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Tireless Lauryn Johnson a beacon for Sacred Heart

Most valuable swimmer helps Spartans to second-place finish behind St. Anthony's in girls CHSAA championships.

Sacred Heart Academy High School Girl's Swim team

Sacred Heart Academy High School Girl's Swim team menber, Lauryn Johnson, during the CHSAA Girls Swimming Individual Championship/ New York State Qualifier Meet held at Nassau County Aquatic Center, East Meadow, New York, on Sunday Nov. 4th, 2018. Photo Credit: Richard T. Slattery

Records are made to be broken, and sometimes they happen when you least anticipate it.

Just ask Sacred Heart’s Lauryn Johnson, who set a league record Sunday in the 100-yard butterfly at the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA girls swimming championship at Eisenhower Park.

“Coming into the meet I really did not have any high expectations for myself,” Johnson said. “I didn’t really rest at all for this. To see that I swam my best time was so unexpected.”

The UCLA commit won in 54.84 seconds, besting her record of 55.10 set last season at the state championships. Johnson also won the 500 freestyle (4:53.23), and was named most valuable swimmer of the meet.

In addition to winning her two individual events, Johnson also anchored the winning 200- and 400-meter freestyle relays for the Spartans. She swam in the 200 freestyle relay less than 20 minutes after the 500 freestyle.

“It is pretty hard to do,” Johnson said of swimming in back-to-back events. “It did hurt a little bit, but that’s what swimming is about. It is going to hurt if you really want it.”

Johnson’s teammate Joan Cash swam the opening leg of both winning relays and placed first in the 100 freestyle (52.09) for the second straight year.

St. Anthony’s won the team title for the ninth consecutive season, scoring 806 points. Sacred Heart, the CHSAA dual-meet regular season champions, finished second with 742 points.

The Friars won the 200 medley relay in 1:50.08. Briana Gellineau won the 200 freestyle (1:49.46), Amanda Heinz took first in the 200 individual medley (2:11.26), Michaela Rutigliano earned the top spot in the 100 backstroke (59.16) and Danielle Pikulik had a winning time of 1:06.75 in the 100 breaststroke.

Pikulik broke the league record in the event Saturday night in preliminaries when she swam a 1:06.20. “I have to credit the leadership of the team,” St. Anthony’s coach Dan McBride said. “We try and keep it a goal to outwork all the other teams to stay on top, and they do it.”

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