The sight of Garden City’s Cameron Yuen after his 11th and final dive would have made you thought he won a state championship.
Yuen was all smiles embracing his coach, Anne Sullivan, after reaching the finals of his first state boys diving championships at the Nassau Aquatic Center at Eisenhower Park Friday afternoon.
“I didn’t even think I was going to make the first cut, and here I am in the finals and I did way better than I thought I was going to do,” said Yuen, a ninth-grader, who had a score of 416.55, to finish in 18th place. “It was just overall such an amazing experience.”
Yuen was one of four Long Island divers competing in the field of 36 at the championships, along with Deer Park’s Daniella Cornelia, finishing 35th, Kellenberg’s Olivia McNicholas, taking 32nd, and Great Neck South’s Nicholas Shen, finishing 14th with 433.90.
Shen, the defending Nassau champion, improved from his 15th-place finish last season, but was hoping for a better result.
“At the beginning, I was kind of shaky,” Shen, also a freshman, said. “This happened last year where I barely made the cut, but this year it happened again. But I still made my way up.”
Nick Lydon, of Shenendehowa, won with a 559.25.
Ward Melville impresses in the lanes
During the preliminary races of the boys swimming state championships, Ward Melville seniors Ryan Kaplan, David He, Luka Zuric and Cameron Kubik quickly proved this weekend was the moment they’ve trained for.
“Every time we dive in the pool together it’s something special,” He said. “I love swimming on relays with the guys. It’s totally different from an individual event.”
Ward Melville’s four swimmers posted the top time (1:34.08) in the 200-yard medley relay — the opening event — and the second-best time (3:09.45) in the 400 freestyle relay, the meet’s final race. “It’s a huge confidence booster because it’s the four of us, we’ve been carrying each other through this entire varsity process,” Zuric said. “Knowing that we can come together and show how good we are and just perform really well with each other . . . it means a lot to us.”
“The past two weeks, we’ve been practicing our relay starts, just trying to get every second we can, every millisecond,” Kubik added.
The championship races, in which all four Patriots swimmers also will be competing in individual championship events — is at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Nassau Aquatic Center.
“I feel like it’s a big moment for all of us and we’ve all been looking forward to it,” Kaplan said. “It’s also the end of our high-school career, and that’s really sad, but it looks forward to next year at college.”
There was no shortage of Long Island talent on display Friday, as Shoreham-Wading River’s Jason Louser (1:49.89, 200 IM), Chaminade’s Christian Sztolcman (45.50, 100 free) and Hauppauge’s Jack Casey (55.49, 100 breaststroke) posted top times in their races.
South Side-Lynbrook’s Timothy Marski was the lone swimmer to have two top times — a 20.63 in the 50 free and 48.64 in the 100 butterfly.