By John Grimaldi
Half Hollow Hills’ boys swimming team raced to a second-place finish in the team standings of last week’s state championship.
The successful showing also marked the end of two key Thundercolts’ high school careers.
Collectively, Half Hollow Hills accrued 206 total points – good for second in the overall team standings. The Thundercolts were bested only by Ward Melville (238.5), a team they had outmatched weeks earlier at Suffolk’s championships.
Individually and in the relays, Half Hollow Hills was led by several strong performances. The school also yielded among the field the most competitors in individual meets. That’s a “huge accomplishment,” said coach Nina Cunningham.
Leading the charge was senior Ethan Tack, a staple of the Thundercolts program for the past several years. He finished second in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 49.8 seconds; and third in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:43.03.
Dylan Chan, another senior and powerhouse for the Thundercolts, finished fourth in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 51.39 seconds; and 10th in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 51.86 seconds.
Half Hollow Hills junior Kabir Randhawa also found success. He finished third in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:32.81; and seventh in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:43.54.
The trio was also part of both the Half Hollow Hills relay teams that made the podium in their respective events.
The 200-yard medley relay squad, which also consists of junior Mason Arnberg, clocked in at 1:35.26, good for third place.
The 400-yard freestyle relay team, which includes senior Alex Jakubiak, also placed third with a time of 3:09.24.
“I’m very happy with the results,” Cunningham said. “I think the boys swam fantastically.”
The meet was the last in Chan’s and Tack’s high school careers. They’ve been swimming together via the Half Hallow Hills program since their middle school days.
“I was a little disappointed in how I did,” Chan said. “I felt like there were some things that couldn’t be helped – like my goggles filling up, or slipping off the start.
But, he continued, “Coach told me: ‘Don’t focus on the icing, but just the whole cake.’ It was the end of my varsity career and I’m happy with it. I’m truly blessed.”
As for Tack, he said he thought he performed well, and improved upon his showing from last year.
“I had some crazy swims last year that I’m not sure I could repeat, but I definitely am better than I was last year,” he said.
Both Thundercolts plan to continue their swim careers at the collegiate level – Chan at Dartmouth, and Tack at Navy.
Cunningham said the boys’ leadership will be missed.
“They are good role models,” Cunningham said. “They do what they are suppose to do and are still willing to listen and learn.”