These kids really do want to make a difference. Huntington High School girls swimmers and divers joined their colleagues from Walt Whitman and Harborfields and jumped into the Centerport Yacht Club pool to raise money for Swim Across America’s seventh annual campaign to fight cancer.
The Huntington Town Board honored the teenagers and their coaches during a Wednesday night public meeting Town Hall. Councilman Mark Cuthbertson introduced the group and said they were responsible for raising more than $3,000, which will go to support immunotherapy research at the Swim Across America Laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; lung cancer clinical trials at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; pediatric brain cancer research at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at North Shore University Hospital and pediatric oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Children’s Cancer Hospital.
Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky was on hand at Town Hall to congratulate the Blue Devils and their coaches and to pose with them for a photo. Officials from Harborfields and South Huntington also attended the ceremony.
Whitman and Huntington have combined forces to field one team in the sport and the squad is among the best in Section XI this fall. Whitman coach Rufus Shepard and Blue Devil coaches Chris Helmke and Meg McConnell all have a close relationship with Harborfields coach Kiri Thomsen. So it was only natural that the three schools joined together for the Swim Across America initiative.
The girls swam for 90 minutes at the Centerport Yacht Club’s outdoor pool, doing laps in various styles and enjoying a variety of relays.
The Huntington roster includes Blue Devil captains Ainsley Proctor and Caelan Clayton; seniors Simonne Bielski, Sydney Cordeiro, Rachel Deegan, Abigail Lewis and Grace McCallion; junior Kathryn Montefusco; freshmen Isabelle Gregorio and Josie Sullivan; eighth graders Jessica Lee and Riley Sullivan; and seventh graders Gemma Bedell, Avery Joynt and Ella Van Horn.
“We are so proud of our swimmers,” Coach Helmke said. “It is wonderful that the Huntington Town Board took the time to honor a very special group of young woman.”
The Blue Devil athletic program is in the early stages of promoting community service projects by each varsity/JV team.