Newtown High School senior swimming captain Mary Hufziger capped off her successful high school career this fall, ending a decade of Hufziger swimming success with the Nighthawks. She is the third Newtown captain in the Hufziger family; two of her three brothers were captains in prior years.
Daniel was a captain in the 2010-11 season, and Adam was a captain in the 2013-2014 season. Mary went from the sidelines of her brothers’ meets to her own successes in the water.
Mary carried out her passion for swimming by following the path of her brothers.
“Mary has three older brothers, so from a very early age she was always at some sporting event or another. Her brothers all played soccer in addition to swimming, so she was kicking a ball around on the sidelines or in the water swimming alongside them since she was a toddler. This led to many years as both a travel soccer player and a competitive swimmer, following in her brothers’ footsteps from a very young age,” Evelyn Hufziger, Mary’s mother, said.
The oldest of the four siblings, Kyle, also competed at Newtown High, running cross country.
While following her brothers’ footsteps, Mary made a name for herself throughout her high school career, including receiving her varsity letter and reaching the state open qualifier all four years, being the first Newtown swimmer to qualify for All-State three times, holding nine team records and the South-West Conference record for the 200 freestyle relay with her teammates Eliza Eggleston, Mandy Mele, and Amy Martinelli (this relay team won the Class LL state championship in 2014), as well as much more.
“I’m grateful for everything I’ve experienced over the past four years and have learned a lot between coming in as a rookie freshman and finishing as a captain of the team,” Mary said.
Swimming does not stop in high school for Mary. Like her brother Dan, Mary qualified for the YMCA National Team, and is preparing for the short course National championship in the spring, readying herself for four years of collegiate swimming.
Although unsure of what college she will be attending, Mary plans to “definitely still maintain my highly competitive swimming career in the future.” And she can do just that, currently deciding among the many schools, including some with Division I programs, that have recruited her.
“Mary was recruited to swim by a number of Division I and III schools, and she plans to compete in college. Doing well in high school and on her club team really opened the door to collegiate recruiting,” Paul Hufziger, Mary’s father, said.
Mary’s swimming career began inadvertently. Originally, her parents signed up Mary and her brothers for swimming lessons as a safety precaution for when their family went out on the sailboat they owned. These childhood swim lessons soon became a driving force in her life.
“I was placed into swimming lessons soon after taking my first steps and began to love the water with all the challenges it posed,” Mary said.
Swimming, for Mary, is about more than the water and its challenges. In addition to Mary’s numerous achievements in the water, swimming also helped forge the many relationships she has today.
“Besides the obvious pride in her championship meet qualifications and high school records, one thing that makes me very proud is the relationships Mary has built with her team members,” Evelyn said.
Through the club and high school swim teams Mary has been on, she has been able to find inspiration and friends that she would not have otherwise. While these bonds were created due to Mary swimming, none of it would have been possible without her brothers’ influence.
“Ever since my brother Daniel got school records and his name up on the record board, I knew I wanted to have my name right up there with him. He inspired me to always aim higher and do the best of my capabilities,” Mary said. “Having both Adam and Daniel as captains of the boys’ swim team also served as a role model for how I should act as a leader and pushed me to become captain of the girls’ team as well.”
“As Mary’s oldest brother that swam, I believe I was an influential role model throughout her career. We always had friendly competition between us. I would always joke around saying that I would be disappointed in her if her name up wasn’t on the record board next to mine. I think it secretly added fuel to the fire. She’s a competitor through and through. On days I told her I thought she should rest, she would wake up at 4:30 in the morning to go practice before school. She brought up the caboose of the Hufziger swimmers that will hopefully leave a positive influence on Newtown swimming for years to come. I couldn’t be more proud of everything she has accomplished so far in her career and I can’t wait to see what is next,” Daniel said.
With support from her brothers, friends, coaches, and parents, Mary has created an undying passion for swimming that included doubling up with practices before and after school to prepare for big meets. That, with the amount of success she has had, stands to propel her into a successful collegiate career. It is the end of an era for Newtown High School swimming, but the start of a new one in the Hufziger family.