Girls Swimming makes a splash to open up the 2012 season

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Courtesy of Ingrid Fagen

A Port Washington swimmer dives into the water during a race against Levittown, on Monday, Oct. 1. Teams competed in races of freestyle, backstroke, and medleys of varied lengths. Last season, varsity swimming shared the Conference title with Levittown and Lynbrook.

Aaron Brezel and Dierdra Lambartino

The girls swim team has gotten off to a 4-0 start this season, which may come as no surprise after their strong showing last year.

Despite their undefeated start, the team will still have a tough time following last season’s 8-1 record and shared a conference title with Lynbroook and Levittown.

To improve on last season, they will have to better their number 18-ranked finish in the County Championships.

“Right now we want to focus on just getting each girl to swim faster than they did the day before,” said coach Mr. Joe Lennon.  “That may sound simple, but better times will allow us to do things we weren’t able to accomplish last year like gaining sole possession of a conference title and getting a better score county championships.”

Four meets into the season, the team has gotten off to a fast start, winning by an average of 20-30 points.

Highlighting their 92-65 win over Hicksville (0-1) on Sept. 9 at the Port Yacht Club, the swimmers grabbed at least second or third place in nearly all of the events.

“It was really impressive that we were able to excel in so many different races.  It’s a testament to both our versatility and our depth,” said junior Isabelle Fagen.  “We just need to make sure we compete at this high a level every race.”

The girls swim team is no stranger to embarrassing other teams.

Blowouts have also come against Great Neck North (0-2) and Freeport (1-3), by scores of 105-67 and 97-31, respectively.

At this point in the season, the Vikings are well on their way to reaching the next step.

Six athletes have already qualified for the County Championships, including seventh grader Annabelle Corcoran who qualified  for the 50m freestyle, 500m freestyle, and 100m backstroke races.

Other qualifiers were sophomore Emily Flaherty in the 50m freestyle, sophomore Juliet Meyer and junior Catherine Tasnady in diving, junior Sarah Maley in the 500m freestyle, and Fagen in the 200m individual medley, 100m freestyle, and 100m backstroke.

In the standings, they have beaten Lynbrook (1-3), last year’s conference rivals, by a score of 96-74.

A large portion of the varsity squad’s early success can be attributed to the team’s roster expansion to 35 girls, in comparison to the 27 they had a only one season ago.

“With the growth of our roster, we are more competitive not just in meets, but also in practice.  Our new swimmers have a great deal of background and ability.  Their presence makes everyone work harder,” said Coach Lennon.  “I see girls already posting personal records at this early point in the season and that makes me excited about our potential moving forward.”

Looking beyond raw stats and results, the Vikings have emphasized the unity that comes with being a team.

“When I first started there were a lot of cliques and we weren’t united as a team, I think that over time this has changed and now there is a greater level of camaraderie between swimmers,” said senior and captain Dana Mirro.  “We are friends first and teammates second.  Everyone is so supportive of one another and we have the best time at meets and practices.  We’ve also had a significant increase in the number of middle school swimmers which helps develop our swimmers at a young age.”

Head Coach Lennon says that he has particular ways in which he likes to approach swim meets.

“I never like knowing the score before a swim meet ends,” said Coach Lennon.  “I think knowing the score makes for snap decisions that divert my focus from the game plan that I set up beforehand.  I try to plan for each meet and each race meticulously. Once it is set, I prefer to let it ride.”

Coach Lennon also avoids cutting his hair throughout the season.

Whatever effect his long hair has had on the team’s actual performance in the water, his superstitions, practical or not, seem to have worked to perfection thus far.