February 07, 2014

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Sagasta lives up to family tradition in Ken-West pool

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Sagasta lives up to family tradition in Ken-West pool

BY: Dave Ricci, Sports Reporter | February 07, 2014

It�s a funny thing, being part of a legacy.

In some way, it can certainly open doors for you. But once that door is open, the climb to the top can take a little bit longer because you have to carry the weight of expectations.

Justin Sagasta knows all about it. Every time he walks into the aquatic center at Kenmore West High School he is reminded of the incredible careers his family has had at the school.

A junior in his fourth year with the Blue Devils, Justin is the younger brother of Lindsey and Julia Sagasta and younger cousin, Jackie Sagasta, all of whom excelled during their time in the water for Ken-West.

�Everyone knew as soon as I came in the first day, �Oh another Sagasta. You see them up on the record board,�� Justin said with a smile after the team�s Feb. 3 practice.

Though he is following in the footsteps of his accomplished family members, Justin Sagasta said that seeing how hard his sisters and cousin worked to attain their goals showed him the level of commitment it would take to reach his own dreams.

�Knowing that my sisters had all of the fame I [knew] I kind of had to step in there somewhere,� he said. �So I knew I had to follow in their footsteps and do the best I could.�

Following accomplished family members is a challenge for any student-athlete but Justin has handled it with class and grace. The common thread of swimming certainly bonds the Sagastas as a family, but it doesn�t make them replicas of each other.

Being strong enough to cultivate his own personality that is different from his sisters is part of why Justin has been able to confidently hit the water with the mission of creating his own legend.

He also said that being a male has actually been a plus because he doesn�t necessarily have to face constant comparisons to his older sisters and cousin.

Blue Devils coach Kristin Pucser said Justin�s own personality shines through so strongly and that plays a major role in the senior being confident in his abilities. He doesn�t cave to the pressure of expectations, Pucser noted.

�His personality is like any other,� said Pucser. �He�s funny, he�s interesting. He�s just a go-with-the-flow kind of guy but he knows when to have fun and when to be serious.�

But as Justin Sagasta strives to be his own person he can�t help but smile when he talks about the support from his sister, Lindsey.

�Lindsey always sends me encouraging [texts] while she�s at college,� he noted.

Pucser was also quick to state that Justin Sagasta is the model of sportsmanship. Whether it�s giving words of encouragement to a teammate or shaking hands with an opponent, win or loss, Justin conducts himself with class.

And that respect for the sport, in Justin Sagasta�s eyes, is the most important family legacy he is trying to carry on.

�I try to be fair and say, �good race,�� he said. �I try to always say good luck to everybody before I race them. I just feel like not doing that would be a bad thing.�

Justin has also put up the numbers this season that prove his worth as he broke the school record in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:03.93.

He also took first place in the 500 and 100 breaststroke during the Niagara Frontier League championships.

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