The Junction City High School girls swim team will travel to Salina Thursday afternoon to compete in its final meet of the regular season at Salina South High School. Thursday will also mark the final regular season meet for the three seniors on Junction City’s roster — Abby Khoury, Paola Noriega, and Courtney Sinklier.
With only potentially two weeks remaining in their high school swim careers, the seniors reflected on what they are feeling as their final season winds down.
“This season has been pretty fast. I didn’t think it would (end) this fast. I really don’t want it to end. I really like my swim team,” Noriega said.
Khoury reflected on her swim career coming to an end.
“This is my first year swimming. I just came out to have fun, and I did. I think it’s sad that it’s ending, but I’ve definitely learned some new techniques that I’ll try to continue to use throughout college,” Khoury said.
Sinklier talked about her feelings on her high school career wrapping up.
“It’s kind of heartbreaking. It’s a big accomplishment. It’s really rough for me right now. I can’t really swim because of my (injured) shoulder. I can really see myself swimming again at (the Centennial League championships May 11) and maybe dropping some times,” Sinklier said.
Junction City head coach Beth Schlesener gave her feelings on losing her seniors.
“I’m thankful that it’s only three. I’m losing some strong swimmers. (Noriega) has been a powerhouse of the team for the last four years. She’s been a huge asset and a big points-bringer for us. (Sinklier) has been a strong swimmer. She’s been dealing with some injuries, so hopefully we’ll get her back in the pool by (the Centennial League championships). She can work hard for us. I just wish (Khoury) had swum for us the last three years, and not just her senior year. She has a beautiful dive. She has a really good work ethic,” Schlesener said. “I’m going to miss all three girls. They’ve definitely been assets to our team.”
Schlesener talked about how Khoury has improved through her only year in the program.
“She had the stroke down (at the start of the season). She could swim freestyle pretty easily, and her dives have been beautiful since day one. Her stamina has gotten stronger. Her work ethic is good. She’s really a positive force on the team,” Schlesener said.
Noriega talked about one of her favorite memories from her high school career.
“During my freshman year during a swim meet, (Sinklier) almost missed her event. She slid and fell on the floor. (Another favorite memory) is making some of the friends that I have now,” Noriega said.
Sinklier talked about some of her favorite memories.
“Like (Noriega) said, during my freshman year, I almost missed my meet. I was running, and I slipped and fell. Everyone stared at me. That’s my best memory. I’ve gotten close to some of these girls. They always come to me for advice. They always tell me that I have great leadership skills. I’ve seen that in myself. Another great memory is just being there for the girls when they need something and always giving them advice about stuff,” Sinklier said.
Khoury talked about some of her memories from her only year in the program.
“I think I’ve just made a lot of good friends. I’ve started to hang out with people that I don’t normally hang out with. I found some really cool people, which is nice,” Khoury said.
Schlesener talked about some of her favorite memories of her seniors.
“When they get out of the pool and they realize they’ve (set personal records). It’s cool to see how excited they are that their hard work has been paying off. That’s always a memorable moment. The bus trips are always fun with these young ladies. I’ll miss their leadership,” Schlesener said.
Sinklier talked about how she has developed as a leader through her senior year.
“There was no set of captains this year. With that being said, I kind of (developed into a leader) myself. It’s also (junior Jayden Ellison’s) last year, because she’s graduating early. I thought it was a good idea to have (Ellison take a leadership role) with me. I knew she wanted to be a captain. She helped me. I feel that I’ve given so much advice to these girls, and I hope that they take it further,” Sinklier said.
Schlesener talked about how Noriega and Sinklier have developed as leaders in their final year.
“They’ve both stepped up. They’ve been stepping up for the last couple years. Both of them have been strong leaders. They’ve helped organize our swim buddies program, which is something we do with the new swimmers and the returning swimmers so we can get to know each other. (Noriega and Sinklier) have both stepped it up this year. It’s been nice to see,” Schlesener said.
Noriega talked about what she wants to accomplish before her career ends.
“I’m going to try to break 29 (seconds) in my (50 yard freestyle event). I’m going to try my best to make it to State,” Noriega said.
Khoury talked about what she wants to accomplish before her season ends.
“I’m just going to keep working hard and see where it takes me. I just think by coming to practice and staying committed and determined, that’s the best thing I can do to get the best results,” Khoury said.
Sinklier listed some things that she wants to accomplish before her career ends.
“Right now, my (50 yard freestyle) is a 30 (seconds) flat. Hopefully I can get it down to about 28 (seconds),” Sinklier said.
Schlesener talked about what she wants to see from her seniors before the end of the season.
“I’d love to see improvement. Every time we get in the pool, I’m always looking for best ever times. I’m looking for them to finish strong. If they can finish with (personal records) at League, that would be the icing on the cake. With their leadership and some of the strong swimmers that we have, I think we can place pretty decently at League this year,” Schlesener said.
Noriega noted that she will continue her swim career at Barton Community College. Khoury is planning on attending the University of Kansas, and Sinklier plans to go to Cloud County Community College before transferring to Washburn University.