Shane Morris went to Binghamton University for a lacrosse showcase to be noticed for a potential scholarship. He was, but it wasn’t for his work on the field.
When Morris, a Long Beach senior, sent a portfolio of his work to Binghamton, he included his times for the Marines’ swim team. During the showcase, Morris explored the campus and walked by the pool. When Morris returned to Long Island, he emailed swim coach Brad Smith, who said he already had seen some of Morris’ times from the lacrosse coach.
“It was pretty insane,” said Morris, who will be swimming for Smith next season. “It was the best feeling ever finally committing but I definitely did not expect it at all to be the way it happened.”
Morris has unfinished business at Long Beach. He and his brother Troy, a junior, have led the Marines to a 7-0 record through January 24, including a 98-88 victory over four-time defending county champion, Garden City January 20. Long Beach coach John Skudin said he believes it was the first time Long Beach defeated Garden City in a dual meet since 2008.
“The feeling didn’t really hit me until the day after,” Troy said. “I didn’t really know how to process it because it was something we’ve been working so hard for, and it finally happened so we were really just speechless.”
Shane won the 50-yard freestyle in 22.51 seconds and the 100-yard backstroke in 57.44 and Troy Morris won the 100-yard freestyle in 50.77 in the victory over Garden City. Ryan Aroesty added a win for Long Beach in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:04.49.
Troy and Shane have been competing against and with each other as long as they can remember. Whether in the pool or on the lacrosse field, where Shane is a standout goaltender and Troy plays midfield and attack. Each began swimming for the varsity team in the seventh grade.
“We’ve always played every sport together, we’ve always been very competitive,” Troy said. “I would go to the field when he played goalie and I would just shoot with him for hours. The energy and chemistry with us is crazy when it comes to meets and games.”
Shane added, “We always had to one up each other. If he did something good then I had to do something better so I really think we pushed each other a lot.”
And whereas many athletes may specialize in swimming, Skudin think it’s best for the Morris brothers to be playing multiple sports because he said they may get a little “burned out” and it keeps swimming “fresh.” Plus their natural athletic ability shines in both sports.
“They’re good athletes,” Skudin said. “Everybody can work hard but sometimes you’re just a really good athlete. So they’re really good athletes and they work hard.”
But Shane sees similarities between swimming and lacrosse that may not appear to be obvious. Swimming may be thought of as a more individual sport and lacrosse more a team sport, but he believes they both share individual and team identities.
“Swimming is an individual sport but both swimming and lacrosse, we really have to come together and work as a team to win,” he said. “They’re different but the same because both of them are an individual effort along with a team effort.”
And with the confidence-building victory over Garden City, the Morris brothers and the Long Beach swimming team hope that will finish with a county championship.