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Syosset swimmers' unusual recipe for success

Syosset girls swimming last year finished in the middle of the pack in Nassau Conference II. It lost a solid core of seniors to graduation, was relegated to Conference III and its roster was overrun with freshmen and sophomores.

A recipe for an undefeated season? Well, apparently.

Led by a medley of a freshman, a transferee from Georgia and emerging sophomore Liz Lu, the 8-0 Braves clinched their first conference title since 2007 in a 108-80 win over previously-undefeated Hewlett on Monday.

"I think in August, when we saw the influx of talent, their confidence really skyrocketed," Syosset coach Rich Powell said. "They really gave us the depth that we needed."

Lu, who won the 100-yard freestyle (56.43 seconds), the 50 free (26.52) and led both the 200 medley and 400 free relay teams to victory, also will compete in the county meet for a spot on the state team in those events.

A few of the girls joining her will be freshmen Jackie Tang (200 and 500 free) and Valerie Catalano (100 and 200 free), and junior Alyssa Chvasta (100 backstroke and butterfly), the Georgia import. Two other sophomores also have qualified for the county meet in individual events: Kathy Gabinoff (100 breaststroke and 200 IM) and Isabell Henn (100 backstroke and 100 butterfly).

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