Boys’ Swim Team Dives into Season

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Kristina Goehringer, Sports Editor

The Wantagh High School’s Boys’ Swim & Dive team is having an amazing start to their season. The boys are working hard to repeat as Conference II champs. They’re in the running for the championship after just beating out Sewanhaka and Hewlett.
The team is led by seniors Hank Arnold, Jake Goldstein, Jared Herrmann, Mike Porecca, Mike Stewart, Ryan Hung, and Shaun Charkowick. “This swim team is destined to do something special,” says Mike Stewart, a member of the team since 7th grade. “Our goal is to win the Conference II Championship for the second year in a row, and I’m confident with the team.”
With all the returning top swimmers and including the new-comers, the team is certain to achieve their goals.
At Hewlett, the boys were trailing after 5 events (21-20). Every point was critical. In the 100 butterfly, Mike Stewart and Hank Arnold placed first and second while breaking personal records. This raised the score to (27-22). Next was the 100 freestyle, Jared Herrmann and Ryan Hung did outstanding in the event, and both went a time of 55 seconds. Alex Massa is going an unbelievable time of 5:25 along with Matt Zuelch at 5:52 in the 500 free. Then were the stacked 200 free relays of Mike Stewart, Shaun Charkowick, Alex Massa, Ryan Hung and Hank Arnold, Jake Goldstein, Jack Hotaling, and Nick Ralicky. These relays took 1st and 3rd. In the 100 breaststroke, Mike Porecca and Nick Ralicky solidified the victory by taking 1st and 3rd. All the boys’ efforts were needed for Wantagh to win with a score of (53-48) and to build an undefeated cycle of 2-0.
However, this season is obviously different from the others. The season started the week of November 13, which meant they had a whole month and a half of training before their first conference meet. This gave them plenty time to fundraise for more pool time, extensively train, and create a brotherhood. Because of the budgets cuts, they had to raise money through bake sales and Mrs. Charkowick’s jewelry sale.
When the guys are breaking personal records at the first meet, it means that the whole month and a half of training paid off. For example, Shaun Charkowick beating his 50 freestyle time by 2 seconds at the first meet proves that his saying “Every week is shark week” is true. The boys have many goals set for the season. This includes breaking the school record for the 200 free relay and the 200 medley relay. It’s evident that this team is going to go far this season.
All of the hardships that the swim team is going through this year are truly bringing the team together. The leadership of Coach Rafferty, bus rides of blasting techno, dancing, and chanting is going to make this year hard to forget. They are carrying on the traditions of years past and forming an unbreakable bond. There is support shown from every single guy on the team when someone is in need of help. Not to mention, the girls’ team is always there helping and supporting at the meets. This shows how we’re all a big family. William Goehringer, a 7th grader on the team, says that it was a great decision to join the team. It’s hard going onto a varsity team so young, but quickly you realize that you’re joining a family, not just a team.

UPDATE:The swimming team lost late in the season to Manhasset by two points in the last race. That gave Manhasset the conference title. But Wantagh won its final two meets against Massapequa and Farmingdale to finish with a record of 7-1. Andrew Capobianco, a 7th grade diver, broke the Wantagh 6-dive record and missed the county record by 2 points. He also won the division meet and qualfied for the state championships. Senior Mike Poreca broke the WHS 100 breaststroke record. Seniors Jared Herman, Mike Stewart, and Ryan Hung broke the 200 medley relay record.