By Jordan J. Michael
VOORHEESVILLE –– Reid Zyniecki believes that his best swimming is yet to come. The 6 feet, 4 inch Guilderland senior is ranked sixth in the state in both the 500-yard freestyle and 200-yard individual medley, and he’s already earned a scholarship for the University of Buffalo.
Last Friday, swimming for Guilderville, which is a team that combines Guilderland and Voorheesville because Guilderland doesn’t have a pool, Zyniecki qualified for States in the 100-yard individual medley with a time of 1:58.95. He was 25 seconds ahead of Ravena’s Leyton Spencer in second place.
Later, Zyniecki won the 100-yard backstroke with 12 seconds to spare. His state qualifying time in the 500-yard freestyle is 4:45.42. Zyniecki swam in 10 different events this season.
The future business major has performed very well in Section 2 this year, but the state competition will be tough, and a first-time experience for Zyniecki.
“I really enjoy self-improvement,” Zyniecki said after Guilderlville beat Ravena last Friday, 101 to 72. He also swims for the Albany Starfish club team.
“I won’t be a fish out of the water because I’ve seen these other swimmers before,” said Zyniecki of States, which will be held on March 1 and 2 in Webster. “I’ve been to big meets before, so I won’t be nervous. I hope to accomplish something.”
Zyniecki missed States by a fraction of a second as a sophomore. He didn’t swim for Guilderville last season, but came back this year for the team camaraderie and a chance at States. He said he made the correct decision to return.
“The club season gets really long and the friendships aren’t as good,” Zyniecki said. “That’s why I came back.”
Zyniecki may not have the loudest voice, but Head Coach Vaclav Sotola said that his top swimmer leads by example. “He has a great attitude, and he did even as a little tyke in seventh
grade,” Sotola said. “Now, he’s more serious and down to business, but still has a sense of humor, which is important. He’s a determined young man.”
Since Zyniecki is tall and lanky, he uses that as an advantage in the water. Swimmers don’t need to be tall, but height has its benefits on starts and turns in the pool.
“I always want to win, and just thinking of that pushes me a lot,” Zyniecki said. “If I lose a race, it sticks with me, and I carry it to practice.”
Zyniecki has won most of his races this season, and cannot be touched in the 500-yard freestyle and 200-yard individual medley. At Ballston Spa on Tuesday, Zyniecki won the 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke.
“I love, love, love the long distance one,” said Zyniecki’s grandmother, Janice, of the 500-yard freestyle. “It looks like he’s out for a Sunday drive.”
Zyniecki’s grandmother and grandfather, Bob Zyniecki, attend every one of their grandson’s meets. One time, they hung out for seven hours to watch Zyniecki swim for just three minutes. Zyniecki and his grandfather share similar profiles.
“He swims everyday,” Bob Zyniecki said. “That’s why he’s the way he is.”
Zyniecki’s father, John, and mother, Jill, record times and scores for Guilderville at every home meet.
“We used to have a pool in the backyard,” John Zyniecki said. “I think that’s where Reid started, and the swimming just got more competitive from there.”
Coach Sotola thinks that Zyniecki will make the finals for both the 500-yard freestyle and the 200-yard individual medley at States. From there, his results will be a toss-up, but miracles can happen.
Janice Zyniecki said that her grandson is a “treasure” and excels at anything he ever does.
“I like how hard work can pay off,” said Reid Zyniecki. “Life is always a race to improve yourself.”