Oceanside’s Catherine Stanford entered Saturday’s county championships with high expectations.
Ones that she was able to meet.
“I came in with the mindset that I was going to win,” she said. “I did not want to be the person that goes in thinking that my opponents are going to beat me.”
For the third consecutive season, Stanford finished first in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyles at the Nassau Swimming and Diving championships at the Nassau Aquatic Center at Eisenhower Park.
The junior swam a 23.36 in the 50 free, a 50.96 in the 100 free and was named the meet’s Most Valuable Swimmer. During the preliminaries Friday night, Stanford broke her <NM1>own<NM>50 freestyle county record of 23.68 that she set in 2017.
“It was a really great accomplishment,” Stanford said. “I had all my family and friends supporting me and telling me that I could do it, and I did it.”
Stanford also swam the anchor leg on the winning 200- and 400-freestyle relays. The Sailors trailed heading into the final leg of the 200 free relay, but Stanford was able to close the gap and swam a 22.67 leg to get the win.
Stanford’s teammate Morgan Rinn won the 200 Individual medley in 2:04.82, the 100 butterfly in 55.96, and swam the opening leg on both of the Sailors’ winning relays.
Great Neck South’s Jessica Whang won the 100 breastroke for a third straight season. Whang earned All-American consideration with her time of 1:03.09. Her season-best time of 1:03.02 in the event ranks second in the state.
“I am really happy that my hard work has paid off,” Whang said. “Swimming is a tough sport, not only physically, but mentally. Without the help of my family, friends, coaches and teammates, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”
Herricks’ Katherine Hong won the 100 backstroke (56.89), Manhasset’s Francesca Raimondi was first in the 200 freestyle (1:53.25) and eighth-grader Mary McKenna of Wantagh bested defending county champion Sophia Karras of Herricks by 0.28 seconds in the 500 free.
Garden City captured the Nassau team title for the 20th consecutive season, scoring 443 points. The Trojans won the first event of the day, the 200 medley relay, in 1:51.12. Bellmore-Merrick finished second with 349 points and Manhasset was third with 312 points.
“Our versatility and our depth allows me the opportunity to move my girls around,” Garden City coach Anne Sullivan said. “No one owns an event. I put my lineup together utitlizing as many swimmers on my team that will make us successful.”