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Mayo swimming and diving captains share an elementary (school) bond

Mayo's five swimming and diving captains, Natalie Boorjian, Sarah Samman, Chloe Weingarten, Avery Walz and Abby Wigle, all attended the same elementary school.

Mayo senior swimmers.jpg
Mayo seniors, front row left to right, Chloe Weingarten, Natalie Boorjian and Avery Walz, and back row left to right, Sarah Samman and Abby Wigle, are the captains for this year's girls swimming and diving team. And all five attended Bamber Valley Elementary School.
Guy N. Limbeck / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — The Mayo girls swimming and diving team will have five captains during the upcoming season.

The quintet has a lot in common, including a bond that began forming more than a decade ago. All five come from the same elementary school.

The five seniors are Natalie Boorjian, Sarah Samman, Chloe Weingarten, Avery Walz and Abby Wigle. They all grew up together and attended Bamber Valley Elementary School.

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“From Mayo High School, there could be like eight different elementary schools feeding in so it’s cool that all five of us are from the same place,” said Boorjian, who was All-State in a pair of events last season.

Wigle is in her third varsity season. A year ago she placed 12th in diving at the Class AA state meet.

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“It’s been a really consistent friendship,” Wigle said. “I know I could always rely on them if I needed anything. They’re always there for me, which is a really nice feeling to have.”

It might be rare enough that five members of a team come from the same elementary school, but the fact that all five are captains is quite unique.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” said Walz, whose mother teaches at Bamber Valley. “You get to know these people so well and it makes the experience so much more fun. You have so many fun memories with them and they carry on for years and years.”

The five captains learned the school's core values at Bamber Valley which are: Take care of yourself; take care of others; take care of our place.

A season preview of the Century, John Marshall and Mayo girls swimming and diving teams.

Mayo coach Juliet Parlette said those beliefs are “very similar to the values we hold dear at Mayo swim and dive and are an integral part of our culture.”

Growing up with those values made it an easier transition to the Mayo swim team for the Bamber Valley quintet.

“It really raised you to respect the things around you, including yourself, others and the place that you are in,” Walz said. “And that carries so well into our team culture and what our team is about. It just really helps you understand the team, and care for everybody around you.”

If there is a common theme among the Mayo team from the captains, it is that the Spartans do their very best to make sure everyone is welcome and included in all activities.

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“I feel like taking care of others is important to me,” Weingarten said. “It’s important to make sure everyone feels comfortable on the team and in real life.”

Weingarten and Boorjian are both in their fourth season on the varsity. Samman, also in her fourth varsity season, had two older sisters who swam for Mayo and they were both captains as well.

“We’ve always been very open on this team,” Samman said. “We’ve always been very kind to each other and we always lift each other up.”

Bonding outside of practice and meets is always popular among swimming and diving teams and this year’s Spartans captains have taken that to heart. They have organized pasta feeds, yoga sessions and a number of captains' practices, which include more than just time just spent in the pool.

“We do fun games with water balloons and we go tubing a lot of times down the river,” Samman said. “And we also do team-building activities. While you really get to know people in the pool, it’s really important to get to know people outside of the pool, too.”

And while the five captains have had a long-standing relationship with each other, they make sure they reach out to all team members now that they are in a true leadership role.

“We share a common background so that helps us with each other, but also we’re very, very inclusive as a team,” Weingarten said. “We are a very inviting and welcoming community and I feel that our shared background helps us be strong together.”

Boorjian has taken on a leadership role for several years for the Spartans so being a captain this season was a smooth transition for her.

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“I love this team and this environment so I just want to continue on what previous captains from other years have done,” she said. “But there’s no extra pressure.”

The Spartans, with a veteran team, are also gearing up for a strong season in the pool. They were 8-2 in dual meets a year ago, placed third at the Big Nine Conference meet, fourth in Section 1AA and 12th at the Class AA state meet.

“We had a lot of great energy last year,” Boorjian said. “We’re just looking to continue that this year. We have a bunch of new faces so it should be a great season.”

Guy N. Limbeck is a Rochester native who has been working at a daily newspaper since 1981. He has worked at the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Guy at 507-285-7724 or glimbeck@postbulletin.com.
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