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Brooke Nebor had a successful freshman season with the North Haven girls’ swimming and diving squad this fall, competing for a pair of relays that claimed multiple postseason medals. (Photo courtesy of Brooke Nebor )
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Brooke Nebor made a great debut as a freshman for the North Haven girls’ swimming and diving team this year. Brooke swam the first leg for the Indians’ 200 medley relay that posted first-place finishes at both the SCC Championship and the Class M State Championship. The relay went on to record a school-record time of 1:49.26 during a sixth-place finish at the State Open. On top of that, Brooke also swam for North Haven’s 200 freestyle relay that placed first at the SCC and state meets.
Brooke feels pleased that she’s seeing so much success early on in her high-school career. She had a great time competing at the State Championship, where North Haven came in second place as a squad. Brooke says it was a huge help to hear her fellow Indians encouraging her throughout the meet.
“It was a really fun experience, and not a lot of freshman are able to make it to states,” Brooke says. “Everyone is just so close, and it shows throughout the season. Even the swimmers who don’t make states still come and cheer us all on. It’s really nice for the team.”
As the first leg of the 200 medley relay, Brooke sets the tone for North Haven. There’s plenty of responsibility on Brooke, but she takes it in stride with the support of her teammates. Prior to a race, Brooke typically pictures herself performing well in order to help her get into the zone.
“It’s a lot of pressure being the first leg, but my relay swimmers—Angela Gambardella, Riley Jooss, and Maddie Bergin—are always supportive and have a positive attitude, and that’s what I have to have, as well,” says Brooke. “If I think about the race in my head before the race starts, then I usually do better. Occasionally, we’ll talk about visualizing the race at practice, but I know it just helps me the most, so that’s what I do.”
Brooke also swims the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke for North Haven. At the state meet, she finished sixth in the backstroke and took seventh place in the butterfly. Brooke likes the shorter events, because they allow her to let loose a lot of energy in a short span of time.
“I like the sprinting events. I have all this energy, and I have to use it for that quick event,” says Brooke. “It’s just easier for me than trying to contain it for a whole distance event.”
Brooke began swimming competitively with the West Haven Parks & Recreation swim team when she was four. Brooke’s club would compete against parks and rec teams from other towns, and that’s how Brooke developed her love for the water. With that background, it was pretty easy decision for Brooke to swim for the Indians when she got to North Haven High School.
“When I was four years old, I started swimming for West Haven Park and Rec. It’s always been a part of my life,” Brooke says. “I thought it would be a great idea to do high-school swimming. I’m glad I did, because I met a lot of people, and it gave me a lot more opportunities to make friends. I’ve also become a better swimmer, because [Head Coach Martha Phelan] is great about explaining how to improve.”
Coach Phelan knew that Brooke was a talented swimmer, although she wasn’t sure how the freshman would respond to competing in the high-school arena this fall. As the season unfolded, Phelan became continually impressed with how Brooke brought her A-game to the Indians in the biggest races.
“Brooke had an immediate impact, but she got better as the season went on. Brooke popped her really good times when it mattered the most,” Phelan says. “She ended up being on two All-SCC and All-State champion relays, and they broke a school record at the Open. That’s an incredible accomplishment for a freshman.”
Brooke still has three more years to go as a member of the Indians’ girls’ swim team. Brooke says that she’s looking forward to mentoring the team’s younger athletes, just like Coach Phelan and the senior captains helped her out as a freshman this season.
“Coach Phelan is a big part of why I did well this year. She always encourages me to try my hardest and gives me tips on nutrition and technique,” Brooke says. “All the captains this year have been great. They always encourage me when I don’t do well…It makes me look forward to me possibly doing that later on.”
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