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Cavan Gormsen, Tess Howley lead record-setting day for Sacred Heart at girls swimming state championships

Tess Howley (left) and Cavan Gormsen, from Sacred

Tess Howley (left) and Cavan Gormsen, from Sacred Heart each won two girls swimming individual state championships and set four state records in the girls swimming state championships at Ithaca College on Saturday afternoon. Credit: Newsday/Owen OBrien

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Cavan Gormsen and Tess Howley each set two individual state records at the girls swimming Federation state championship meet. But good luck trying to get them to talk themselves up about that.

However, the Sacred Heart juniors were both members of the 400-yard freestyle relay team which won in a state-record time. Ask them about winning with their teammates and the words flood out.

Howley and Gormsen, along with Catherine Dean and Lily Gormsen, won the final event at the girls swimming state championships Saturday afternoon at Ithaca College, taking the 400 freestyle relay in 3 minutes, 25.15 seconds. The All-American automatic time surpassed Pittsford’s record of 3:25.24, set in 2015.

"That’s definitely the coolest part in my opinion, especially in the state record," Gormsen said. "I have my sister on the relay and two of my very close friends in Tess and Catherine, so it was so fun and just to be able to stand on the podium with three girls I care about a lot was a great feeling."

"It’s because you’re not the only one swimming in it," Howley said. "You swim it for other people and I think that’s a really close bond you have with your relay team."

But the two were also unstoppable swimming individually. Gormsen, of Wantagh, won the 200 freestyle in a state-record and All-American automatic time of 1:45.92, surpassing Northport’s Chloe Stepanek’s mark of 1:46.15 set in 2019. Later in the meet, Gormsen surpassed her own state record in the 500 freestyle winning in an All-American automatic time of 4:40.73. She swam a then-record 4:41.86 in the preliminary races the day before.

"My main goal was just to swim and fast as I can and improve on how I did at the league championships two weeks ago, and it was nice to be able to win the championship, too," Gormsen said. "It was definitely cool. I was pleased with my results."

Howley, of Rockaway, won the 100 butterfly in an All-American automatic time of 52.37 after she set the state record the day before in 52.06. She surpassed Megan Deuel’s mark of 52.95 from 2019. Howley later set the state record in an All-American automatic time of 53.13 in the 100 backstroke, surpassing Kristen Romano’s mark of 53.36 in 2016. The junior said the state times weren’t on her mind entering the championships though.

"Not really," Howley said. "I just wanted to go as fast as I could and see how I was as my events progressed. And I think I did pretty much what I wanted to do."

The two, along with Dean and Makayla Pearce, also won a state title in the 200 freestyle relay in an All-American automatic time of 1:35.05. And Gormsen and Howley have another full season to improve their times next fall.

"I said to myself, ‘I guess I have to come back next year,’" coach Mary White said. "I have to see them though, at least."

The Sacred Heart juniors weren’t alone in their winning ways as Commack’s Denise Phelan won Federation state championships in the 200 individual medley (1:59.95) and 100 breaststroke (1:01.07). Both were All-American automatic times.

"I knew it was going to be a good one," Phelan said. "I knew it was my last one and I was going to make it a good one, no matter what. And it ended up being really good. I did not expect to win the 200 IM."

She was also a key member of Northport-Commack’s 200 medley relay state championship team, which included Caitlyn Riordan, Makenna O’Brien and Lia Edlin Miller. They won in 1:45.92.

"It was just amazing to get a state title and for three of the girls, it was their first state title and they were beyond excited and I was so happy for them," Phelan said. "They’ve worked so hard for this moment and they deserve it."

Leah Treglia, competing for Hauppauge-Smithtown, placed third overall and second amongst public school swimmers in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. The junior was proud of her performance, but she hopes to improve and possibly take home a state title next fall.

"It just felt amazing," Treglia said. "I’m not upset I got second, I’m proud of myself for that. But that’s extra motivation to know I have next year and I can push myself to win next year."

Sacred Heart also scored the most team points at the event. Howley and Gormsen, who have goals of competing in the 2024 Olympics after swimming in Olympic Trials and winning gold medals at the FINA World Cup, want to continue improving as swimmers individually but more importantly to them, they want Sacred Heart to keep winning.

"We’re coming in hard," Howley said. "We’re going to come in and we’re going to win."

2021 girls swimming federation state championships at Ithaca College. Winners and Top 10 finishers from Long Island

200-yard medley relay: 1) Northport-Commack (Riordan, Phelan, O’Brien, Edlin Miller) 1:45.92, 5) Hauppauge-Smithtown (Treglia, Dominger, Kazlauskas, Burns) 1:48.19; 200 freestyle: 1) C. Gormsen (Sacred Heart) 1:45.92, 5) Connor (Garden City) 1:52.40, 6) Sommerstad (Port Jefferson) 1:52.76, 9) L. Gormsen (SH) 1:53.38, 10) Montefusco (Huntington-Whitman) 1:53.52; 200 IM: 1) Phelan (Nor-Com) 1:59.95, 3) Herr (Shoreham-Wading River) 2:04.18, 5) Yee (Herricks) 2:06.28, 6) McKenna (St. Anthony’s) 2:06.32, 10) Racanello (Manhasset) 2:09.10; 50 free: 1) Johnston (Horace Greeley) 22.85, 6) Kennedy (South Side) 23.97, 7) Zhao (Half Hollow Hills) 24.13, 10) Haag (Massapequa) 24.60; Diving: 1) Flanders (Albany) 509.70, 2) Wang (Man) 507.70, 3) Yang (Jericho) 490.20; 100 butterfly: 1) Howley (SH) 52.37, 3) Treglia (Ha-Sm) 55.33, 5) Herr (SWR) 55.93, 6) Yee (Her) 56.10, 9) Brown (Kings Park) 56.74; 100 free: 1) Owens (Olean) 50.54, 5) Zhao (HHH) 51.72, 7) Connor (GC) 51.97; 500 free: 1) C. Gormsen (SH) 4:40.73, 3) McKenna (SA) 4:53.67, 5) Sommerstad (PJ) 4:57.85, 7) Larsen (SH) 4:59.93, 8) Konop (Long) 5:05.77, 10) Chun (East Meadow) 5:07.89; 200 free relay: 1) Sacred Heart (Howley, Dean, Pearce, C. Gormsen) 1:35.05, 5) Hills (Dimaria, Konsky, Cohen, Zhao) 1:39.80, 9) Manhasset (Mulholland, Giordano, Racanello, Broderick) 1:40.49; 100 backstroke: 1) Howley (SH) 53.13, 3) Treglia (Hau-Sm) 54.73, 4) Kennedy (SS) 54.90, 8) Han (Carle Place-Locust Valley) 57.11; 100 breaststroke: 1) Phalen (Np-Co) 1:01.07, 3) Brown (KP) 1:04.42, 5) Montefusco (Hunt-Whit) 1:05.19, 7) Hu (Syosset) 1:06.33; 400 free relay: 1) Sacred Heart (Howley, L. Gormsen, Dean, C. Gormsen) 3:25.15; 4) Hauppauge-Smithtown (Waring, Kazlauskas, Burns, Treglia) 3:05.15, 6) Hills (Cohen, Konsky, Dimaria, Zhao) 3:36.27. Teams scores: 1) Sacred Heart 270, 4) Hauppauge-Smithtown 121, 7) Northport-Commack 114.5.

2021 girls swimming NYSPHSAA state championships at Ithaca College. Winners and Top 10 finishers from Long Island

200-yard medley relay: 1) Northport-Commack (Riordan, Phelan, O’Brien, Edlin Miller) 1:45.92, 5) Hauppauge-Smithtown (Treglia, Dominger, Kazlauskas, Burns) 1:48.19; 200 freestyle: 1) Reyna (White Plains) 1:48.70, 4) Connor (Garden City) 1:52.40, 5) Sommerstad (Port Jefferson) 1:52.76, 9) L. Gormsen (SH) 1:53.38, 8) Montefusco (Huntington-Whitman) 1:53.52, 9) Konop (Longwood) 1:54.49; 200 IM: 1) Phelan (Nor-Com) 1:59.95, 2) Herr (Shoreham-Wading River) 2:04.18, 4) Yee (Herricks) 2:06.28, 8) Racanello (Manhasset) 2:09.10; 9) Schlegel (PJ) 2:08.41; 50 free: 1) Johnston (Horace Greeley) 22.85, 6) Kennedy (South Side) 23.97, 7) Zhao (Half Hollow Hills) 24.13, 10) Haag (Massapequa) 24.60; Diving: 1) Flanders (Albany) 509.70, 2) Wang (Man) 507.70, 3) Yang (Jericho) 490.20; 100 butterfly: 1) McKane (Corning) 54.63, 2) Treglia (Ha-Sm) 55.33, 4) Herr (SWR) 55.93, 5) Yee (Her) 56.10, 7) Brown (Kings Park) 56.74; 100 free: 1) Owens (Olean) 50.54, 5) Zhao (HHH) 51.72, 7) Connor (GC) 51.97; 500 free: 1) Reyna (WP) 4:44.59, 3) Sommerstad (PJ) 4:57.85, 7) Larsen (SH) 4:59.93, 5) Konop (Long) 5:05.77, 7) Chun (East Meadow) 5:07.89, 8) Gelfand (Bellmore-Merrick) 5:02.98, 10) Giordano (Man) 5:08.33; 200 free relay: 1) Pine Bush (Hajek, McKee, Mance, Gula) 1:36.88, 4) Hills (Dimaria, Konsky, Cohen, Zhao) 1:39.80, 8) Manhasset (Mulholland, Giordano, Racanello, Broderick) 1:40.49; 100 backstroke: 1) Johnston (HG) 54.45, 2) Treglia (Hau-Sm) 54.73, 3) Kennedy (SS) 54.90, 7) Han (Carle Place-Locust Valley) 57.11; 100 breaststroke: 1) Phalen (Np-Co) 1:01.07, 2) Brown (KP) 1:04.42, 4) Montefusco (Hunt-Whit) 1:05.19, 6) Hu (Syosset) 1:06.33; 10) DeMarco (Long) 1:05.86; 400 free relay: 1) Horace Greeley (Zhu, Byrne, Adams-Miller, Johnston) 3:27.14, 3) Hauppauge-Smithtown (Waring, Kazlauskas, Burns, Treglia) 3:05.15, 5) Hills (Cohen, Konsky, Dimaria, Zhao) 3:36.27; Team scores: 1) Horace Greeley 167, 3) Hauppauge-Smithtown 121, 5) Northport-Commack, 9) Hills 106.

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