The Ward Melville girls swimming team has a storied history in Long Island high school sports, at one point winning 23 straight years county championships. The 2019-20 team capped off another successful season by securing another league and county crown for the school.
Chris Gordon, head coach of the swimming team for 26 years, couldn’t have been prouder of how the team did this season.
“The team has done a great job this season, the mix of the team was really good … we had some young swimmers and some with a lot of experience,” he said.
The head coach said he was unsure how the season would play out as they lost some important swimmers to graduation. He pointed to their league victory against Northport as a turning point in their season.
“They are always stepping up at the biggest meets, all the credit goes to them,” Gordon said.
He also credited the Three Village Swim Club for helping in the development of the swimmers as many of them go there for additional practice outside of school.
After winning the county championship Nov. 9, Ward Melville went on to compete in states. Riley Gavin, Hannah Lin, Jessica Chen and Kaitlyn Ehlers competed in the 200 medley as well as the 400 free relay along with Isabel Xu. Gavin also qualified and competed in the 200 individual medley and the 100 back. She went on to finish in the top 10 in all her events.
Gavin, senior captain, who will continue her swimming career at the U.S. Naval Academy said the nine-member team finished the season on a strong note.
“There were a lot of unknowns going into this season,” she said. “I think this was arguably one of the best seasons we’ve had in the four years I’ve been on the team.”
Gavin said they kept improving throughout the season and in turn grew closer with each other. She thinks the team has potential to be even better next season.
“It is bittersweet,” Gavin said. “I remember when I was a freshman it was always tough to say goodbye to the seniors back then. Two freshmen [Lin and Xu] came to states with us, I thought it was a good experience for them … I think they have the potential to win counties again and compete for states.”