Cremer named most
Sayville/Bayport-Blue Point's Christian Cremer received the outstanding swimmer award after winning the 200-yard freestyle (1:43.10), 500 freestyle (4:38.75) and swimming the anchor leg on the first place 200 freestyle relay (1:30.82). The Bayport-Blue Point senior also swam the anchor leg on the second-place 400 freestyle relay (3:17.73).
"I wasn't exactly expecting it until this year," Cremer said. "I was like, 'Wait a minute, I'm gonna be one of the oldest kids so I actually have potential to get it.' That kind of gave me extra incentive to train harder and definitely try to get that award in my hands."
Cremer nearly added a county record to his day, swimming a 4:38.75 in the 500 free, just a little over a second off the record time of 4:37.19.
"It's really hit or miss," he said. "Earlier in the day, I swam the 200 freestyle and thought I was swimming a record time, but I was a little off. But in the 500 it felt great and I knew I was close. At the end of the lane they have a shaker and they shake it when you get close, so you kind of know but you're never sure. It's always kind of guessing."
Second time's a charm
After posting a 280.65 in diving on Jan. 29, Sachem East's Anthony Steffanelli thought he had beat Ryan Savit's county-leading total. The feeling of excitement lasted just a few moments, however, as it turned out the Section XI Web site hadn't been updated since Savit's last dive and the Half Hollow Hills diver still held the top spot.
On Saturday, however, there was no confusion and Steffanelli finally topped his fellow standout sophomore, 427.8 to 416.15, to earn second place in the county diving championships and qualify for states.
"I was really happy when I thought I had beat Ryan, because I knew I had to work really hard to do it," Steffanelli said. "Once I found out he still had the top score, I worked even harder."
Steffanelli, who stands just 4-9, said that aside from lacking a bit of power jumping off the board, his size is a benefit.
"I do gymnastics and the size helps me for that," he said. "And the gymnastics helps me with the diving."
No final heat, no problem
Half Hollow Hills' John Pangal was the lone swimmer to qualify for the state meet that swam one of the preliminary heats. Pangal ended up placing fifth overall - beating four swimmers who made the final heat - to post a 4:52.59 and qualify in the 500 free. The state cut is 4:55.18, and his previous best in that event was 5:04.36.
"It's a little harder, because you don't really have a gauge to judge yourself by in the pool," Pangal said, adding: "You feel like you want to prove to everyone that you belong in the last heat."
Coach Jason Wiedersum said that before yesterday's championship, Pangal had only swam the 500 free in two or three other competitions because of injuries to some of the team's other swimmers.
"He knew what he had to do," Wiedersum said. "He knew that his best time would be on par with everybody in that final heat. He just couldn't look at the rest of his heat, he had to race the clock only."