Huntington High School’s boys swimmers and divers returned to the pool in early January for a condensed winter season. The squad, which is a combined team effort with nearby Walt Whitman and Harborfields, has been impressive.
“The season was a long time coming, but the team is happy to be back at it, even in its shortened format that doesn’t include a state championship,” said Meg McConnell, Huntington’s longtime coach. “The no states is a bit tough to swallow knowing the strength of the team our chance to hopefully send a few boys and even a relay to the meet.”
The Blue Devil, Whitman and Harborfields swimmers and divers blend together perfectly well. The athletes are friends and complement each other in every way.
Navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping the team together and maintaining the program has required constant attention for many months, but the effort has paid off handsomely.
“Like all other teams we continually communicated throughout the fall keeping the boys motivated and making sure everybody would be ready to be in the water the first moment we were allowed,” McConnell said. “COVID-19 has brought several changes to our workout routine and cut our daily pool time by 25 percent, but the boys remain resilient and spirited to do their best. Section XI rules gave our dual meets a different feel with no spectators, but that didn’t stop the boys from putting forth a tremendous every time off the blocks and the board.”
The team has compiled a 5-2 dual meet record, which puts it in third place in Suffolk League I heading into the championships.
“The first loss to perennial powerhouse Half Hollow Hills was a great meet for the boys yet the second loss was a tough and unexpected one to Sachem, but the team is ready to straighten out the record in the pool this Saturday,” McConnell said.
The team is set for Saturday’s championships with a lineup designed “to capitalize on all the boys’ strengths, starting right with the first event with our medley relay which is ranked second in the county,” McConnell said. “The individual events will be tackled handily by high ranked swimmers and diver Jonathan Larice, Pierre Leroy, Evan Spagnoletti, Joe Tonna and returning three time league champ Alex Zhang. Ryan Dupree, Rhany Georges, Tyler Hutton, Ian Reynolds and Will Weber are also key point scorers.”
Helping the team maximize the team’s scoring potential will be Connor Asma, Ryan Cook, Matt Mejia and Jack Thompson.
“A linchpin to our success this year has been our 200 & 400 free relays and they are sure to prevail at leagues, garnering a nice batch of points,” McConnell said.
The league championships got off to a great start on Thursday night when Zhang won the league diving crown. The action continues this weekend with the swimming events.
All things considered the team has come together nicely. “Heading to the leagues with such a strong team and only two seniors sets the stage for quite a interesting meet next year,” McConnell said. “But first, the focus is Saturday morning at Sachem and then the county championships next week.”