Gazette Girls Swimmer of the Year: Meriza Werenski
Meriza Werenski, of Holyoke Catholic, has been named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Girls Swimming & Diving Player of the Year. Purchase photo reprints »
Winning two sectional titles and two state titles would be considered an extraordinary season for most western Massachusetts high school swimmers.
Not for Meriza Werenski. But according to her, it was somewhat of an off year.
“This season wasn’t exactly my best,” said Werenski, a Holyoke Catholic senior and South Hadley resident. “I’ve had better times in previous seasons. I was, however, generally very happy with how this year went. I had a good season and had great times with my friends.”
Werenski finished her final season with sectional and Division II state titles in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke. For her effort, Werenski has been named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Girls Swimming & Diving Player of the Year. It’s the second straight year Werenski earned the honor.
Werenski set a very high bar over the course of her high school career. She was a four-time high school All-American. She was an eight-time western Massachusetts champion and a seven-time state champion. She also holds three western Massachusetts records.
Aside from that, she has had a decorated career competing for the elite Holyoke YMCA Vikings club. She is a three-time YMCA national champion and last summer she swam at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb.
“Swimming in high school is very different than swimming for a club team,” Werenski said. “High school swimming is much more local and obviously more school based, which is really fun because you’re swimming with your friends. Swimming for a club is a little more serious and competitive and there is a lot more travel. I enjoy doing both very much.”
Werenski started the high school season with a new coach. Ryan Yucka, who coached Werenski through her junior year of high school, did not return. Werenski conceded that swimming for new coach George Plouffe was awkward at first.
“Having a new coach didn’t really affect my season in any way,” she said. “I admit it was somewhat strange at first and it did take some getting used to, but overall the season went very well and I had a great experience being part of this team.
“I’ll mostly remember my high school career as being a lot of fun,” she added. “Swimming has meant a great deal to me because it has made up most of my life. I’ve been swimming for over 12 years now and I’m at my happiest when I’m in the pool. I’ll also never forget the people I met through swimming. All of my closest friends have been made through the sport.”
Werenski will further her career at the University of Massachusetts.
“I’m really excited,” Werenski said. “Swimming for UMass is definitely something that I’m looking forward to doing. I really like the team as well as the coaches. I just hope to really fit in well and get along with the other swimmers there.”
As for long-term aspirations, Werenski prefers to take things one day at a time.
“I’m not exactly sure of my long-term goals at the present moment, but I know that I want to keep swimming through college and hopefully qualify for the Olympic trials once again,” she said.
Abbie Crescitelli, junior, Northampton
Delaney Dyjak, senior, Holyoke Catholic
Kerry Fleming, sophomore, Northampton
Jess Harper, junior, Easthampton
Sadie Logan, freshman, Amherst Regional
Kristyn Popowski, freshman, Holyoke Catholic
Sabree Thomas, senior, South Hadley
Erin Voss, freshman, Northampton
Meriza Werenski, senior, Holyoke Catholic
Maela Whitcomb, sophomore, Northampton
Miranda Wingfield, senior, Northampton
Anna Desimone, junior, Holyoke Catholic
Helen Hale, sophomore, Belcherotwn
Katie Helly, junior, Northampton
Stephanie Jordan, freshman, Northampton
Shannon Mitchell, freshman, South Hadley
Claire Nauman, junior, Belchertown
Hannah Nelson, sophomore, South Hadley
Joslyn Sullivan, sophomore, Amherst Regional
Riley Synan, sophomore, Belchertown
Kaitlin Travers, junior, Northampton
Bryanna Veroneau, junior, Belchertown
Mackenzie Werenski, freshman, South Hadley
Jamie Yurgielewicz, senior, Northampton