New Canaan's Baranski hopes national title serves as inspiration
Published 10:31 pm, Wednesday, May 15, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS -- Emma Baranski hopes her recent milestone achievement at the swimoutlet.com U.S. National Championships serves as an inspiration for future synchronized swimmers.
Baranski, a member of the New Canaan YMCA Aquianas under coach Jen Muzyk, became the first swimmer from the East Zone to win a Junior National Solo title in 55 years. Jill Harms of New Jersey was the last to accomplish the feat, claiming the Junior Outdoor Solo Championship in 1958.
"I am so proud to represent the East Zone and hope that my win will inspire athletes from all over the United States," Baranski said. "I hope that athletes from all over realize that anything is possible."
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Baranski, a veteran of the U.S. Junior and 13-15 National teams, also finished first in figures, fourth in team and seventh in duet at the U.S National Championships in Greensboro, N.C., April 9-13.
The 18-year-old came into junior nationals on a tear, having won the solo, duet, team and figures titles at the East Zone meet in March. As a result, she was named East Zone Swimmer of the Year and received the Kim Miller Scholarship, which is given to a high school senior who plans to participate in collegiate level synchronized swimming and who shows excellence in academics, leadership and service.
Baranski started her athletic career with figure skating and dance at the age of 5 before seeing a poster for her hometown club, the Hamden Heronettes, and going to tryouts.
"I jumped in the water and loved it ever since," she said. "I started synchro because I wanted the team experience and still love it. I have grown to love solo because I can be more expressive with my swimming and movement in the water."
Baranski says dancing and choreography remain as passions as well, and she attended the Educational Center of the Arts in New Haven for dance. She also was recently inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance.
"I believe my dance background has helped me to succeed in my sport," she said.
Baranski will continue her synchro career at Ohio State University, where she looks forward to the collegiate competition.
"And I'm not ruling out a bid for the 2016 Olympic Team," she said.