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Steward to host biggest cleanup of the year Sept. 21

Coastal Steward board members and local divers plunge into Port Jefferson Harbor Aug. 18. Photo from Coastal Steward

There are monsters off the coast of the North Shore, but not the kind with purple tentacles and razor teeth. Some are man made.

The Coastal Steward boat is regularly used in beach cleanups. Photo from Coastal Steward

The nonprofit Coastal Steward Long Island has been hosting underwater cleanups in Port Jefferson Harbor for the past three years. This is amongst its other activities being the steward of the Town of Brookhaven’s Mariculture Facility in Mount Sinai while hosting beach cleanup brigades and educational seminars for adults and kids alike. But the nonprofit’s volunteers have been looking for a deeper clean beyond the shore.

Ashly Carabetta, executive director for Coastal Steward, said the garbage one sees when relaxing on the sandy shore is only a small part of the debris that sits in the ocean.

“This is our effort to go beyond the regular beach cleanup and extend it to underwater,” she said. “The trash that you see on the shoreline goes far beyond what is there.” 

Deeper into the water many of the heavier objects have no chance to wash up on shore. Denis Mellett, president of the Coastal Steward’s board, is a local diver and dive instructor. He has assisted with diving cleanups all around Long Island, but said they chose Port Jefferson Harbor for their close working connection with the village. Other municipalities on Long Island, he said, can be hesitant to allow these cleanups when they could be liable for the divers well-being. 

The board president said most people rarely think about what garbage has sunk to the bottom of the water. The rest of the garbage is often located closer to the shore underwater.

“The only stuff you often see or think about is stuff that floats,” Mellett said. “Typically, closer to shore is where you find the vast bulk of that debris.”

Coastal Steward board members and local divers plunge into Port Jefferson Harbor Aug. 18. Photo from Coastal Steward

The first cleanup took place in 2017, but last year the group had to cancel due to inclement weather. During the last underwater cleanup, which took place Aug. 18, 27 divers splashed underwater, going down to about 20 feet below the surface. Many were Coastal Steward board members.  

“Divers tend to be very conscious of the environment, because it’s where we spend our time,” he said. “It’s like hikers. Hikers tend to take care of the woods, divers tend to take care of the ocean.”

In past underwater dives, the group has come up with umbrellas and engine parts, and they have even found soda and milk bottles from all the way back to the 1940s. One memorable piece of debris was a 10-foot rolled-up rug that Carabetta found at the bottom of Port Jefferson Harbor. At the time, some feared what they might find rolled up in such a large rug, but they were relieved to find nothing inside.

Much of the debris, like small boats or parts of engines, actually become part of the marine life’s habitat, so they don’t remove it. However, they also find parts such as vehicle batteries, which can release toxic materials into the water. Objects like those are especially what the Coastal Steward looks for in these underwater cleanups.

“Typically, it’s down there until it’s buried in sand or silt, or a diver goes in there and brings it up,” Mellett said.

Despite what may come out of the harbor during these dives, Mellett said the true purpose is to gather interest in doing their regular beach cleanups and as part of their educational services, especially trying to get people to be more conscious of what and where they toss away.

“You can clean the beach every single day but as the tide goes in and out it brings in more garbage,” he said. “The only way you can make a significant dent is if you can keep the garbage out of the water in the first place.”

The Coastal Steward is hosting its largest beach cleanup of the year Sept. 21 at the far side Pirate’s Cove in Port Jefferson. The organization will be using its boat to take people up to that area, and if they gather enough volunteers, they will take people further up, across to the western side of McAllister Park. Volunteers will meet at Anchorage Road South in Belle Terre village at 8:30 a.m. before marshaling out. People can visit www.coastalsteward.org or call 631-941-6528 for more information.

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Undefeated Tigers boast strong swimmers, maintaining streak with no divers

Northport freshman Aiden Greenfield, won the 200-meter and 500 freestyle events, and was a member of the first-place 200 freestyle relay quartet. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Not fielding a single diver doesn’t faze the Northport boys swim team.

It hasn’t effected a single meet’s outcome yet either, as the Tigers edged previously undefeated Connetquot on the road Dec. 18, 93-90, for their fourth win of the season.

Being down 13 points before the first gun ever sounds has its challenges though, according Northport head coach Drew Modrov’s athletes though, especially when up against a strong swim team like the Thunderbirds have.

“Connetquot’s always a fierce team — we have kind of a rivalry with them — so we always know that when we come here it’s going to be a close meet,” the coach said. “It’s intense, and every point is going to matter. I’m just happy we came away with the win.”

The Greenfield brothers boasted big point totals for the Tigers.

Northport senior Zach Papsco clocked in with a state-qualifying time in the 100-meter butterfly, and was first to the block in the 100 breaststroke. Photo by Bill Landon

Senior Ethan Greenfield, along with 200-meter medley relay teammates Nick Millkey and Zach Papsco and Dylan Karpf, came in first with a state-qualifying time of 1 minute, 40.25 seconds. He added to Northport’s point total with a state-qualifying times of 22.05 in the 50 freestyle and 48.73 in the 100 freestyle.

“A lot of our guys came up big — Ethan Greenfield had a couple of best times in crucial wins,” Modrov said. “It was Ethan’s personal best in the 50 free.”

Freshman Aidan Greenfield, Ethan’s younger brother, won both the 200 and 500 freestyle events, and was a member of the first-place 200 freestyle relay quartet.

“I thought that the turning point was the 500 free — we went out and finished first and third, which dropped us even,” said Karpf, the only sophomore on the 200 medley relay. “And the last relay is what I thought really cemented it for us.”

Each member of the 200 medley also shined individually.

Papsco clocked in with a state-qualifying time of 53.57 in the 100 butterfly, and was first to hit the pad in the 100 breaststroke. Millkey won the 200 individual medley, and followed it up with a victory in the 100 backstroke, also stopping the clock with his own state championship time: 54.43.

Modrov said he was particularly impressed by the performances of his underclassmen, noting Aidan Greenfield and freshman Austin Neuf’s high placements.

“At the end we had a great swim from Austin Neuf, a freshman who took second place in the 100 breaststroke, and that put us over the edge and helped us win the meet,” the coach said.

After the holiday break Northport is back in action at Ward Melville Jan. 5. The meet is currently slated to begin at 4:30 p.m.

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Tricia Arceri flips into the pool. File photo by Darin Reed

Tricia Arceri always has a list of goals she is striving to attain. One of them has been to reach the medal platform at the New York State diving championships. The Huntington junior can now put a check next to that one after finishing fifth out of 43 divers Nov. 18 at Ithaca College.

Tricia Arceri leaps off the board. File photo by Darin Reed
Tricia Arceri leaps off the board. File photo by Darin Reed

Arceri was in eighth place after the first round of the state championships and was sixth following the semifinals. The diver moved up to fifth place following the final-round dives.

“I had a great meet,” Arceri said. “I set a goal to be on the podium and achieved it taking fifth place. My new goal for next year is to be on the top of that podium.”

Prior, Arceri won the county crown with a record-setting score Nov. 4.

“Tricia walked onto the deck for the county diving championships knowing she was already headed to the state championships [after earlier meeting the qualifying standard],” said Meg McConnell, who coaches Huntington’s divers and serves as assistant to Blue Devils head coach Christopher Helmke. “She completed an undefeated dual-meet season, won the Sachem diving invitational as well as handily winning the six dive events at the League I championships. … It was time to get the county championships win.”

Arceri’s first county’s effort, a required back dive, was nearly flawless, garnering the teenager four 10s out of a possible five. “As the preliminary round continued she remained in the lead solidly hitting all her dives, even her least favorite reverse 1 1/2 somersaults,” McConnell said.

As the semifinal round began, Arceri started with an inward and scored 10s across the board. Two dives later, the round concluded with the Huntington star still leading the field.

“I set a goal to be on the podium and achieved it taking fifth place. My new goal for next year is to be on the top of that podium.”

— Tricia Arceri

“To start the final round, Tricia chose her forward 2 1/2 somersaults, her hardest dive,” McConnell said. “With an imperfect takeoff it didn’t come out great, but luckily the higher degree of difficulty helped offset the lower scores of the judges.”

Arceri continued holding the lead through nine dives, but on her 10th, which also earned her all 10s, she dropped into second place due to the lower degree of difficulty it was assessed.

The meet concluded with Arceri performing  higher-difficulty dive. The inward 1 1/2 impressed the judges, who awarded the diver 9.5s and 10s, sealing her first Suffolk championship and helping the Huntington standout set a new county scoring record with 618.10 points.

“Going into the final group of dives the scores were close,” Arceri said. “The girl that had placed second [Grace Reeves of Lindenhurst with 609.90 points] had a little more of degree of difficulty, meaning I had to nail every dive. I am very consistent with my final dive and I knew I had to go out there and do it the best I ever could, so I did. … Beating my own score was great, but getting the county record is even better.”

The trip this past weekend marked Arceri’s third trip to the state championships, where she finished 14th last year.

— Huntington Athletics