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Marzullo going extra mile for Hubert

Gianna Marzullo is swimming shorter races this year after making Second-Team All-Catholic last year in the 500-meter freestyle. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Gianna Marzullo will do whatever she can to help the team.

And this year, that meant swimming a little less.

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Marzullo is a sophomore at St. Hubert High School, and when she arrived as a freshman, she was an experienced swimmer who could help the Bambies in a lot of ways.

She was immediately selected to swim the 500-meter freestyle race. It’s a huge race, by far the longest individual event, and she was happy to do it.

She was also very good, earning Second-Team All-Catholic in her first year at the school.

It went great, but the problem with that race is it zaps all your energy. So while she was a star in the race, it took away what she could do in the other events.

It’s a problem many successful swimmers in that race have. But Marzullo’s goal wasn’t winning All-Catholic or doing what’s best for her, she wanted to do what’s best for the team, so she happily did it.

But she won’t get a chance to get First-Team this year, at least not in that event.

“I found out I’m more of a sprinter than a distance swimmer, so I’ve been focusing more on the shorter events,” said Marzullo, who is now swimming the 100 freestyle, the 200 individual medley and two relays. “It was hard giving up the 500 free because I loved it, but after I saw myself succeeding a little more in the shorter events, I started to get more confidence in myself because I was doing pretty well.

“I’ll do whatever I can to help the team. I loved last year and I love this year.”

And the Bambies certainly love having her anchor the team.

Hubert, led by coach Annemarie Szambelak, is in the thick of things in the Catholic League. It’s impressive considering Marzullo is the lone club swimmer on the team. She swims with the Hatboro Horsham Aquatic Association, and while she attends its practices a few times a week, she also makes time to practice with her Hubert teammates.

While there, she’s not just making herself better. She’s happy to share tips and give advice to the other swimmers. It helps. Some of them are novice swimmers, but she loves to see the improvement that they’ve made during the season.

“I usually split the times, I practice three times with the club team and three with Hubert’s,” said Marzullo, who lives in Fox Chase. “I usually swim up to 10 hours a week in the pool. It’s not that much, broken up to an hour or an hour and a half. It can get tiring, but I’ve learned to balance it out after doing it for so long.

“I really love helping people get better, and if anyone needs help, I’ll help. Sometimes if they ask me something, if they’re doing something for the first time, they’ll ask how do you swim this. I don’t coach them, I give them pointers on how to do their best. I love working with them. And they work hard, they’ve all gotten a lot better.”

She takes that same attitude to other aspects of her life at Hubert.

She’s a member of the Bambi Ambassador program, which helps future Bambies learn about the school. She’s also a member of Athletes Helping Athletes. She loves both clubs for different reasons.

“I love being an ambassador because I really love the school,” said Marzullo, who anchors two relay teams at Hubert. “We help at events, open house, shadow days, scholarship tests, practice tests. I like it because I really love Hubert’s.

“I love Athletes Helping Athletes, it’s such a great program. I love it, my freshman year I saw it on the activities fair, but I didn’t sign up. And then when I saw all the great stuff they did and heard all about it, it sounded like such a fun thing, and it really is. I’m actually the sophomore class rep, so when we receive emails from our moderator, I make sure they have that information.”

She’s also a leader away from school.

She has a brother Dominic, who is in eighth grade, and a sister, Francesca, who is in fourth grade. The youngest member of the family is her dog Ditto.

They all get along, and her younger siblings look up to her. Well, at least two of them.

“I’m really close with my brother, and I’m close with my sister, too,” Marzullo said. “We all love each other. I’m there for all of them, and they’re good. They listen to me. Not Ditto, though.

“My sister is a very good gymnast. My brother was a swimmer. We work out at the gym together but we don’t swim because he stopped swimming, but he’s more of a football player now.”

Marzullo and her mates still have a lot of work to do in the pool. Then it’s time for postseason swimming, which includes All-Catholics, Districts and possibly states.

Either way, it’s been a year of improvement, and she plans on working hard to continue getting better.

“I love our team, I feel like you feel the sisterhood bond carry over to all the sports teams,” Marzullo said. “We’re like one big happy family. Our coach has a lot to do with that. She keeps us together when we win and when we don’t win.

“I really think we can have a great finish. We are all working hard, and have goals. Everyone on the team works so hard. It’s been great.”

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