“There’s a long tradition here to do well in swimming,” Long Beach coach John Skudin said. “I think it’s about being something that is larger than yourself. Every swimmer buys into that . . . and takes pride in being a part of it.”
Maggie Aroesty, Newsday’s Athlete of the Week, is a big part of it. Since second grade, she’s been swimming. Since seventh grade, she’s been on the team. Since eighth grade, she’s been qualifying for the state championships. Since ninth grade, she’s won the 100-yard breaststroke state competition each year. She placed ninth in the 200-meter IM in the Olympic team trials. And she won the 200-yard IM final for the third time, clocking 1:59.51 at the state championships last weekend at Ithaca College. But none of these accolades linger with Aroesty.
“I’ve definitely learned to celebrate my accomplishments, but not to dwell on them,” Aroesty said. “My ability to refocus and create new goals helps. I’m able to come off the high from states and move on to next week.”
Next week Aroesty’s club season will begin. She is on an extensive expedition of goals.
“When I was in seventh grade, I didn’t think any of this would be possible . . . My coach told me my name is marked in [state] history and I’m so proud of that,” Aroesty said. “I’m always elated to see I got the best time. Even my times surprise me . . . deep down . . . it can’t surprise me that much because I earned.”
Aroesty holds the state record in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 59.85 seconds, beating the mark she set last year of one minute flat. She, along with Kristen Romano, Caroline Farrell and Joan Cash, hold the record in the 200-freestyle relay with a time of 1:44.02.
Outside of school, Aroesty holds the USA 15-16- year-old group record for the 100 breaststroke with a time of 58.98. Better than her state record. She also is the youngest girl to break the 59-second mark.
Records are meant to be broken right?
“I think my records could inspire other young swimmers. It’s the sport. It’s so competitive and the sport just keeps getting faster,” Aroesty said.
Time is moving fast as well. This was Aroesty’s final season with Long Beach.
“I’ve enjoyed seeing her grow . . . and watching this voyage,” Skudin said. “College is a whole other ship. She has a lot more voyage to go.”
The next leg of her adventure is at the University of Southern California, which boasts brilliant breaststroke swimmers. The longest lap will be the ride to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The ultimate prize.
“I’m so happy with everything I’ve accomplished. I’m definitely looking forward to the next journey. My coach said this journey’s done and I’m on to the next one and that’s something that resonated with me,” Aroesty said. “Hopefully the Olympics will be the next part.”