There’s a certain aura of confidence surrounding the Half Hollow Hills boys swimming team.
It could be construed as cockiness. But when you’ve been the team with the target on its back for the past 10 seasons and come out on top, it seems whatever you call it is working.
“This is our 10th win,” said junior Alex Park after Half Hollow Hills’ 10th consecutive Suffolk championship at Suffolk County Community College Brentwood Saturday. “We knew going into this meet that we’d be winning it, but mentally we had to kind of prepare ourselves.”
Senior Justin Chang added, “It was expected . . . it’s just what we do.”
Half Hollow Hills won six of the 11 races, including all three relays to earn 516 points. Ward Melville finished second at 234 points.
Half Hollow Hills started the day setting a school record (1:36.55) in the 200-yard medley relay with Dylan Chan, Park, Ethan Tack and Chang. From there, success continued.
Chang was a member of two winning relay teams and took two individual races — 50 free (22.22) and 100 fly (51.45). He’s said he’s worked hard on those two events the weeks leading to his final Suffolk race.
“Being a senior,” Chang said, “you want to make sure your last counties turns out good and it did turn out good. It’s something that I’ll always remember.”
Park won the 200 IM in 1:52.68, an All-American consideration time. West Islip diver Patrick Carter won the outstanding competitor award after posting a 579.90 score at Friday’s diving championship. Rocky Point’s Christopher O’Shea won two races — the 200 free (1:42.60) and 100 back (51.30).
Heading into the state meet March 4-5 in Buffalo, Half Hollow Hills just has one thing on its mind — proving to be the best in New York.
“We are really pumped,” Park said. “It’s going to be such a close meet and everyone is going to have to swim their best meet possible. But I think with the right mentality, the right coaching staff with the guys pushing each other, I think that we can take it.”