The Huntington girls’ swimming team has been competitive during the opening weeks of the season, splitting its first four meets of the fall campaign.
The Blue Devils lost many of their best performers to graduation last June, including Suffolk diving champion Tricia Arceri, state qualifier Sigrid Cassell as well as Francine Nastasi and Gaia D’Anna.
Huntington spent the first three weeks of the season practicing outdoors at the Bay Club. The Blue Devils then moved indoors to their traditional training site at the YMCA.
The Blue Devils have claimed victories over West Babylon (95-77) and Central Islip (90-74) and dropped meets to Connetquot (90-82) and Half Hollow Hills (95-80).
Huntington’s ten swimmers include eighth graders Leigh Hepworth and Kathryn Montefusco, freshmen Caelan Clayton, Sydney Cordeiro and Abigail Lewis, sophomore Claire Conner, junior Alice Bradford and seniors Hannah Bailin, Emma Farrell and Evelyn Hernandez. Bailin and Farrell are the Blue Devils’ captains.
“The season is going really well so far and I can say all the rest of the girls agree,” Bailin said. “We’ve been working hard at practice for the past few weeks and two wins have resulted from that hard work. I’m very proud of how the team has pulled together over the past few years and I’m excited to see how the rest of the season turns out for us.”
Head coach Christopher Helmke and assistant coach Meg McConnell are busy working with the team to sharpen their techniques and peak their performances. Clayton and Montefusco are expected to pace Huntington and be among Suffolk’s best swimmers.
Walt Whitman High School has once again combined with Huntington for the season. Rufus Shepard is South Huntington’s liaison to the Blue Devil program. Two other Suffolk League I teams are feature a combination of two high schools, including Connetquot/East Islip and Commack/Northport.
Six Whitman athletes are swimming on the combined squad, including a seventh grader, three freshmen, one sophomore and one junior. Overall, it is a very young team.
“It’s a rebuilding year with a new group of young swimmers that have excellent skills,” Helmke said. “We look forward to seeing how the season unfolds.”