After coming as close as possible to setting its goal the week before, Ward Melville’s 400-yard freestyle relay boys swimming team of Cameron Kubik, David He, Logan Gregory and Luka Zuric wanted to finish the job this week.
“I think they were all kind of motivated after falling short last week,” coach Chris Gordon said.
The 400-yard freestyle relay team accomplished its primary goal and then an additional one, posting a state-qualifying time and breaking a school record in 3:15.89 in Ward Melville’s 92-89 victory over Northport in Suffolk I boys swimming Tuesday.
The previous school record was 3:18.55, Gordon said, and the week before, the Patriots swam the 400 free relay in 3:18.88, one second over the state-qualifying time.
Tuesday’s time is tied for the fourth best time in the state as of Jan. 23, according to swimdata.info. The website wasn’t updated Tuesday night to reflect the rest of the day’s scores.
“These guys just destroyed it,” Gordon said. “ . . . I could tell when they got up there they were determined.”
Kubik also posted a state-qualifying time in the 100-yard butterfly in 53.81. He placed second in Tuesday’s race to Northport’s Zachary Papsco, who timed 53.43.
Led by Zuric, who won the 100-yard free Suffolk championship last season as a sophomore and ranks first in Suffolk in the 200 IM, second in Suffolk in the 200 free, third in 100 back and fourth in 500 free, Ward Melville is 8-1 in Suffolk I.
“It’s funny because he’s very unassuming, he’s very modest,” said Gordon, who remembers seeing Zuric at the pool when the junior was 5- and 6-years-old. “He’s not a gigantic swimmer so you wouldn’t look at him like ‘This kid can swim that fast, he’s that good.’ The kid is just extremely talented, I don’t know how to describe it.”
And after capturing a school record and securing a spot in the March 3-4 state championships at the Nassau Aquatics Center at Eisenhower Park, Gordon hopes the 400 free relay will serve as a motivator and confidence boost for a championship.
“I think they’re in very good shape at this point,” Gordon said, “and hopefully a swim like today will propel them into the state meet.”