Garden City boys take Nassau championship

Joseph Lozano swims the breaststroke leg of the Joseph Lozano swims the breaststroke leg of the 200-yard IM. (Feb. 11, 2013) Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

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It was a three-horse race at the Nassau boys swimming championship Monday as Garden City, Great Neck South and Jericho put forth a hotly-contested battle.

Using their incredible depth to out-point the rest of the teams, Garden City won its first championship since 1999 with a score of 489.

“The boys have worked really hard over the past few years,” Garden City coach Anne Sullivan said. “They’ve strived so hard for so long. This is a great way to end the season.”

Great Neck South finished second with 372 as the Rebels’ run of four straight county titles ended. Jericho finished third with 364.

The fireworks started from the very first event, as Great Neck South and Jericho went head-to-head in a closely-contested 200-yard medley relay. The team of Dan Mo, Benjamin Ching, Joseph Mo and Marko Miocic won in 1:37.75, just beating the Jayhawks’ time of 1:39.13, to give the Rebels an early lead. Miocic anchored the race and pulled out the win by swimming 21.25 in the last leg of the relay.

And it didn’t stop there as the second event, the 200 freestyle, was decided by just two-tenths of a second. Ching won the race in 1:45.22, barely out-touching Garden City’s Connor Brown, who finished in 1:45.42.

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But thanks to Daniel Gaffney (ninth), John Gaffney (12th) and Neil Quigley (13th), Garden City earned enough points to take a slim 90-87 lead over Great Neck South and the Trojans never relinquished the lead.

“We have a lot of depth, and depth is what you need to win a championship meet,” Sullivan said.

The Trojans took control after the third event as Joseph Lozano and Delaney Hall finished 1-2 in the 200 individual medley. Lozano set a new school-record with a time of 1:54.76, while Hall went 1:58.43 to give Garden City a 159-123 lead.

Lozano came up big again in the 200 freestyle relay as he teamed with Matthew Finnegan, Connor Brown and Francis Caponegro to finish in a school-record 1:29.21 to take a 364-302 lead over the Rebels and all but put away the meet.

“The boys pleaded with me to let them stay together as a relay team and swim this race at counties,” Garden City coach Anne Sullivan said. “I’m very proud of them, not only as a team, but as individuals.”

Lozano also won the 100 breaststroke in 58.40 seconds and helped win the 400 freestyle relay in 3:18.78 along with Brown, Matthew Finnegan and Daniel Finnegan. Lozano earned co-MVP honors with Dan Mo, who won the 100 butterfly (50.68) and the 100 backstroke (52.74).

“It was a great day,” Lozano said. “I was excited for my individual wins, but I’m very happy I was able to be a part of the two relay wins.”

For the Trojans, this win caps a great season in which they won Conference 1 with a perfect 9-0 record.

“It was a very magical season for us,” Sullivan said. “They got the job done when their backs were against the wall. I’m very proud of my team.”

Other individual double-winners included Ching, who also won the 500 freestyle (4:41.73) and Massapequa’s Trevor Dearstyne, who won the 50 freestyle (21.84) and the 100 freestyle (48.09).

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