Girls swimming: Ward Melville strong with Kristen Pozmanter, Rachel Bertini

Ward Melville's Rachael Bertini swims the 100 butterfly

Ward Melville's Rachael Bertini swims the 100 butterfly and wins first place in 1:02.33 in the Suffolk high school girls swim meet against North Babylon/Deer Park. (Oct. 25, 2011) (Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

The challenge for every swimming program in Suffolk the last two decades has been to try and unseat Ward Melville. The Patriots, the winners of 20 straight county titles, will be strong again this season with juniors Kristen Pozmanter (distance) and Rachel Bertini (sprints) and sophomore Cassandra Willie.

Half Hollow Hills will also be in the mix with capable seniors Kayleigh Toth and Samantha Scharf in the sprint events and juniors Kim Chan, Dana DeSousa and Shannon Drury. Sophomore Jennie Gosule specializes in distance freestyle events.

Connetquot will challenge with one of Suffolk's top swimmers in Nicole Hetzer.

Nassau

Much like in Suffolk, Nassau teams will have to contend with 13-time defending champion Garden City, which returns 500-yard freestyle state champion Lindsay Schlichte.

Senior Gabbie Toback leads a Bellmore-Merrick team that could put Garden City's bid for a 14th straight county title in jeopardy.

Senior Maraget Pegno, a talented 50 and 100-yard freestyle swimmer and juniors Madeleine Quinn (500 free) and Sarah Henry (200 free, relays) lead Manhasset.Jericho is rebuilding, but has senior Trudiann Patrick, the Nassau record holder in the 50 freestyle, juniors Kaitlyn Kallansuide and Diane Na and eighth-grader Sandra Li.

CHSAA

St. Anthony's is the team to beat in the CHSAA with junior Melissa Bischoff in the fold.

Swimmers to watch

Melissa Bischoff, St. Anthony's, Jr.

Olivia Chan, Sewanhaka, Sr.

Nicole Hetzer, Connetquot, Sr.

Trudiann Patrick, Jericho, Sr.

Lindsay Schlichte, Garden Cituy, Sr.

Molly Treble, Massapequa, Jr.

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