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Joan Cash rises to occasion, leading Sacred Heart in NSCHSGAA swimming championship

Joan Cash of Sacred Heart Academy competes in

Joan Cash of Sacred Heart Academy competes in the 100 Yard Freestyle event during the CHSAA girls swimming championship in East Meadow on Sunday, November 10, 2019. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Sacred Heart’s Joan Cash remembered the feeling last season when she lost to Mary Louis Academy’s Maggie Donlevy in the 50-yard freestyle at the NSCHSGAA swimming championship and was determined to not let it happen again this season.

Cash got her chance Sunday in the 100 free at the Nassau Aquatic Center and made the most of it. She won in 50.67 seconds, besting Donlevy’s 51.29. The time is a league record, besting Cash’s own time of 50.93 in 2017.

“It was definitely motivating,” Cash said. “Maggie is a great person to race and we’re really close friends. Last year was a little disappointing but I love going up against her.”

Donlevy didn’t swim in this year’s 50 free but Cash still got the best of her, winning in 23.20, breaking the mark Donlevy set last year.

“I’m extremely happy with where I am at this point in the year,” Cash said. “I’ve been working really hard, especially after last year. I’m just looking forward to continuing to improve.”

She also was a part of Sacred Heart’s winning 200-medley and 200-free relay teams.

“I think that every single individual on our team has that determination,” Cash said. “We wanted to do this for each other. Everyone made sure we helped each other out to be the best we could and we came out on top.”

Sacred Heart captured the team title for the first time since 2009, according to coach Mary White, with 860 points. Mary Louis Academy was second with 749 and St. Anthony’s was third with 743.

“Joan is determined to be the best in everything that she does,” White said. “I have her as a student and I see that work ethic even in the classroom. It’s just a pure determination to be the best.”

Cash had lots of help bringing the league title back to Sacred Heart.

Freshman Tess Howley and Cavan Gormsen each won two individual events. Gormsen won the 200 free in 1:49.28 and bested her own league record in the 500 free with a time of 4:49.39. She had just set the record the previous day at 4:52.9.

“It’s pretty hard to keep lowering those numbers,” White said. “And for somebody to break their own record, one they set the day before, is even more impressive.”

Howley won the 100 butterfly (54.30) and the 100 backstroke (54.64).

“Our team is on another level,” Howley said. “The energy we get from each other is amazing.”

Howley also swam on the 200-medley relay and Gormsen was a part of the 200-free relay. Both also swam on the winning 400-free relay.

“When you have teammates like I do it makes everything easier,” Howley said.

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