Swim team celebrates league title

Swim team celebrates league title

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The Huntington-Harborfields swimmers display their league championship award. Photo from Huntington athletics

It was a championship season worth celebrating.

The combined Huntington-Harborfields boys’ swimming and diving team captured regular season and postseason championships while solidifying its roster for future campaigns.

Swimmers, divers and their parents celebrated the winter campaign during a three-hour party at the Halesite Fire Department.

The season marked Meg McConnell’s first as head coach, after she assumed leadership of the program following the retirement of Huntington’s founding swim coach, Gil Smith. McConnell had been Smith’s assistant for many years. Blue Devils alum Kaitlyn Larkin was named the new assistant coach this season.

The dinner was a festive gathering. Michael Greaves, of Harborfields, created a slideshow of season highlights.

Huntington senior and team co-captain Matthew McBride and seniors Jackson Spector and Burak Toprak were among those who spoke about the season and their teammates and coaches. Those who notched All-League, All-County and All-State honors were acknowledged.

“It was a fun, funny and a great night,” Huntington parent Patti Weber said. “They are a great group of boys who really have become one team.”

The Blue Devils finished with a 4-1 league mark and went 4-4 overall, easily winning the Suffolk County League II championships by outdistancing runners-up Northport and Connetquot, 309 and 257, while Lindenhurst (187), Central Islip (140) and North Babylon (98) trailed in the distance.

Huntington-Harborfields defeated Lindenhurst (61-39), Connetquot/East Islip (95-88), Central Islip (100-77) and North Babylon (95-54), and dropped meets to Northport (51.5-49.5), Ward Melville (93-89), Hauppauge (107.5-77.5) and Half Hollow Hills (92-86) leading up to the League II win.

In addition to McBride, Spector, Toprak and Javier Vias, the Blue Devils team included seventh-graders Kyle Kennelly and Thomas Rosselli, eighth-grader Christopher Weber, freshmen Henry Cartwright, Nathaniel Gamboa and Thomas Peer, junior Keegan Dunne and senior Ryan LaBella. Juniors Noelle Harvey and Camille Stafford were team managers.

Three Huntington swimmers were presented with special team awards at the dinner. Gamboa was named MVP, Weber earned Most Improved honors and Dunne garnered the coaches award.

Huntington’s highlights at the League II championships included Gamboa swimming the second leg on the 200-yard medley relay that placed second and capturing third place in the 100 breaststroke, Weber placing second in the 500 freestyle, Peer finishing fourth in the 200 freestyle and the first leg of the 200 freestyle relay that finished fourth, and McBride placing fourth in the 100 backstroke.

At the Suffolk County championships, Gamboa swam the second leg of the 200 yard medley relay that placed ninth, and Peer swam the fourth leg of the 200 freestyle relay that finished 13th.

With eight underclassmen returning next winter, the Blue Devils hope to put another competitive team in the pool.

— Huntington Athletics