Ward Melville has won 21 consecutive Suffolk girls swimming championships. Will 2013 bring more of the same?
"We have to do a lot to unseat them," Half Hollow Hills coach Jason Wiedersum said. "They're a talented, powerhouse team."
Leading the Ward Melville charge are seniors Kristen Pozmanter and Rachael Bertini, along with juniors Cassandra Willie and Sarah Schoenfeld.
Half Hollow Hills and the rest of Suffolk will try to one-up Ward Melville in its quest for the top spot in the county by fielding a deep, versatile team of its own.
Wiedersum believes his Hills team, led by Kim Chan, Dana DeSousa and Shannon Drury, along with diver Nicole Giannone, can mount a challenge.
Harborfields is led by state qualifiers Nina Lesser (50 freestyle) and Sierra Weiner (200 freestyle relay).
Connetquot is led by Tiffany Catano. Northport is counting on senior Nicole Papsco, the defending county champion and record holder in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.85).
Smithtown is led by Deirdre Connor, the two-time county champion in the 500 freestyle and the county runner-up in the 200 freestyle.
The team to beat remains Garden City, which is defending a string of 14 conference championships. Until the Oct. 13loss to Bellmore-Merrick last season, the Trojans, under 20th-year coach Anne Sullivan, had won 103 consecutive dual meets.
Senior Jackie Vani, who went to states last year as part of the 200 medley relay team, is one of the leaders for Garden City in the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke.
Molly Treble, a first-team All-Long Island distance freestyle swimmer, leads Massapequa, which moves to Conference I. Treble returns as the champ in the 500 freestyle and placed third in the 200 freestyle at states.
Bellmore-Merrick is counting on junior Kerry Giovanniello, who will perform in the 200 and 500 freestyle events.
Senior Madeleine Quinn makes Manhasset a team to watch out for. Quinn returns after reaching states in the 200 IM and the 500 freestyle. Quinn and senior Sarah Henry were members of the 200 freestyle relay team that reached states in 2011. The Indians placed third in the county meet last season.
Melissa Bischoff, who set the NSCHSAA record in the 100 backstroke (57.78) in the league championships last season, is back for St. Anthony's.
Sacred Heart is relying on four key sophomores -- Claudia Brady (freestyle), Kelli Schmidt (butterfly), Sabrina Mauro (IM) and Amanda Agostino (breaststroke).