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 Long Island swimmers, relays ruled state tournament

Trenton Burr, Andy Lee, Jason Lauser, Justin Meyn and Jake Newmark have something in common -- they won a state championship.

Great Neck South's Andy Lee

Great Neck South's Andy Lee Photo Credit: James Escher

Trenton Burr, Hauppauge, Sr.

In the moment, Burr wasn’t even exactly sure what happened.

Swimming in his final high school race, Burr didn’t want to leave the pool with any regrets. He didn't. He exited with a state title.

Burr won the 100-yard backstroke state championship in an All-American consideration time of 50.30 seconds, edging Fordham Prep’s Nicholas Torres by 0.23 seconds.

“I was in shock,” Burr said. “My hand hit the wall . . . the first thing I heard was the announcer say my name, then I looked up at the board and saw No. 1. I just couldn’t believe it was happening.”

Burr, like many swimmers, has a saying, and it’s exactly how he ended his varsity tenure.

“It’s a great way to go out,” Burr said. “It’s amazing. It sounds stupid, but they always say, 'Last one, fast one,' and this was my last one, and it paid off.”

Andy Lee, Great Neck South, Sr.

There was a time Lee thought about quitting.

The workload and time needed to be an elite swimmer can be overwhelming, and Lee credited his coaches and parents for helping him to decide to go on with the sport.

And Lee continued getting better and better, building up to winning two individual state championships. He won the 50 freestyle in 20.60 and 100 butterfly in 48.13. Both were All-American automatic times, and the time in the butterfly was also a Nassau County record.

Lee was also a member of the 200-medley relay team that posted the fastest time of all public schools in the state finals.

“I don’t take this award for granted,” said Lee, who is committed to Columbia University. “All that’s gotten me here is hard work and dedication. I’ve been swimming for 12 years now, and it’s not that easy to be dedicated to the sport that long and I don’t have any regrets from the day I started to the day I finish. It’s an honor to be holding this title.”

Jason Louser, Shoreham-Wading River, Sr.

Louser’s place in state swimming history is unquestioned. A five-time state champion, he won the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke in the state meet, setting records in both events.

“It definitely doesn’t get old,” Louser said. “Standing on the podium is always a great honor to be the state champion.”

Louser won the 200 IM — his second-straight state title in the event — in 1:47.98, after setting the state record (1:46.00) in the preliminaries a day earlier. He then won his third-straight 100 breaststroke state championship in a record time of 53.94. Both winning marks were All-American automatic times.

“I’ve been working so hard for these races and I just know I have to trust my training and my coaches and all they’ve helped me with and done for me,” said Louser, who will swim at California-Berkeley. “I just have to trust the process and that’s what I’ve been doing lately and it’s been working out.”

Justin Meyn, St. Anthony’s, Sr.

Meyn’s final individual varsity swim couldn’t have gone much better -- he won the 100 freestyle in an All-American consideration time of 45.40.

“To win that state title is everything I’ve been working toward since my freshman year at St. Anthony’s,” said Meyn, who is committed to Binghamton University. “Basically, everything came together and I couldn't ask to think of a better way to finish my individual career than with a win.”

Meyn was also a member of the Friars’ 200 and 400 free relay championships.

“He sets the example,” said coach Dan McBride after the CHSAA championships. “He wants his team to push themselves to the limits, and he’ll do it first. He’ll be the first guy out there to push himself with everything’s he’s got.”

Jake Newmark, Garden City, Jr.

The idea of winning a state championship this year was more of a dream than a realistic goal for Newmark. Until it became reality.

After winning the 200 and 500 free county championships, Newmark thought he might be able to do the same thing at the state meet. After posting top times in preliminaries, Newmark met his goal -- he won the 200 in 1:38.15, and the 500 in 4:27.10. Both were All-American automatic times.

“After counties, I really thought I could win states but before that, I really just wanted top three,” Newmark said.

Newmark has a chance next year to improve on his times.

“Just knowing all the trainings paid off, the races I’ve been visualized actually happened and came through,” Newmark said, “it’s one of the best feelings.”

Great Neck South 200 medley relay

Justin Whang, Soph., Christopher Lei, Sr., Andy Lee, Sr., Joshua Liu, Sr.

The Rebels trained hard all season to cut time and perfect their form in hopes of delivering a state title. And in the first race of the state meet, the group posted the fastest time of any public school, 1:34.18 -- an All-American consideration mark. Only Fordham Prep of the CHSAA was faster (1:33.37).

“When I saw the board and I saw 1:34, I was just so happy,” said Lee, who swam the 50 butterfly leg (21.55). “We dropped two full seconds and it was such an honor.”

St. Anthony 200 free relay

Mark Owens, Jr., Christopher Stange, Jr., William Swartwout, Jr., Justin Meyn, Sr.

St. Anthony’s takes great pride in its relays. And led by Meyn, the Friars didn’t want to be a group to leave the pool without a title. They did not disappoint, winning the state crown in an All-American automatic time of 1:24.37.

For Meyn, the relay victories (he was also a member of the 400 free relay team) are even en even more rewarding than his state title in the 100 free. “I like relays a lot more than the individual events because you have a group of guys that are beside you and ready to race and they get you going,” he said. “For those two relays, for us to win in the times we went, it’s something special that I’ll always remember.”

St. Anthony’s 400 free relay

Justin Meyn, Sr., Christopher Stange, Jr., Dylan Champagne, Sr., William Swartwout, Jr.

The Friars wanted to make sure they ended the state meet with an exclamation point, and that's exactly what they did -- winning the 400 free relay in a school-record time of 3:06.49.

That clinched the team championship for St. Anthony's.

“That was an awesome way to end it,” Champagne said. “For the seniors, we really wanted to go out on a high note, end this meet with an exclamation point and I think we went out there and swam our hearts out and it’s just a great way to end your career on varsity.”

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