Labeled as an unsung hero of Branford swimming, 2008 Branford Sports Hall of Fame inductee Susan Lecza has demonstrated leadership, compassion, and devotion in many capacities. As a high school and collegiate swimmer and later as a youth swim coach, tonight’s inductee has made an overwhelming impact on the Shoreline swim program for many to follow.
Attending Branford High School from 1980 to 1984, Sue joined the high school swim team as a freshman and for four years swam the 200 and 500 yard freestyle. In her sophomore year, the Hornets’ swim team went undefeated with a perfect 10-0 record and won the Housatonic League Championship while finishing fourth in the state championship meet. Branford defeated Hand (117-57), West Haven (100-66), Foran (106-68), North Haven (107-60), East Haven (87-85), Seymour (101-67), Sheehan (113-57), Milford (100-70), Amity (99-73), and Cheshire (92-80). During the 1982-83 campaign, the girls’ swim team recorded a 9-2 record, and finished second in the Housatonic League and fourth in the state. In her senior year, she was elected captain and led the Hornets to a 10-1 season. Branford topped Hand (96-72), Seymour (127-45), West Haven (108-64), North Haven (102-70), Sheehan (118-49), Lyman Hall (114-55), East Haven (118-49), Hamden (94-78), Amity (101-71), and Foran (109-63). The lone loss in the season came against Cheshire High School (98-73). An accomplished student, Sue was inducted into the National Honor Society.
Following high school graduation, tonight’s inductee went on to swim at Skidmore College, where again for four years she was a top distance swimmer. She was elected captain in her sophomore, junior and senior year. Sue was a former school record holder in the 500 Freestyle, 1,000 Freestyle, and 1,650 Freestyle and was a qualifier in the ECAC for Division III.
After college, she began a very successful career as an accountant at Beers Hamerman & Company in New Haven. Today she works as controller for Senior Care Development, LLC, a nationally recognized firm specializing in designing, building, maintaining, and operating a full spectrum of senior living facilities such as Branford’s Evergreen Woods. Simultaneously, Sue has served as an assistant coach for the Branford Stingrays swim program. Over the last two decades, she has been a cornerstone of the youth program working with the 11 and 12 year old swimmers, developing in them the fundamental skills, work ethic and team spirit that has resulted in success at the state, regional, and national levels.
Tonight’s inductee has also become a mainstay of the amateur swimming community in Connecticut. As treasurer for Connecticut Swimming and as coordinator of Connecticut Swimming’s age-group camp and clinic programs, she has remained an essential contributor to Branford’s outstanding accomplishments in competitive swimming. On several occasions, Sue has served as a coach of Connecticut Swimming’s All-Star team in the Eastern Zone Championships, a meet involving states from Maine to Virginia. In 2006, Sue was awarded the ConocoPhillips Outstanding Service Award for Connecticut for the work she has done to further USA swimming in Connecticut.
For over 15 years, Sue has conducted a summer swim conditioning clinic that has helped prepare high school and college age swimmers for their upcoming seasons. Five years ago, Sue took on the added responsibility of assistant coach of the girl’s high school swim team. In the fall of 2004, the team raced their way to a 10-2 record en route to a Class M State Championship at Wesleyan University. The following year, 2005, Branford moved up to the Class L Division. The Hornets ended the regular season that year with a record of 9-3, and went on to win another State Championship at Southern Connecticut State University.
Sue joins her coaches and fellow inductees John O’Connor (Class of 1995) and George Miles (2003) into the Branford Sports Hall of Fame.