TURIN — Twin sisters Amelia and Madelyn Hoffman have been competing against each other since before they can remember.
The South Lewis junior duo have helped the team cap off one of its most successful regular seasons in recent years with an 8-4 overall record and 7-3 mark in the Frontier League. The Hoffmans have played a hand in many of those victories this season, including Amelia setting a school record in the 100-yard backstroke in Tuesday’s league finale against Beaver River.
“It was my first time I broke the record at the school and my whole family was here,” Amelia Hoffman said. “It was pretty sweet.”
The twins compete together in girls swimming, volleyball and softball and that spirit has grown since they were born. Longtime South Lewis coach Neil Austin has known the sisters since elementary school and he’s seen their competitive fire up close.
“My favorite line from Madelyn is when you asked who’s older and she says she’s four minutes old and they were the best four minutes of my life.” said Austin, who is in his 20th year in charge of the Falcons’ girl swimming program.
The Hoffmans have tried to pull the usual twin tricks of trying to substitute for one another on relays. However, they learned their lesson when they attempted that deception.
“We have tried switching out in relay, but that didn’t really work out,” Madelyn Hoffman said. “It kind of went downhill.”
This season saw Austin put the sister in the 100 freestyle together on a consistent basis. He said that needed to put them in different events to help balance out the lineup. However, the roster depth has allowed for the twins to compete in the same event. Amelia has come out on top in these races, but that’s only pushed Madelyn to want to overtake her.
“She’d like to beat Amelia, but I don’t know if it’s in the cards this year,” Austin said. “Maybe next year, but we’ll see.”
Despite their competitiveness, the pair support are each other’s biggest fans. They have bookended relays such as the 200 medley like they did against South Jefferson on Sept. 26.
“When they read off the lineup, it says Hoffman at the beginning and Hoffman at the end,” Madelyn Hoffman said. “I was just living the dream when I heard that.”
The Falcons have made strides up the standings the last few seasons and finished second in the “B” Division behind 9-1 Lowville. Both Hoffmans have been part of the team since eighth grade and have seen the improvements.
“I remember being on modified and seeing varsity not winning meets at the time,” Madelyn Hoffman said. “Now we’re finishing the season with a winning record and it’s crazy to compare our times from then to now.”
Austin credits a mix of senior leadership from swimmers like Kayley Walsh and Brooklyn Sullivan and talented youngsters. South Lewis has seen contributions from talented sophomore like Patience Rivers, Shaylagh Randall and freshman Abagail Litts.
“There’s definitely a lot of talent in the younger swimmers,” Amelia Hoffman said. “It’s going to be fun to watch them grow.”
South Lewis will host a pair of nonleague meets against Gouvernuer on Oct. 15 and West Canada Valley on Oct. 18 before the Frontier League meet on Oct. 26 at Thousand Islands.
“If we finish third, I’d be OK with that,” Austin said. “I’d love to finish second ahead of Lowville, but we’ll see how it falls.”
The Falcons will then wrap up the team part of the season in the Section 3 Class C meet on Nov. 8 at Skaneateles. The division contains plenty of solid teams, but Hoffman feels confident South Lewis can do well.
“(Winning) Sectionals is our biggest goal and I think we can do it,” Amelia Hoffman said. “Skaneateles, Syracuse (CBA), Lowville are the really good schools.”