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Belchertown swimmers Dennis Lelic, Haley Synan announce college commitments

  • Belchertown senior Haley Synan looks up from her National Letter of Intent to swim for Le Moyne College at Belchertown High School on Wednesday. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Belchertown senior Haley Synan gestures during her college signing ceremony Wednesday at Belchertown High School. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Belchertown senior Dennis Lelic at his signing ceremony Wednesday at Belchertown High School. Lelic will swim for SUNY Oswego next year. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Belchertown senior Dennis Lelic at his signing ceremony Wednesday at Belchertown High School. Lelic will swim for SUNY Oswego next year. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Belchertown senior Haley Synan signs her National Letter of Intent to swim for Le Moyne College at Belchertown High School on Wednesday. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI



@kylegrbwsk
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

BELCHERTOWN — Riley Synan should get a finder’s fee.

Both directly and indirectly, she helped two Belchertown swimmers find their fits on college swim teams in central New York.

Senior Dennis Lelic will be joining her at SUNY Oswego, while her younger sister, senior Haley Synan, is headed to Le Moyne in Syracuse, 45 minutes away. Lelic and Haley Synan announced their commitments at a signing ceremony, Wednesday at the high school.

Lelic originally became aware of Oswego when he was visiting Riley during his junior year at Belchertown. He met Lakers coach Mike Holman, and Holman emailed Lelic to open the recruiting door.

“At first I wasn’t looking at it completely seriously, but it ended up being my best option,” Lelic said.

He also considered WPI, which was too expensive, and UMass, which was too fast, among other schools. Oswego offered a computer science program where Lelic could learn software engineering. He was recruited as a backstroker, but may be able to contribute in freestyle events, as well.

“I really liked the campus. It was nice, but still had a New England feel even though it was in New York,” Lelic said. “It’s not too far, but it’s far enough where I’m not really close to anything I’ve always been close to.”

Visiting Riley steered Haley to Le Moyne. Haley was in Oswego when their mother suggested she tour another school. At the time, Haley was set on joining Riley.

They toured Le Moyne because it was close, 45 minutes away on the trip home. She liked the campus, coaching staff and the school’s environmental science program.

“When I did my overnight (recruiting visit) I was like ‘this is the place’ and I knew then,” Haley said.

She only seriously considered Division III Oswego and Division II Le Moyne.

“I just wanted to try something different,” Haley said.

She’ll primarily swim distance freestyle events. At the state Division 2 championship in February, Synan was third in the 200 freestyle and fifth in the 500 freestyle.

The 200-yard butterfly may also be on her plate.

“I just went down there for a recruiting weekend and accepted students day,” she said. “All the girls were really excited because they didn’t have to do the two fly anymore, so I’m assuming I’m doing the two fly.”

She also wanted to be far enough away from home to be independent, but not so far as to not be able to come home.

“Dennis, who’s one of my closest friends, and my sister are going to be 45 minutes away, which will be nice,” Haley said.

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.