Swim team’s performance at counties bodes well for the future

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Roslyn’s junior Riely Beckstrand (far left) dives off the platform during the 500-yard freestyle. He finished in 26th place.

Aaron Brezel, Assistant Sports Editor

Junior Gavin Walsh climbs out of the pool after his 21st place finish in the 100-yard backstroke. His time will not net the joint Port Washington-Roslyn swim team any points, yet his demeanor conveys a more positive attitude.

Less focused on beating the competition and more on bettering himself, Walsh’s philosophy reflects that of the Port Washington-Roslyn Swim team as they competed in the 10 other events at the Nassau County Swimming Championships.

On Feb. 11, eight members of the Port Washington-Roslyn boys swim team took to the pool for the annual County Swimming Championships.  The event, at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in Eisenhower Park, featured the best swimming talent in the county, including athletes looking to compete at the state level.

The meet began at 6 p.m., as swimmers took to the pool before an enthusiastic crowd.

The swimmers’ speed was tested in the 200-meter medley relay. The four-man team consisted of Roslyn sophomores Reilly Beckstrand, Matt Terbancea, junior captain Will Smith and Roslyn’s junior captain, Alex Vincent. As a beep signaled the start of the race, got off to a quick start, for which they earned eleventh place in the first length.

By the end of the third length, Port-Roslyn was in thirteenth place overall.  A disqualification on the home stretch eliminated them from the race.

The team’s fortune improved as the night wore on.  Smith and Vincent redeemed themselves with the help of freshman Nathan Yang and junior Jerry Li, both from Roslyn, as they gave the team’s best performance of the night in the 200-yard freestyle relay.  A strong final length by Vincent allowed Port-Roslyn to capture 12th place and 18 points for the team. With many boys finishing in the lower quarter of the top twenty, the team was, at least, consistent.

“This is the most well balanced team that I have ever coached,” said Coach Joe Lennon.  “I think one of our biggest accomplishments was the fact that we qualified in 11 of the 12 events.  While we didn’t place in the top ten I’m glad that many of the swimmers are posting their best times of the year.  With such a youthful team, just placing anywhere in the top twenty is a good sign as we continue to build the program.”

Top twenty is the goal for many teams, as each race is tallied using a point system that grants the top twenty racers points for their team.  If a racer’s time is good enough, he qualifies for the New York State Championships in Webster, near Rochester.

Five days earlier, four members of the swim team participated in the Nassau County Diving Championships.  To qualify, each participant must amass twelve dives during the regular season.  Junior Derek Moss, sophomore Scott McCann, junior Gavin Walsh, and senior captain Andrew Cullen placed 26th, 28th, 29th, and 30th out of 30 divers.  Unfortunately, each diver fell short of his personal record.

“We did as well as we could, and that’s all we can ask of ourselves,” said Cullen.

At the conclusion of both events, Port-Roslyn finished in the middle of the pack.

Despite the divers’ lack of success, their performance must be put into perspective.  Unlike many of the other teams, Port-Roslyn does not have an intensive diving program.

“We knew it was going to be tough to go in there and place well considering most of the guys we dove against are either professionally trained or been diving for a much longer time than we have,” said Walsh.

Additionally, of the ten athletes who competed in the swimming and diving championships, only Cullen is graduating.

“I see good things for us next season. We have guys who do well in each event so all we need is to improve on what we already have,” said Walsh.