Sports Person of the Week
Zito Showing Promise in the Pool as a Freshman
Victor Zito is displaying plenty of potential as a freshman member of the Greater New Haven Warriors co-op swim squad. (Photo courtesy of Victor Zito )
Victor Zito participated in a few different sports while growing up in North Haven, but when he started high school, Victor knew that swimming was the one he was going to stick with. Now, Victor is honing his skills and working hard to become the best swimmer he can be as a freshman with the Greater New Haven Warriors co-op squad.
Victor jumped in the pool when he started taking swim lessons in North Haven as a 2nd-grader. Victor’s parents, Chris and Lusia, encouraged him to give swimming a try and, once he started competing, Victor fell in love with the sport.
“I had done other sports before, but I wasn’t really into them. I wasn’t feeling up to those other sports. The only other one that I had was swimming,” says Victor. “At first, I thought that this wasn’t going to work. As I tried it more and more, I eventually got to the point where I liked it a lot. I really love it.”
When he was 11, Victor joined the Hamden North Haven Swimming program under coach Rick Lucan. While he isn’t currently a member of that team, Victor plans on returning after the high school season in order to swim as much as he can. No matter where he’s competing, Victor has a personal drive to succeed and gets additional motivation to do so from his family, friends, and teammates.
“I keep getting motivated by my friends, teammates, and parents. They’re telling me I’m a good swimmer and I should keep this going,” Victor says. “They tell me I’ll get better and better and better. I want to become better. I want to become really good at it.”
Victor is in the midst of his freshman season with the Greater New Haven Warriors—a co-op boys’ swimming and diving team that features athletes from North Haven, Guilford, East Haven, and North Branford. Initially, Victor was a bit nervous about hitting the water with his new squad. However, after receiving some friendly greetings from his teammates, Victor started to settle in quite nicely.
“At first, I was nervous to be on the team. I had no idea. This was just my first year, and I wasn’t sure what to do,” says Victor. “When I showed up to practice, I got pretty much warm welcomes from everyone. The coaches were telling me the exact same thing. I’ve gotten used to the practices, and I think I’m pretty much good to go.”
This winter marks Victor’s first season working with Warriors’ Head Coach Martha Phelan. While Victor may be new to the team, Coach Phelan says that he displayed a great work ethic right away and is doing everything he can to improve his swimming skills.
“Victor has created a spot for himself on the roster by an impressive work ethic and the desire to be better. Victor is not afraid to communicate what he finds difficult. He shares how he will make adjustments or goals to improve,” Coach Phelan says. “Victor has a quiet demeanor, but is an intense competitor. It is rewarding for a coach when an athlete looks for guidance and ways to grow. He is a joy to coach.”
The Warriors have been competing in virtual meets during the 2021 season. Although this new type of format might be difficult for some swimmers, Victor finds that it’s actually making his transition to the team that much easier.
“For me to swim with my teammates, it has made it better for me,” Victor says. “I don’t have to worry about the other team. I can just worry about what I am doing. My teammates motivate me to do what I do and to swim better.”
Victor’s goals with the Warriors are to help the club have another solid season, while also developing as both a swimmer and a teammate. Victor appreciates how much his teammates have helped him in his freshman campaign, and that makes him want to encourage and offer support for his fellow Warriors. Victor primarily swims the 100 butterfly and sprint freestyle events with the team.
“When I first started with swimming, I was a freestyler and a backstroker. Now, I’m a freestyler and a butterflyer,” says Victor. “I always wanted to get better at freestyle. I wanted to learn how to do my flip turns and streamlines the right way. I’m starting to do them the right way. Butterfly was more difficult. I had to learn how to do the movements. My shoulders are so used to it now.”
It didn’t take long for Victor to develop his passion for swimming. Now a member of the Warriors, Victor is looking forward to competing alongside his teammates, while maximizing his potential in the pool through the next few years.
“I’ve been competing for a long time. Since I’ve gotten so good at the sport, it would be wise to keep doing it more often,” Victor says. “I want to learn and take from what Martha told me. I want to take my skills to my club and learn that way. When the next season starts, I’ll be ready to go.”