Record-Shattering Sprinter Swierbut, Golf Champ Brestovansky Earn Athlete Of Year Accolades
Among the many talented and hard-working athletes who completed ultra successful high school careers this spring are Carly Swierbut and David Brestovansky who, for their performances on the track, ice surface, and golf course, have been selected as The Newtown Bee’s Newtown High School Athletes of the Year.
Swierbut, a team captain and four-year varsity athlete, holds several track and field team records and was a part of the program’s outdoor conference championships two seasons in a row.
“Carly has been an honor to work with. She is the first one to practice and the last one the last one to leave. Some people are born with talent, which I believe Carly was, but more so, she works harder than anyone to constantly improve. As a first-year coach, Carly was a blessing to have on the team. She was like having another assistant coach. I could trust her to teach and mentor the younger athletes. Her talent and her work ethic were inspiring to all of the newer athletes,” said Becky Knapp, Swierbut’s coach during indoor and outdoor track this past winter and spring.
Swierbut holds the following school records: The indoor 55 meter dash (7.26 seconds), 300 (40.48), 4x200 relay (1:50), and 4x400 (4:09.17); and outdoor 100 (12.2), 200 (24.97), 400 (55.42), 4x100 (49.74), 4x200 (1:51.54), and sprint medley relay (4:18.66). Her marks in the 200, 300, and 400 records are South-West Conference records as well.
She earned All South-West Conference accolades in multiple events, indoor and outdoor, during the past few seasons. Swierbut’s other career highlights include going All New England in the 300 during indoor track, earning All State recognition, and winning the State Open title in the 400 during the 2018 outdoor campaign. Swierbut laced up her running shoes at the national level to compete in the 400 at the 2018 outdoor season National Championships and raced in the 400 at the indoor national meet this past winter.
Although she makes running at a high level look easy, it’s not so simple.
“Practice is tough, especially in the middle of the season. Everybody can physically do it. It comes down to mentally handling the workouts and handling the race,” Swierbut said.
Swierbut first got involved with track like many in the sport do: to prepare for another sport. In her case, soccer.
“It’s been amazing. I’m so lucky to have the support system I’ve had, and the coaching I’ve had has been second to none,” Swierbut said.
Swierbut attributes the success the track and field program experienced, including dethroning champion perennial SWC powerhouse Weston in her sophomore outdoor slate, then repeating the feat her junior year, to the collective effort in an individual sport.
“I feel like it was the culmination of everyone pushing each other,” she said.
Swierbut has also played lacrosse. She played soccer for three seasons at NHS, but the college-bound runner opted to hang up the soccer cleats this past fall.
“I really didn’t want to stop playing. I didn’t want to risk injury,” she said.
Swierbut was recruited to sprint at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. where she plans to study neuroscience and go pre-med. Swierbut is looking forward to joining one of her good friends, former NHS golf standout Sarah Houle, in competing at the Division I level at William & Mary.
“I’m excited for another level of intensity,” Swierbut said.
Brestovansky was the captain of the hockey and golf teams and a four-year varsity team member in both sports. He is a two-time individual SWC champion at Ridgewood Country Club, earning the top golfer recognition as a junior and senior. He was All Division as a junior and an All-SWC First Team selection as a senior. Brestovansky helped the Nighthawk golfers to the SWC team championship in his freshman season.
“David brought consistency to one of the most difficult sports to be consistent. Consistency can be measured in a few ways. The first is he consistently improved since his freshman year. David works meticulously on improving his game. A lot of kids think playing nine or 18 holes is practicing. David chips, putts, hits on the range, and plays to become a better player. Secondly, I felt confident we would compete with the best teams in the league because he was always going to post a great number. As a coach, it is a great feeling knowing that you have one of the best high school golfers around teeing off and giving you the lead to start the match,” said Bobby Pattison, head coach of the golf team.
“You’ve got to grind hard for a long time to really see results,” Brestovansky said of improving at golf.
“David has been one of the most dedicated, hardworking student athletes to come through the Nighthawk hockey program,” said Paul Esposito, coach of the NHS hockey team.
“David was a four-year varsity player who bled blue and gold for the team, school, and town. David was always invested into every part of the team and helping it grow to what it is today. We hope future student-athletes follow his example and stay loyal to the school hockey team, ultimately helping establish a strong caliber team.”
Brestovansky earned First Team All State honors his junior and senior seasons on the ice. His 94 career points are tied for second place program history with Evan Isaacs.
Brestovansky earned the team’s Coaches Award in 2019, was team Most Valuable Player in 2018, and had points in both playoff games to help the team capture its first SWC championship in 2017.
While golf and hockey both require an athlete to swing a piece of equipment to make contact with the ball or puck, that is where the similarities end.
“Golf is a lot more mental than hockey is, by far. It’s all about getting your mind in the right zone,” Brestovansky said. “Golf’s all numbers. You can clearly tell what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.”
Although it takes a collective effort for team success on the course, golf is very much an individual sport, while hockey is team game, but it was the team aspect of both sports that Brestovansky enjoyed most about his high school playing career.
Brestovansky will attend High Point University in High Point, N.C. He hopes to walk on with the golf team and might play on the school’s club hockey team.
“I’m really excited,” added Brestovansky, who will study business.
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