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Connetquot's Gaffey shines at state swim meet

Connetquot's Mikaila Gaffey swims the 100 breaststroke during

Connetquot's Mikaila Gaffey swims the 100 breaststroke during a meet against Ward Melville. (Oct. 4, 2010) Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

BUFFALO - Mikaila Gaffey may be an accomplished violin player, but on Friday her stage was the pool at Erie Community College, and her performance included many encores.

The Connetquot senior was part of a record-breaking day for Suffolk during the preliminaries at the New York State Swimming and Diving Championships. The 35th annual event drew a field of 505 athletes from 134 schools to the Flickinger Aquatic Center.

The event concludes at 10:15 a.m. Saturday with the finals in all 11 events, plus diving. The top eight times from prelims reached the finals.

In her first act, Gaffey broke the county record in the 50 freestyle with a 23.71. Then she joined Sara Dieterich, Nicole Hetzer and Claudia Reyes to break the county record in the 200 medley relay in 1:47.64. The same foursome is also the top seed in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:36.99.

Before the curtain closed, Gaffey made the finals of the 100 breaststroke.

"Swimming and music, they both take practice and discipline," said Gaffey, who will attend Columbia next fall. "It goes school, swimming and violin. I practice violin everyday, but not as much time as I devote to swimming because I also have schoolwork."

In the 200 freestyle Reyes broke her own school record in 1:55.80. Hetzer earned a spot in the finals of the 200 individual medley.

Babylon placed two swimmers in the finals. Julianne Koch comes into the 200 freestyle as a No. 6 seed while Carolyn Koch is No. 3 in the 100 freestyle.

Nassau will also have its share of swimmers to watch in the finals. Olivia Chan of Sewanhaka is the No. 2 seed going into the final of the 100 breaststroke and No. 3 seed in the 200 IM. She is the defending state public school champion in both events.

"Right now I just want to rest up, eat right and get the right amount of sleep," Chan said. "I feel like tomorrow's going to be great and I'm going to try and race as fast as I can."

Chan's teammate, Alissa Leung, is the No. 2 seed in the 100 backstroke.

Garden City, coming off its 12th consecutive Nassau County championship last weekend, will be represented in the finals by Megan Zarriello, the No. 3 seed in both the 200 and 500. Also making the finals in the 500 were Molly Treble of Massapequa at No. 6 and Cady Zawatson of Long Beach at No. 8. Zawatson's 5:05.44 was a school record.

Angela Sun of Great Neck South is a finalist in the 100 fly and 100 back.

In the 50 free, sophomore Trudiann Patrick of Jericho earned a return trip as the No. 3 seed.

In the CHSAA, Sacred Heart is the No. 1 seed going into the 400 free relay as Casey Francis, Megan Brady, Frances Warren and Emily Tan went 3:35.33. Its 200 free relay team, with the same four swimmers, is also in contention for a state title as the No. 4 seed. It promises to be a busy day for Francis, as she's also in the finals of the 200 IM and 500 free.

Marielle Pavek of St. Anthony's is the new school record-holder in the 50 free after her time of 25.16.

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