Gyorffy, P-P Swimmers Speed Past Competition

Vicky Gyorffy PO ’15 made waves in the Sagehens flock Jan. 24,
winning by a fraction of a second in all her events to lead the Pomona-Pitzer women’s swimming & diving team to a 162-134 victory over the University of Redlands and
earning SCIAC Female Athlete of the Week honors for the second time in her
career. Gyorffy was previously named SCIAC
Female Athlete of the Week as a first-year water polo player after scoring four
goals in an overtime win over No. 1 Occidental College.

The freestyler placed first in all four events in which she
competed, narrowly edging out her opponents by 0.09 seconds in the 100-yard
freestyle and 0.27 seconds in the 200-yard freestyle. She also anchored both
the 200-yard medley relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay, contributing to 2.01-second and 0.53-second leads, respectively.

Gyorffy thanks these narrow wins for her SCIAC honors, which, according
to her, are awarded to an athlete who performed exceptionally in competition
that week. The swimmer’s teammates fully support her as a recipient, stressing diligence as a huge factor in her success. 

“She has a lot of confidence and talent, and she works really
hard,” freestyler Claire Brown PO ’15 said. “She’s always pushing
herself in practices and meets. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her slack off
or complain.”

While hard work and commitment are undoubtedly important in any endeavor, Gyorffy’s teammates argue they are especially integral in swimming. 

“In a sport like swimming, where you’re staring at a black line for two hours a day, you need to be able to actually focus on what you’re doing and your stroke and your technique, and Vicky does that well,” IM Danny Villars PO ’17 said. “It’s easy to find an excuse to stop swimming or ease off, but she is usually not that person—she’s always there putting everything in.”

Even with recent praise, Gyorffy does not intend to rest on her laurels for the
remainder of her senior year. On the contrary, she hopes to cut several seconds off her event times for SCIAC finals while transitioning into
water polo training. According to Gyorffy, she is able to balance the two often-conflicting sports through the prowess of head coach Jean Paul Gowdy, who she
identifies as the source of the swimming community’s success over the last four

Like Gyorffy, the current P-P seniors were first-years when Gowdy was hired as head coach, and have
witnessed the team’s consistent improvement since then. The team’s staffing was a revolving door prior to Gowdy, which swimmers say led to a less-than-stellar team dynamic.

“Having a stable coach [who] has a
lot of experience makes things a lot easier,” Gyorffy said.

Gyorffy is not alone in perceiving a change for the better. Numerous swimmers were eager to comment on the team’s improved dynamic and attitude, including Kevin Byrne PO ‘15.

“Over the past four years, since we got our
new coach, we’ve been getting a lot stronger with recruiting and training,”
he said.

Such recruitment improvements have added 21 first-years to the team this year, many of whom, in Byrne’s opinion, are blowing some seniors out of the water. In fact, Gowdy himself noted that the
first-years have had a major impact on the success of the team.

“[Our] first-year swimmers
[have] been a real testament to our entire team,” he said.

With the win against Redlands, a team that had beaten the Sagehens for 15 consecutive years prior to last year’s upset in the 2014 SCIAC finals, the team looks forward to challenging the current SCIAC leader, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Feb. 7. The Hens have not beaten CMS since 1958. 

“The CMS meet—that will be an interesting one,” Villars said. “At least on the guys’ side, we’re not favored to win, but with that being said, every single race that we manage
to win on Saturday is going to be huge for us. If we pull out a victory, it’ll be extraordinary and probably the best moment for a lot of our
swimming careers.”

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