Oct. 28-Nov. 3, 2004
By Luke Eggleston/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Individual Talents Underpin CBA Swimming Success
With their most recent dual-meet win coming at the expense of Cazenovia High School, Christian Brothers Academy is on pace to finish the season undefeated. This most recent edition of Brothers swimming from the tiny private school in Dewitt owes its success in no small part to a core of top-notch swimmers such as Shannon Halleran.
A varsity swimmer since eighth grade, Halleran has qualified for the New York State meet every year she has been on the CBA team. In recent years, Halleran has become the Brothers’ clutch swimmer, in the words of second-year coach Bill Howser. “She’s our go-to girl,” Howser said. “If we need to win a meet, we count on her.” Along with specializing in individual sprint events, Halleran also anchors the Brothers’ top-flight relay teams. Howser attributes Halleran’s unusual drive to her ability to draw motivation from the raw nerves of competition. “In a pinch, every swimmer gets nervous,” the coach said. “She uses that anxiety to her advantage.” “I just love competing,” Halleran said.
Halleran is among the top swimmers in Section III in both the 100-yard butterfly and the 50 freestyle events. As of last week, her top time of the season in the 50 free was 26:03, while her top time in the 100 fly was 1:02.38. Her personal bests in both events are 24:64 and 54:53 respectively. She also competes in the 100 free and her season best in that event is roughly 57, while her personal best is 54:53. With tapering on the horizon for this week, Howser cautioned that times during this part of the season are deceptive. Most swimmers expect to peak in the sectional meet and then exceed that in the state meet. “I expect big things,” Howser said, noting that the team has been engaged in more weight training than ever before, along with the labor-intensive practice associated with the sport of swimming.
After his team went 9-0 on the season, with wins coming at the expense of some the area’s larger schools such as Liverpool, Howser is confident his team can win Section III Class B. Last season, the CBA 400 relay team of Halleran, Aimee Magnarelli, Kayla Ehle, and Genevieve Suits placed third in the state meet. This season, the squad returns each swimmer save Suits. In her place is Allie Speidel. While she enjoys participating in relays, Halleran likes the one-on-one element of competing individually as well.
“She’s confident,” Howser said. “And she should be.” Halleran said her goal for the sectional meet is to place first in both the 50 free and the 100 fly. An added incentive for her is the fact that this is her senior year. Halleran began swimming with the Dewitt Swim Club as an 8-year-old and, in her words, “Just kind of stuck with it.” She also played basketball until eighth grade but gave that up in an effort to commit herself to swimming. She also swam with the Syracuse Chargers, but recently returned to the ranks of the Dewitt club.
Along with practicing swimming four times a week in the offseason, Halleran practices yoga and weight training. She is currently undecided regarding her collegiate career, but Howser stressed that she is an NCAA Division I-caliber swimmer. Halleran said that she is strongly considering the University of Vermont.