Sometimes all it takes is a fresh perspective.
That's exactly what Hoosac Valley senior swimmer Cori Ghidotti needed for her final season in the pool. It spurred her to the All-Eagle girls swimming MVP award.
"I was really looking forward to having fun and succeeding at the same time," she said. "I really think that our whole team accomplished that, not just myself."
Her new mindset came after spending a season away from the high school swimming season, instead opting to swim at the club level for Williamstown-based Purple Valley Aquatics.
Ghidotti said she and long-time best friend and fellow swimmer Alyssa Bush had swam for both teams in the past, but the choice was made based on looking for something a little different.
"Both of us kind of wanted to get a different feel for the water and just get some different points of view from some different coaches," Ghidotti said.
Before this season, rumors were circulating about their return to the Hurricanes, but nothing was certain until the first day of practice.
"But I'm glad they did," Hoosac coach Eryn Brewer said. "They helped the team dynamic a lot. They're very hard workers."
The biggest difference for Ghidotti making her return was the workload the schedule had waiting. With PVA, she said, she may swim an event just once a month. There were many times this winter she was swimming two meets in the same week.
"Coming back I could definitely see a difference toward the end of the year," she said.
She certainly made the most of her final postseason, but it shouldn't have been that big of a surprise.
In 2012, Ghidotti dropped about 4 seconds off her seed time in the 100 breaststroke -- her best event -- at the Western Massachusetts meet, she said. She came in third in 1 minute, 10.58 seconds.
This winter, she came into Western Mass. seeded eighth in the breaststroke. Her seed time was 1:13.91. She blew that out of the water, dropping more than 5 seconds to finish second in 1:08.85.
"I knew that going into that pool [Springfield College], I like swimming that event in that pool," she said. "So going into there, I had worked with PVA and Eryn, our high school coach, on certain techniques. I knew that just little things like your hips, driving into the wall, just little things with that particular stroke can really improve your overall race."
She nearly hit the mark again at states, finishing only .03 slower, highlighting how mental of a sport swimming is. Her time was one of her best ever, but it was slower than a week prior.
Ghidotti said she understands a huge portion of swimming is being mentally strong, and that helped her success this season.
"Sometimes you can break yourself down really fast even if you don't get a best time by .1 seconds, you really get down on yourself because it's so mental," she said. "I feel like I'm a mental swimmer, and I need to be relaxed and having fun instead of being really serious."
Brewer has seen Ghidotti rise to the occasion time and again and talks about it as if it's expected.
"I think she's just able to clear her mind when she actually goes into those big races and just kind of say, ‘This is what I'm here to do. This is what I want to do,' " Brewer said. "And she tries to do it. She just does what she's trained for."
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