a first-place time of 1:40.89 in the state meet.
Laura felt ecstatic when North Haven earned the runner-up trophy at the Class M State Championship. Laura knew it was a moment that she and her teammates would remember for the rest of their lives.
“We all looked at each other and just smiled. It was just the greatest feeling in the world,” says Laura, who also swam the 50 and 100 freestyles at the SCC and state meets. “Being a part of that team and all those girls who worked so hard, you’re always going to remember your team. It builds a foundation for your whole life. The skills are going to last forever.”
Laura’s big-picture mentality is one of the main reasons why she excelled as one of the Indians’ captains. Laura relished the responsibility of doing whatever it took to help her team succeed.
“It’s not controlling or having a stick above the team. It’s being the designated leader that you can go up to, and the team knows that you’re there for them,” Laura says. “You want to have a good relationship with them. I have always wanted to make the team better and be positive. It’s all about camaraderie; make sure everyone is always feeling good.”
At the conclusion of each of the past two seasons, Head Coach Martha Phelan presented Laura with North Haven’s Sportsmanship Award. Phelan says that Laura has not only proven herself in the pool throughout the past four years, she also served as a positive influence to her teammates outside of the water.
“She had a stellar career, and she was just a great teammate. I’ll miss Laura. She’s a joy to have. She’s always the first one to get there. You can’t ask for a better captain. She’s on autopilot. I never have to ask her to do anything,” says Phelan. “In addition to that, the last two years she was voted for the Sportsmanship Award. She makes us a better team. She’s kind. She’s upbeat. She’s very positive. She makes sure everyone is acknowledged and is always cheering.”
Laura puts the same dedication into her training as she does her team and swims year-round to stay in peak physical condition. Laura says that even a little time off can be detrimental to a swimmer’s performance.
“I just do swimming all year-round. It’s team swimming in the fall, short course from September to March, and long course from April to July,” Laura says. “If you stop swimming, you will lose everything you gain, so you have to keep up with it.”
On top of all the time she spends swimming, Laura also is involved with after-school programs at North Haven, such as the Diversity Team, which promotes a diverse school environment; and Best Buddies Program, where she fosters friendships with people who have developmental disabilities.
“I love being involved at my school. I love the Diversity Team that promotes a good school environment. We put together diversity-in-action conferences and, as much as it’s a stressor, it’s a relaxer, too. It takes me away from swimming and back to the real world,” says Laura. “Also, I’m one of the officers for Best Buddies. I love being with all those kids. They make my day so much better. Just being able to see my small impact on them is so amazing.”
Looking back on her high school swimming career, Laura feels proud of what she and her teammates achieved and is eager to see how far the program can go in the future.
“It was really exciting to see how much it meant to coach and all the other girls on the team. We trained from August all the way up to [states]. It was awesome seeing the months of work pay off,” says Laura, who thanks her family, coaches, and teammates. “We’ve accomplished so much, and it’s a great note to end on. We all got ourselves to this point. It’s great to see everyone do better as the season goes on, especially watching the younger girls this year that will be the older girls next year and knowing the team will be in good hands.”
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