Newsday Swimmer of the Year: Justin Whang, Sr., Great Neck South
When Justin Whang first joined the Great Neck South boys swimming team, coach Jim Morrow said the eighth-grader was "super quiet, almost like a mute."
But when he stepped in the water, his performance did all the talking. Whang quickly developed into one of the best swimmers first on his team, then in the county, then in all of New York.
Whang won the 200-yard individual medley in 1 minute, 51.40 seconds and the 100 backstroke in 51.15 seconds at the Nassau championships at the Nassau Aquatic Center Feb. 27. He has the top time in the state in both events, according to results on swimdata.info, and has been named Newsday’s Swimmer of the Year.
Whang still remembers his first time in the varsity pool. And with there being no state championships because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Whang wanted to end his final meet the best he could.
"It’s insane, everything went by so fast," said Whang, who will swim for Yale next year. "Before that last race, I told myself it’s my last time swimming for my varsity team, so I gave a little extra and that felt great."
Morrow has been impressed by Whang’s maturity, and willingness to help swimmers on the team that aren’t as experienced.
"He’s still on the quiet side but when he talks, everyone listens," Morrow said. "He helps out with the younger kids and is a little more vocal. He transformed more probably in the pool becoming a really great swimmer."
Whang graduated with the Nassau record in the 200 IM (1:51.12), which he set when he won the state title in 2020.
Ilan Goldberg, Sr., Hewlett
He placed second in the 200 IM in 1:53.71 and second in the 100 backstroke in 52.68 at the Nassau championships.
Liam Preston, Sr., Miller Place
He won the 200 freestyle in 1:41.79 and 500 free in 4:37.58 at the Suffolk championships.
Griffen Schimmel, Sr., Long Beach
He won the 200 freestyle in 1:42.84 and 500 free in 4:36.36 at the Nassau championships. Schimmel will swim at Bryant University. He has the second-best time in the state in the 500 free.
Nicholas Shen, Sr., Great Neck South
He won his fourth-straight Nassau diving title this year with a score of 570.05. He holds the Nassau 11-dive county record with a score of 580.35, which he set at the 2020 Nassau championships. Shen will dive at Brown next year.
Nick Shopis, Sr., Chaminade
He won the 100 freestyle in 45.51 and 200 free in 1:40.82 at the CHSAA championships. Shopis has the second-best time in the state in both events and will swim at Bucknell.
Patrick Walsh, Sr., Chaminade
He won the 500 freestyle in 4:34.08 and 100 backstroke in 51.38 at the CHSAA championships. Walsh has the best time in the state in the 500 free. He will swim at Holy Cross.
Alex Zhang, Jr., Huntington-Harborfields
He won his third-straight Suffolk diving championship with a score of 522.80.
Coach of the Year: Angelo Pellicone, Chaminade
He guided the Flyers to the CHSAA championship.