The Huntington High School girls’ swimming and diving team is ready to make a splash as it eyes its rescheduled season, now slated for March-April.
The Blue Devils are typically in the outdoor pool at the for Bay Club for late August practices. But the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the season from being held in the fall. Section XI rescheduled fall sports for the late winter/early spring time period.
Huntington returns all of its swimmers and divers from last year. The group includes freshman Zoey Rosario; sophomore Kathryn Montefusco; juniors Simonne Bielski-Gregorio, Caelan Clayton, Sydney Cordeiro, Rachel Deegan, Abigail Lewis, Grace McCallion and Ainsley Proctor; and seniors Claire Conner and Angie Mata.
“I’m really sad that the season is delayed because swimming gave me something to look forward to, especially since it’s normally in the beginning on the school year so with all the new classes and everything it’s almost like an escape and with everything being closed due to COVID it would have given me an opportunity to be more active,” Deegan said. “Heading into the new year I have a lot of faith in the team as we all have grown close to each other in such little time and we also happen to work great as a team. I’m excited to see what new members we will have in March.”
The Blue Devils are coached by J. Taylor Finley Middle School science teacher Christopher Helmke. The team finished ninth among 25 teams at last year’s Section XI championships.
Montefusco is clearly the star of the team. The teenager was All-County and All-State in the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke as a freshman last year. She’s looking to climb the victory ladder even higher this coming season.
Clayton was All-League in three events last fall, placing among the best in the 200 medley relay, 100 butterfly and 400 freestyle relay.
“Obviously the team is very disappointed about the season being delayed, but we feel it was the right decision for the safety and health of everyone,” Clayton said. “We’re excited that we will still be able to have a season in March. Our team looks good heading into the new year, although most of the team hasn’t been able to practice in months, I have faith that the team will come together once we can all get back in the pool.”
The Blue Devils all wish the COVID-19 pandemic never happened. Some of the reasons they would have preferred the season to remain in the fall are interesting and personal.
“I wish we didn’t have to start swim late this season because it’s hard since I’m a senior now with loads of homework and searching for a college,” Conner said. “But I do miss everyone on the team. We have most of the girls coming back to swim this year. I can hopefully find some more girls to join us this swim season.”
The team welcomes new swimmers and divers. Interested in joining the Blue Devils in the pool? Send a message to Coach Helmke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m really looking forward to the high school swimming season this spring,” Montefusco said. “We were very fortunate to only graduate one senior from the team last year, so hopefully we will have everyone else returning to the team. For me personally, although it was a little disappointing that it got delayed from the normal fall season, I think it may be for the best because my club team lost a few months of practice time in the pool earlier this year due to the pandemic. So I think the extra time should help me get back into condition by spring. Hopefully we’ll all be ready to go when the season is ready to start!”