By Janee Law
Northport High School’s varsity boys swim team might be young -- this year marked the first ever time that the school assembled its own boys swim team -- but that didn’t stop sophomore Zach Papsco from competing in the New York State championship earlier this month.
“I wasn’t expecting to make it there at all,” said Papsco, 15. “I was kind of expecting to make it next year.”
Papsco, who was the only Tiger to compete at the state level, said he was “very happy” to compete in upstate Buffalo at Erie Community College on March 4, competing in the 100-yard butterfly, placing 31st with a time of 52.65 seconds.
“He did very well,” said coach Kristen Foley. “He did not make it back to the finals, but he dropped a full second” off of his time.
Foley continued, “As a tenth grader qualifying for states, that in and of itself was pretty impressive. It was an outstanding swim.”
Papsco qualified for the NYSPHSAA in December during the Hauppauge Invitational Meet, during which he took third place in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 53.69 seconds.
Papsco then went on to compete in Suffolk championship on Feb. 13 at Suffolk County Community College. There, Papsco completed the 100-yard butterfly once again in 53.69 seconds, taking fourth place.
Papsco said he started swimming when he was 6 years old and swam with the Huntington YMCA. When he turned 8, Papsco starting swimming with the Hauppauge Swim Club, and continues to swim with the club today.
Papsco also swims in the 200-yard butterfly and both the 200- and 400-yard individual medley races.
Coach Foley said the sophomore has “has progressed throughout the season. He worked on his start, he worked on his kick and it all paid off.
“He set the goal for himself and he achieved it.”
For next season, Papsco’s goal is to place top 16 and hopes to get All-State in two events.
He said, “It was fun this season and can’t wait for next year.”