Another year, another Brown leading Garden City in the swimming lanes.
Ryan Brown, the Trojans’ standout senior and Cornell commit, picked up the production of his graduated brother Connor — Newsday’s Swimmer of the Year last year — in the Nassau boys swimming championships at Nassau Aquatic Center Saturday afternoon.
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Brown won two individual events, starting with the 500-yard freestyle, as Garden City won its fourth consecutive county championship with 433 points. Brown’s time of 4 minutes, 39.22 seconds won by four seconds and beat his brother’s winning time last season by more than 10 seconds. He said the 500 was more special because his brother won last year.
“Definitely going to text him tonight,” Brown said. “Poke a little fun at him.”
Garden City’s only victories came in Brown’s races — the 500 and the 100 breaststroke, in which he swam an All-American consideration time of 57.35. The Trojans placed second in four events. Junior John Gaffney finished second in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly, and as a member of the 200 and 500 free relays. Despite placing second in those events, the Trojans recorded state-qualifying times.
“We weren’t really expected to set those times today at all,” Gaffney said. “Every single person on the relay went their best time and we all made it, even though we didn’t expect it.”
Syosset’s Tamir Zitelny was the meet’s outstanding swimmer after winning the 100 fly and 100 backstroke. He set the Section VIII record in the 100 back (51.57), passing Long Beach’s Max Willard mark of 51.65 set last year.
“I couldn’t be happier right now,” Zitelny said. “I remember racing Max last year in this race and seeing him at states. It was kind of shocking seeing how fast he went and now to surpass that, it’s really humbling.”
Great Neck South freshman Andy Lee was the only other swimmer to win two individual events, the 200 IM and 100 free. Syosset (414 points) and Long Beach (371) finished second and third behind Garden City.
Brown said he remembers being on varsity in seventh grade when he said the team “wasn’t the best.” He’s grown into a vocal leader, rallying the team before and throughout the meet.
“To win not just one, but four in a row is just amazing,” he said.