WM Boys Swimming & Diving Are League Champions
February 5, 2023
Ward Melville’s varsity boys swimming and diving teams have been crowned League II champions following a thrilling 1-point break in the meet’s final event. Trailing Half Hollow Hills by only five points at the end of the last individual event, the team headed into a 4×100 freestyle relay requiring a win, which provides six points more than second place, to win the meet. A relay comprised of freshmen Bora Karaosmanoglu and Ayush Mojumdar, as well as seniors Ethan Timm and Peter Sloniewsky, were able to clinch a win over HHH to conclude the meet with a victory and end a sixteen-year streak of losses to Hills. Because both captains of the team are Kaleidoscope members, we decided to interview each other about the successes of the regular season, the Leagues victory, and prospects heading forward.
Question: Describe your season so far in three words.
Vincent Vinciguerra: ONE HIGH SCHOOL [referring to the combination of other schools into super-teams and WM’s wins regardless].
Peter Sloniewsky: Motivated, optimistic, loud.
Q: As a captain, what vision did you have for the team this season? How do you think it’s been fulfilled?
VV: Honestly, I was very confident in the team’s ability from the start of the season. I had set out several goals for the team, including winning Leagues, Counties and going undefeated in the dual-meet season. Although we weren’t able to nab the victory in our second dual meet against Half Hollow Hills, we showed resilience and dedication for the remaining dual meet season and finally defeated Half Hollow Hills at Leagues. We’ve seen some major improvements throughout the season and, with key swimmers like Ethan Timm stepping up, I’m confident we can win Counties.
PS: I think, going in, we recognized that we didn’t necessarily have a large enough number of club swimmers to carry our team through the regular season and therefore had to work on our “depth” – the guys who take second or third place rather than first. It’s been fulfilled thoroughly, in my view–we’ve seen some great meets and swims from some of our more depth-focused boys, like Jacob Wong’s increasingly impressive 100 butterfly times throughout the season or the tremendous improvement we’ve seen in Griffin Matlin’s 500 freestyle.
Q: What was the most exciting part of this season? What has been the hardest part?
VV: Easily the 400 Freestyle Relay win to clinch the League Championships victory. I remember standing at the edge of the pool decks with the entire Ward Melville squad screaming the name “AYUSH” as loud as we could while watching him overtake his competitor from the Half Hollow Hills squad. Definitely, the hardest part of the season was facing the disappointment of losing our third dual meet against Half Hollow Hills: all the swimmers were laser-focused heading to the meet, but we suffered a crushing victory that left the team filled with a lack of purpose and confidence. We were ultimately able to recover and get the victory over Hills at Leagues.
PS: The most exciting part of this season was definitely our Leagues victory–despite my years of club swimming, it was definitely the highest-energy meet I’ve ever been to. Beyond that, our victory over Huntington-Harborfields-Whitman was electric and really restored a lot of faith in our team after an early dual-meet loss to Half Hollow Hills. The hardest part has certainly been staying motivated throughout the almost month between our last dual meet and league championships.
Q: How was this season different from last year’s?
VV: This season has been different than last year mostly because of the training. This year, we have a team full of natural sprinters and we’ve tried to hone in on our sprinting skills during practice. We’ve consistently done Lactate threshold sprint sets twice a week [high interval, low distance workouts] along with a power-focused day–a total of three sprint-focused days a week, which I strongly believe has led to such great success in our sprinters this year.
PS: Last season we were a 2-5 team that turned into a 7-1 team the following year. I’d credit that with some additions we made this year–guys like Owen Timm, Nolan Jin, Bora Karaosmanoglu, and Ayush Mojumdar have been really important at our dual meets. We’ve also definitely gained a lot of depth as some of us have fallen into new roles, like Griffin Matlin’s 500 or Ethan Timm’s new affinity for the 100 butterfly. Most of all, though–we’ve gotten lucky. Last season, we missed some real chances at big dual meets because of some unlucky strikes with COVID and club-meet scheduling, both of which really haven’t been prevalent issues this season.
Q: How does the team look going forward into the county and state championship meets?
VV: We’ve looked stronger now than we ever have in the past. Our swimmers have set the bar high for the County and State championships coming up, and we’ve been able to reach our expectations in the pool up until now, so I don’t see why we can’t keep improving. I know we’re going to put ourselves in a strong position to potentially win the County Championship.
PS: I’d say we look strong. We’re confident that we’ll head into Counties with strong teams in all three relays, and we’re bringing more guys than we did last year to swim more events. That being said, there are some other strong teams with good divers that are going to make our journey to a county title an uphill one. I can definitely see a safe place for us in second or third, and there’s absolutely a pathway to first place if we can keep the momentum up and get a little bit lucky.