2019-Seniors

When our children were younger, we remember attending our very first Senior Day at an A-meet and being thoroughly impressed with what the Gator Seniors had accomplished in and out of the pool, and where they were headed when they finished high school. We remember thinking then that there must be something truly special about swimming and the Gator community if it was turning out kids like these.

When we built the website, we started featuring seniors each year so that all Gator team members can get to know our graduating seniors. We also invite you all to come celebrate our Gator Seniors this year at the final home A-meet against High Point on July 20th. Come cheer on your team for the whole meet, starting at 9am or just come for Senior celebrations before relays start, approximate time 10ish 
-- A-meets go quickly! 

While in some ways it seemed like a long time ago when we saw our first Gator Senior Day, we have now been there with our very own Senior, and trust us when we say that it goes by so very fast -- sort of like an A-meet relay! -- so be sure to enjoy every magical summer Gator moment. 

Some seniors will also write their own "Memories/Reflections of a Gator" which will be posted on the Gator Blog throughout the remainder of the season, as they come in; please check back here and click the links to read their thoughts when they are posted. They are an insightful group, so we think you will learn something from them, get a laugh, or maybe a good cry. 

-- Jim and Tonda Phalen
    Former Team Reps


Cole Miller
Twelve summers ago, Cole reluctantly stepped onto the deck as a little Gator because his mom made him.  His journey through summer swim fostered a love of swimming, coaching, team spirit and leadership.  A proud recipient of the leadership award during his first summer coaching, his experiences as a Gator helped shape the person he is today.
 
Cole graduated from West Potomac High School with honors, where he was also a member of the National Honor Society and the National Science Honor Society. He was the recipient of the Science Department Award, which is bestowed upon one student each year. Cole was a varsity swimmer for 4 years at West Potomac, where he served as a team co-captain for 2 years and received the coaches’ award his senior year.
 
Outside of school, Cole was active in scouting for 10 years and earned the rank of Eagle Scout. He also served as Senior Patrol Leader for his troop and was inducted into the Order of the Arrow, scouting’s honor society. Through scouting, he was introduced to scuba diving and earned his open water certification when he was 12. Cole became an active diver and earned a number of certifications, including Master Diver at the age of 17.
 
Cole will be attending the University of North Carolina Wilmington to study marine biology. He plans to continue swimming and coaching throughout college and into the future.

Read Cole's Memories of a Gator here.

Zoe Greszler
Zoe began her swim journey alongside her brother Tres in Florida when she was five years old. With her US Air Force dad often gone on deployments, her mom sought a way to engage the kids in a sport where they could all participate at the same time. Soon after her sister Gabby joined in, and all three kids quickly found fun, friends and success in the pool.

When the Greszlers moved to Northern Virginia in 2008, little did they know the profound impact becoming part of Gator Nation would have on each of them, and the entire family. Zoe’s early Gator memories are of her coaches, more than anything; particularly her favorite “Bob” — better known as Julia Bolger. Memories of racing; throwing pies in coach Paul’s face and fun at the pool lingered as the family returned to England for four years.

Warm memories of Gator Nation held fast, as Zoe continued swimming for West Suffolk Swim Club and the Lakenheath Barracudas overseas; exploring Europe — one pool at a time. Upon returning to Northern Virginia, it wasn’t a question the Greszlers would settle somewhere within Gator reach.

With fond memories of her coaches, Zoe always looked forward to becoming part of the Gator coaching crew and enjoys more than anything being part of the team as a swimmer; coach and cheer leader. To this day, she looks forward to dressing out for 
A-meets and walking out on deck with the team for cheer rallies before every meet. Zoe thanks Gator nation for acting as a second family, and giving a warm welcome to the Greszlers upon returning from overseas four years ago. She wouldn’t trade her time with the Gators for anything — and opens this new chapter with the knowledge that “GATOR” is synonymous with FAMILY.

She’d also like to thank her parents, Rick and Laurel Greszler, for beginning her journey those 12 years ago by dropping her off at swim practice in Florida as a six-year-old for the very first time. Swimming has given Zoe the confidence to create new opportunities and pursue her dreams.

In the Fall Zoe will attend the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She will pursue a double major in psychology and criminology, participate in Air Force ROTC, and compete on UT’s rowing team.


Cole Snodgrass
Cole Snodgrass has been swimming with the Gators since she was 6 years old, making this her 13th summer with the team. Throughout her time as a gator, she has also worked as a swim coach during the winter and summer seasons.  She has loved every minute of it! In addition to swimming for the Gators, also she also swam for Nation's Capital Swim Club and for her high school team, the Saints. 

Cole graduated from St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School where she was a twelve season athlete participating in Field Hockey, Swimming, and Lacrosse. Due to an ACL injury her Junior year, she was the Manager of the Field Hockey team while recovering the fall of her Senior year. In the winter, she returned to Swimming where she was co-captain for the Saints Swim and Dive Team. She was also a member of the National Spanish Honor Society, and ran the Best Buddies Club.

Her favorite part of being a Gator is the Family that our team becomes each Season. She will miss spending her summers with the Gators, but can’t wait to see what her teammates and friends will do in the future. 

Cole will be attending Furman University in the fall, where she hopes to study International Relations while following the pre-health track to be a Physicians Assistant.


And because "Once a Gator, Always a Gator"
Honorary Senior Gators 

Olivia Johannson
Although Olivia’s last official time swimming with MVP was in the summer of 2017, the Gators have remained near and dear to her. Because Gators can perform in water and on land, Olivia is currently spending the summer in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Northern Minnesota, where she is working as a Camp Lead at a remote YMCA wilderness camp. 

Olivia began swimming with the Gators in 2007, at age 6, when MVP was a division 6 team in the NVSL. She was instantly enamored by all the older, fun, and spirited teenage coaches. Thank you Jayne-Marie Haley for convincing Olivia to swim 25 free without her flippers on, and to the entire Phalen family for all the rides in the early morning NCAP swim taxi, Panera breakfasts post-swim, and the constant laughs along the way. It has been an amazing ten years of Gator swim!

To coaches: Paul, Laurel, Deb, Mike, Tim and Jackie, thanks for reminding Olivia how much hard work in the pool pays off outside of the pool. A special thanks to Kelli Makin for keeping Olivia connected to all things Gator through six years of Sunday night winter swim coaching.

Olivia graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. During her time at TJ, Olivia was the editor of Rejected tjTODAY Parody News; a lead actor/featured ensemble member of TJ Theatre Department; Vice-President of Game Theory Society; and Treasurer of German Honor Society.

She heads to Chicago in September to begin studying Manufacturing and Design Engineering at Northwestern University.


Nick Dupuis
, who still owns the MVP 8&U Boys 25m free record with a 16.68 swim, swam on numerous relay teams from 8&U thru 13-14. Nick last swam with the Gators in 2016. Nick will be playing lacrosse for University of Maryland Baltimore County in the fall.

   Lily Penn, swam on numerous relay teams from 8&U thru 13-14. 
A remarkable breaststroke swimmer, she last swam with the Gators in 2018. Unfortunately the team eventually lost her to her true first sport love, cross-country running. In the fall, Lily will be attending Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts to study Engineering.
 


Sean Jansen, swam on numerous relays during his time with the Gators from 8&U until 2017, and held several team records, although now broken by the every quickening Gator boys. Sean had a very successful High School swim career with West Potomac, and will swim for 
University of 
Wyoming.