Stratford High swimmer Claire Noccioli competes every day under the legacy one of her sisters left behind.
Practicing under her name on the SHS Girls Swimming record board inside the Flood Middle School pool, Noccioli has pursued the goal of breaking one of her sister’s school records during her senior year, and she’s not far off—one 14th-hundred of a second away.
Yet, she’s also pursuing a senior year goal of taking the next steps for the rest of her life—including a journey to college and the pursuit of a neuro-science degree so she can become a neurologist. Spurred on by a family member who has been diagnosed with dementia, Noccioli strives to be part of the team that can help find a cure for the disease somewhere down the road.
Armed with these high goals and intense drive, Noccioli took time during a recent practice to go “On the Record” with The Stratford Sports Scene.
STRATFORD SPORTS SCENE: What’s the best thing about Stratford High School?
CLAIRE NOCCIOLI: Just the fact I can go in and talk to anybody. I’m involved in a lot of things, and I feel like it’s something I can look forward to every day. I like going to school and staying after for band and swim practice.
SSS: What’s one thing you would change about the school?
CN: I’d unlock the bathrooms. The second- and third-floor bathrooms on one side of the school are locked at all times. If you have to go, you have to travel. It’s a long walk.
SSS: What teacher or coach has had the biggest impact on you during your time here at SHS?
CN: I’d say my 10th-grade chemistry teacher, Mr. (Daniel) Keavy. He made realize I want to go into science in the first place. I still visit him every day after school and he’s doing one of my college recommendations for me.
SSS: Why did you become a swimmer?
CN: I started swimming when I was 7, mostly because my sisters started swimming. I’d go to their practices and meets and that made me want to start.
SSS: What’s the most difficult part about being a swimmer?
CN: The mental part of it is tough. The pressure you put on yourself to do your best, it’s a lot of stress. During championship season, I put on a lot of pressure on myself.
SSS: What have you gotten out of swimming, what does it give back?
CN: Definitely when you touch the wall and look at the scoreboard, and you did the best you could, and you dropped time, that’s the best thing.
SSS: What is your favorite event and what are your goals during this, your final season?
CN: 100 breast, because that’s what I’m best at. And I’m hoping to break my sister (Ally’s) school record. I’m only 14-hundredths of a second away from her school record.
SSS: The Stratford High swim program has struggled for success in recent years. What does this program mean to you, though?
CN: We’ve had such a small team the last three years, and it’s bigger this year, but I’ve gotten really close to my teammates. We might lose every meet, but we have fun doing it and we’re really close.
SSS: You are the younger sister of triplets (two sisters, Ally and Jenna, and a brother, Sam, who graduated from SHS in 2017). What has that dynamic been like for you?
CN: I think it definitely changed my life, but it made me who I am. It made me push for stuff I wouldn’t have gotten. For example, in third grade, my siblings would come home with homework and my parents would help them, so I’d go to my teacher and ask for more homework so they could help me, too.
SSS: What is your earliest sports memory?
CN: I played soccer. I was a goalie for Sterling House soccer. I was 7 or 8 maybe.
SSS: What scares you?
SSS: What was the last good deed you did for somebody without them asking you?
CN: I was going to say it’s bad I can’t think of one. Wow. Oh, actually, during study hall today my friend was having trouble grasping some AP Bio concepts we were learning so I spent some time trying to help her out.
SSS: If you could live one day as a Disney character, or any movie character or TV character, who would it be and why?
CN: I’m not much of a Disney type of person, but going off the Halloween season, I’d want to be in (the movie) “Halloweentown” and go off into that world they have.
SSS: If you were given the chance to have one do-over in life, what would you do?
CN: I would try as hard as I could to play football for Stratford High School. I’m going to play flag football and it’s fun.
SSS: What was the last book you read, not for school, and give us a one-sentence review?
CN: I re-read the entire Harry Potter Series. “Prisoner of Azkaban” was my favorite. I just love it.
SSS: What is your perfect breakfast?
CN: Eggs, basically. Toast. Or an egg sandwich.
SSS: Your ideal midnight?
CN: Mint chocolate chip ice cream.
SSS: And, your favorite home-cooked meal?
CN: Steak. A Filet Mignon.
SSS: Twenty years from now, what does your life look like?
CN: I want to live in New Orleans. I’ve heard once you go down there you never come back. I want to be a neurologist and do some work on dementia and help get some progress toward a cure.
SSS: What one word best describes you?
CN: I like to think I’m funny.
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