Varsity Swim’s (Front) Crawl to Victory

    In a season already scattered with obstacles, the girls’ varsity swim team faced its greatest challenge in 26 years: competing in Conference I.  On Long Island, 34 girls’ swim teams are divided among four conferences depending on ability. This season, Lynbrook swam against the top teams for the first time.

     This increase in competition meant that the girls would have to take their training to the next level. Unfortunately, finding a time and place for practice was a huge problem the team had to face this season. In a typical year, the Lynbrook Pool at Greis Park would stay open through the fall, and the girls would practice six days a week, up to three hours a day. Since this year’s  season started in March and there were Covid-19 protocols in effect, the girls did not have access to their typical practice setting.  

     Luckily for the girls, they found a new place to practice: the Friedberg JCC in Oceanside.  Conditions would, unfortunately, not be the same in terms of practice times; the team was limited to just three days of practice per week, with only an hour of practice per day. Going from nearly 18 hours of practice a week to just three proved to be a great challenge, especially in a year when the girls moved up conferences. Despite this burden, the team took advantage of its opportunity and trained with high spirits. “During this shortened season, where pool time was very limited, we are grateful for our athletic director who was able to get us at least some swim time,” said coach Dorothy Amitrano. “We did extremely well,” she added.

     Making the leap into Conference I was no easy task for the team. The girls embraced this challenge and wanted to make sure the Owls would stay in Conference I for years to come. “It was a great opportunity for us to step up as a team and take advantage of the fast swimmers we were facing this season,” said junior Sophie Dzieciolowski.

     Many of the girls impressed with individual achievements this season. Senior Erin Quinlan earned State qualifications in the 100-meter butterfly race. Quinlan also broke the school record in 200 meter, as well as receiving All-Conference in that heat. Kaitlyn Devaney, Sophie Dzieciolowski, Aimee Quinlan, and Emily Bergin also received All-Conference honors.

     Senior Mary McGuire received the Frank Ranhoffer/Joe Farrell scholarship from Section VIII. The scholarship is awarded to a student athlete who shows her drive, desire, and determination towards the sport of swimming. The girls also won awards as a team this season.  The girls’ varsity swim team won the sportsmanship award, which is only granted to one team per year, based on referee input.

     The team also has its fair share of student-athletes who will be taking their swimming talents to the collegiate level. Kaitlyn Devaney will continue swimming in Division I at Merrimack College, Erin Quinlan will be swimming in Division III at Case Western Reserve University, and Emily Bergin will be swimming at Oberlin College and Conservatory.

     The season was far from normal, but the girls embraced every moment of their shortened season.  “Because of the shortened season and less time to be together, every part of the season was enjoyable and memorable,” said junior Kyla Nembach. The girls had a strong introduction to Conference I this year, with seniors leading the way for the program to continue to grow in the coming years.