A deep roster and an outstanding performance in the preliminaries paved the way to victory for Long Beach in the Nassau boys’ swimming championships.
The Marines, after finishing the regular season behind undefeated Syosset and Port Washington/Roslyn, captured their first county title since 2008 at the Nassau Aquatic Center Feb. 10 despite winning just one event — the 200-yard freestyle relay.
“It really was a complete team effort and every point mattered,” Long Beach coach John Skudin said. “You could look all over the place and find points here or there that made the difference. It came down to the wire and that final event [400 freestyle relay] was exciting and nerve-racking at the same time.”
Led by senior Troy Morris, junior Ryan Aroesty and freshman Griffen Schimmel, Long Beach totaled 338 points, followed by Syosset (330) and Port Washington/Roslyn (299.) The Marines led by 24 heading into the finale and took the 400 free relay consolation “B” final — worth 22 points — with senior Ethan Bonney, junior Aidan Kennedy, and freshmen Schimmel and Keane Albright. But, the door was still open for Syosset in the “A” heat with 48 points credited to the winner.
“We did our part, but we had to sweat out one more race,” Skudin said. “Syosset had a chance to win the meet by two points.”
The Braves, however, were unable to write a storybook ending — they finished a distant fourth — and it was celebration time for Long Beach.
“We thought coming into counties it would be a four- or five-team race,” Skudin said. “We just had a great night of trials on Friday that put us in position to make it happen on Saturday.”
Young divers Daniel Hartman, a freshman who scored 14 points, and Chris Buonocore, an eighth-grader who picked up half as many, made for a quality start to the meet. The Marines won the ninth of 11 swim events as Morris, Aroesty, Schimmel and Kennedy completed the 200 free relay in 1:26.99.
Morris scored 39 points in individual freestyle sprints, placing third in the 100 and fourth in the 50. His time in the 50 of 21.11 seconds broke the school record set last season by his older brother Shane, although the mark wouldn’t last long as Aroesty’s split in the 200 free relay (21.09) became the new ceiling.
“It’s a fun rivalry and even though Troy was chasing Shane’s record and got it, he was happy for Ryan,” Skudin said. “They just want to win as a team. That always comes first.”
Aroesty set two other school records on the way to placing second in the 200 Individual Medley and the 100 butterfly. “He’s a workhorse,” Skudin said.
Schimmel was fourth in the 200 free and third in the 500, and Bonney made the top flight in both events. Big points also came in the 100 breaststroke (freshman Elias Richter was fifth), the 50 and 100 free (Kennedy was 8th and 11th, respectively), the 100 backstroke (senior Dylan Harrington placed 11th.)
Now the Marines will look to make a splash at the state championships March 2-3 at the Aquatic Center.