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LI swimmers make a big splash at state championships

Garden City's Jake Newmark wins the 200 freestyle

Garden City's Jake Newmark wins the 200 freestyle during the the New York State boys swimming championships on Saturday at the Nassau Aquatic Center. Credit: Bob Sorensen

There may not be an official Long Island championship in boys swimming, but that’s essentially what the local student-athletes turned Saturday's New York State Public High School Athletic Association meet into.

Long Island individuals and relay teams won 10 of 11 state championships Saturday at the Nassau Aquatic Center. In addition, St. Anthony's won the team title.

“There’s so many fast swimmers on Long Island,” said Garden City junior Jake Newmark. “Training with each other definitely helps push us, but I think it’s the competition. You want to be the fastest on Long Island, beat the guy next to you, that’s the biggest thing. The competition.”

Newmark was one of three Long Island swimmers to win two individual state championships, along with Shoreham-Wading River’s Jason Louser and Great Neck South’s Andy Lee.

It was a weekend Louser said he’ll never forget. After setting a state record in the 200 individual medley (1 minute, 46 seconds) in the preliminary races Friday, he won the event by clocking 1:47.98 Saturday. For an encore, Louser set another state record in winning the 100 breaststroke in 53.94 -- his third state title in the event. His time surpassed the mark of Huntington’s Gunther Cassell (54.51) set in 2015. His accomplishments also earned him the meet's Outstanding Competitor Award (he was a co-winner of the award last year). 

“The competition I’ve had in New York state has never made it easy and that’s the good part about swimming,” Louser said. “It’s always very competitive and you always have to work for what you deserve.”

Louser is headed to the University of California-Berkeley with five individual state championships.

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

Lee, a senior, became the day’s first double winner, taking the 50 freestyle (20.60) and 100 butterfly (48.13). He set a Nassau record in the 100 fly, surpassing Lynbrook’s Tim Marski’s 48.53, set last year.

“I’ve always wanted to go for that time,” Lee said. “When he hit that time, I was like, ‘Wow, maybe I can do that one day.’ Today was the day.”

Newmark won state titles in the 200 free (1:38.15) and 500 free (4:27.10). After entering Saturday with the top time in both events, he said he felt additional pressure to bring home a championship.

“It’s honestly a relief because being the top seed, there’s so much pressure because you can only go down,” he said. “So finishing first is just a relief, like ‘I did it, it’s done.’ And then it’s just celebrating.”

St. Anthony’s Justin Meyn had a hand in three state championships. He won the 100 free in 45.40 and swam on the Friars' 200 and 400 free relays that won in 1:24.37 and 3:06.49, respectively. The 400 clocking is a school record according to Friars' coach Dan McBride.

St. Anthony's compiled 277 points to win the team competition.

The only event won by a non-LI school was the 200-yard medley relay where Fordham Prep (Bronx) finished first in 1:33.37. Great Neck South's team of  Justin Whang, Christopher Lei, Lee and Joshua Liu was second in 1:34.18, the top public school time.

Hauppauge senior Trenton Burr won the 100 backstroke in 50.30, taking the state title by .03 seconds.

“It’s pretty surreal,” Burr said. “I was in shock. 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.”

Lee was happy to end his high school career as a state champion.

“I feel like everybody here at this meet right now, we all train to get to the point where we can call ourselves a state champion and I got to do that the past two years,” he said. “And there’s no better way to end your high school season than that.”

Long Island's Champions

200 free: Jake Newmark, Garden City, 1:38.15

200 IM: Jason Louser, Shoreham-Wading River, 1:47.98

50 free: Andy Lee, Great Neck South, 20.60

100 fly: Andy Lee, GNS, 48.13

100 free: Justin Meyn, St. Anthony’s, 45.40

500 free: Jake Newmark, GC 4:27.10

200 free relay: St. Anthony’s, Mark Owens, Christopher Stange, William Swartwout, Justin Meyn, 1:24.37

100 back: Trenton Burr, Hauppauge, 50.30

100 breast: Jason Louser, SWR, 53.94 (State record)

400 free relay: St. Anthony’s, Justin Meyn, Christopher Stange, Dylan Champagne, William Swartwout, 3:06.49

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