Senior swimmer Kelly Lennon refused to shy away from it.
The Half Hollow Hills girls swimming team has been on a season-long mission to prove that their 2015 Suffolk I championship — their first since 2008 — was anything but a fluke.
“Definitely,” Lennon said when asked if the team was pursuing validation for last season’s run to the top. “I think winning league is our mindset. I think we need to prove that we can win counties as well.”
Now they’re only one win away from repeating as champions.
Rhea Randhwa, Elizabeth Park, Bailey Scharf and Lennon won the medley relay (3:45.45) to give Half Hollow Hills a slim, back-and-forth 96-90 victory over Connetquot in a preview of the league title meet, extending its winning streak to 16.
Lennon (27.66 seconds in the 50 freestyle, 1:00.06 in the 100 free), Scharf (59.57, 100 butterfly and 200 medley relay), Randhwa (1:00.23, 100 backstroke) and Park (2:11.82, 200 IM) all qualified for the state championship this season. The state meet is Nov. 18-19 at Ithaca.
“I definitely think we can make the finals in the 200 medley relay,” Scharf said.
After being pushed to the limit, Half Hollow Hills (6-0) will battle Connetquot (7-1) once again for the Suffolk I championship on Wednesday.
“Yeah, I think they gave us a little bit of a wake-up call,” first-year coach Nina Cunningham said of Connetquot’s effort Thursday night. “It’s something that I’m going to preach to our girls — be smart and win your own race.”
Scharf quickly echoed the same sentiment as Lennon when asked if the team is seeking confirmation that last season’s league title was legitimate.
“Definitely,” Scharf said, refusing to shy away from it.