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Port Washington Yacht Club Swim Team: Building a Dynasty

What an amazing year. Building off last season’s undefeated dual meet record of 5-0, the coaching staff of Joe Lennon, Kelly Bergin, Katherine Byrns, Kristin Augenthaler, and Matt Carrozzo were optimistic about this summer. With lanes more crowded than ever before, we needed a new plan of attack for our practices. We spent our time teaching and training our younger swimmers.

Coach Kelly working tirelessly in Lane 1, teaching the future core of the team and teaching body position through the use of all four strokes. Her time and dedication paid off with some remarkable swimmers stepping up and contributing in our championship weekend. Kelly, along with her sister Michaela, is also taking time to see every guppy in the program and give swimming instruction. This is helping create a base of swimmers for years to come.

We had Coach Kat and Coach Kristin, a.k.a. Muffin, teaching our 9-10 year old swimmers proper stroke technique by using various drills. This slow and deliberate method has turned the heads in the league with how efficiently many of our swimmers are moving. This group posted many finalist swims at our champs. Coach Matt and I worked to both teach and train our older swimmers. This dedicated group of swimmers is the reason this team continues to improve. Their presence on the deck, at practice and at meets, shows the younger swimmers that if they keep it up, success will follow. Together, we taught them how to swim smarter and then trained them to swim faster.

After a rain delay put off our first dual meet, we faced Strathmore-Vanderbilt at home. With cheers heard as far as Manhasset Bay Yacht Club, our spirit and our talent brought us to a triple digit victory.

The team looked forward to Douglaston Yacht Club, a close, personal, and very difficult rivalry for us. After a close two-point victory last season, we were nervous but positive as we met on the deck. As the final event came to an end, we were again victorious with a 78-point win. Our hopes about a repeat undefeated season were lifted.

We then traveled to Manhasset Bay for our long-standing rivalry in our first away meet. As always, it was a very spirited and competitive contest. As the meet progressed, stormy weather moved in. Thunder and lightning began and the meet was cut short by two events, we were again victorious with a score of 242-181. With the team improving to 3-0 (or 8-0 as we liked to say on deck), optimism was in the air.

Making up our meet against Sea Cliff, last year’s league champs, was our toughest challenge yet. With the meet moved to Port Washington, we were feeling good about our chances. With a full roster of over 130 swimmers, we put our best forward and won the meet by 59 points. With a final meet remaining, we were on a roll.

We met Nassau Country Club early on a Saturday morning. After taking four of the first five relays, we knew victory was in the air. As the meet progressed, Port Washington won each stroke and took a total of 28 first places and an additional 35 second places to win the meet and complete a second consecutive undefeated dual meet season. What an incredible summer!

Looking forward to the league championships, we had our reservations about winning with a limited number of older swimmers. We spent such a great deal of time teaching our younger swimmers that they had the ability to take both first and second place. After trials had ended, Port Washington had 52 swims in the finals, more than any other club. We also had 10 highly competitive relays. As the meet progressed, we saw some incredible swims. Most athletes bettered their times and more importantly, moved up in scoring places. As the final places were announced, Port Washington was named the 2011 North Shore Swim League Champions: an amazing crowning achievement to an outstanding year. Each and every athlete on this team made significant progress throughout the swim season. Each swimmer improved their endurance and their stroke technique with each practice they made. Every week, times dropped with each race they swam.

We feel this program is constantly work in progress. Each athlete on this team made valuable contributions to our overall success. This may have come in the form of athletic ability, good sportsmanship, dedicated enthusiasm, generous flexibility, or overwhelming team spirit. I have seen these qualities in each and every swimmer on this team and that is the way that true success is measured. We believe that there is still greater potential to explore. We know that with continued hard work and dedication from each member of the team and coaching staff that the best is yet to come.