Panthers’ swim and dive team has new coaching staff to lead the way

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Assistant Coach Tom Horan, left, and Head Coach Emily DeMace take over the Masuk girls' swim and dive team this fall.

MONROE, CT — Emily DeMace, a former Masuk swim team record-holder, has come full circle. The 2012 Masuk graduate is back on the pool deck coaching the girls this fall.

DeMace is joined by Tom Horan as an assistant and fellow 2012 graduate Jess Konkol, who serves as the diving coach. Not only does DeMace have familiarity with Konkol, but the tandem of DeMace and Horan has worked together before, coaching with the Rapids program.

“I’m very excited. It’s weird being back, but it’s a good feeling,” DeMace said, as her team practiced during the preseason in early September.

This is not DeMace’s first coaching stint with the red and black. She was an assistant with the boys’ program in 2016.

DeMace held the 500 freestyle and relay records; both have since been beaten and now DeMace, who went on to swim at Adelphi University, is looking to guide the current Panthers to success in the water.

“I’m already seeing improvement in practice less than a week into preseason. We want to see kids drop times. We want to see kids make championships,” DeMace said.

Last year, due to coronavirus restrictions, teams competed virtually and combined scores. This fall, the plan is for regular dual meets which should make for interesting competitions.

“To have in-person meets and to have competition is really exciting,” DeMace said.

Senior captains on the team are Keara Kirberger, Tori Pallas and Melody Sicherman.

The other swimmers are Melanie Antony, Christina Bajorinas, Duja Barkana, Juliette Eaton, Anisha Gera, Ruthika Giduthuri, Jocelyn Gifford, Victoria Gloria, Eva Helmke, Emily Hull, Abigail Kirberger, Safa Memon, Alexandra Rodrigues, Alyssa Schneider, Sameeha Yara Malak Shaik, Amanda Texeira, Phuong Tran and Claire Valle.

DeMace and Horan were sorting out the lineup and which events swimmers will compete in as preseason unfolded.

Divers are twins Kate and Caroline Wittenauer, as well as Carly Jordan and Siobhan Riordan. Last year, Kate Wittenauer broke the school’s 6 dive record with a score of 226.75.

The Panthers begin the regular season on Friday, Sept. 10, when Stratford visits at 5 p.m.

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