OCT.19, 2022— It’s a sunny Wednesday morning at the Pal-Mac High School, but even without the sun, the day would be just as bright for junior Elizabeth Share.
Share is just an evening removed from clinching her spot in the New York State Championships for swimming and diving. She’s just the second girl’s swimmer in Pal-Mac’s 30-year program history to ever make an appearance in States.
We spoke with her in the school’s pool, but before she could even get there, she was welcomed by other students with either a high-five or a “congratulations.” One student pulled her aside to tell her she thought Share was “the best.”
“I don’t think it has sunk in,” Share said. “It’s very exciting, but I haven’t really comprehended it.”
Share clinched her spot in the tournament by clocking in a time of 59.62 in the 100-meter Butterfly while swimming in a tri-meet against Livonia and Wellsville Tuesday night. The state’s cutoff time is 1:00.02. so, she beat it by 0.40 seconds.
Share says she set a goal of beating the state time back before the season began and immediately felt the rush of clinching when she looked up and saw her time on the board.
“It feels amazing to be here,” Share said. “But I still want to get faster and just do my best.”
Share (center) stands with her coaches after clinching a spot in the state title (courtesy: Jade Anthony)
While she may have set the state goal ahead of the current season, you could argue this accomplishment is years in the making. Share’s been a presence on the varsity team for four years, but swimming has always been at her core, having swum since she was about six or seven years old.
Throughout her swimming career, her training has remained about the same: A mix of hitting the weight room, and of course, getting reps in the water.
To give you an idea of what it’s like to push through a competition, Share shed some light on her experience.
“I try to focus on my strokes, and just getting to the wall,” Share said. “I’m making sure I have enough energy to make it through.”
You could say all that time, energy, and focus has paid off.
This year, she was part of yet another Finger Lakes League title team and was named the prestigious Swimmer of the Meet of the Award at the Finger Lakes League Invitational last week. She also won last year's 200-meter Individual Medley and the 100 fly at Section V's Class C championships. She was also a part of the winning 200 free relay and was one second off the 100 fly's state cut time.
Outside of the pool, she’s also excelled in the classroom and the community. In the Spring, she was named a Scholar Athlete by New York State Public High School Athletic Association, she was also one of a few student-athletes recognized at the Youth Leadership Recognition Awards by New York State Senator Pam Helming.
Accomplishments aside, she says she's motivated by a mix of her love of the sport, and the support she gets from her friends, family, teammates, and coaches.
When asked for comment, Head Coach Chris Oaks and Coach Rebecca DeSol shared a joint statement:
“We are thrilled by what Elizabeth accomplished last night, and we are so proud of Elizabeth and the effort she has put in towards her goal. All of Elizabeth's extra time spent with Pal-Mac's Swim Club in the off-season, extra weight-lifting sessions, and extra yardage and effort during practices have really benefited her. We're proud of her teammates as well, as they have helped keep practices enjoyable, and they push her to do her best in practice. As coaches, we cannot wait to see what Class C Sectionals bring for Elizabeth and the team, and we are incredibly excited to go to our first State meet.”
Share is Oaks and DeSol’s first swimmer to appear in the state tournament and will mark the first time in 20 years that a Pal-Mac girls swimmer competed. The only other state swimmer for the program was 2002 Pal-Mac graduate Holly Williams, who took home two NYS titles in her career. She went on to swim for East Carolina University and was inducted into the Section Five Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame back in 2013. Share wasn't born yet!
For now, Share is focused on what’s left of the season. As the coaches mentioned, she will compete in the Class C sectionals on Nov. 1 and 4. She can also lower her time and may even qualify for another individual competition on the state level.
The state tournament will take place on Nov. 18 & 19 at the Webster Aquatic Center.
“This has been an incredible experience, and I’m just grateful for all of the support,” Share said. “It’s been great.”