The Levittown district girls high school swimming and diving team are Conference 2 champions, ending the year tied with Farmingdale High School. The Levittown squad is diving head-first into the playoffs, led by captains Grace Connors, Alyssa Bourquin, Christina Galiatsatos, Kimberly Ng and Sabina Sobhy.
“Our overall team strength is what stood out,” head coach Peter Groner said. “We were extremely good at getting seconds, thirds and fourths. Even if we didn’t win events, we got so many seconds, thirds and fourths that we got more points than the other teams.”
The Levittown team consists of student-athletes from both MacArthur High School and Division Avenue High School. With this year’s triumph, they are now back-to-back champions after winning the Conference 3 title a year ago.
Throughout the regular season, the Levittown girls breezed through the water, ending the year 8-1-1 overall. In seven conference meets, they were 6-0-1, becoming one of the most versatile squads in Nassau County.
“I got 30 girls on our team and every single one of them are contributors,” Groner said. “They work really hard. They’ve been training since the last week in August. They’re in the water five days a week for an hour and a half.”
The hours-upon-hours of training paid off.
Angelina Fazzino set a team record in the 500-yard freestyle this year, and Nadia Ayari did the same in the 1-meter dive.
In terms of the county championship, Isabella Bonagura, Greta Stroka, Mia Bacani, Bourquin, Cassidy Steiner and Evelyn Sun will each move on to represent Levittown. And Groner believes a big part of the team’s overall success if because of his five captains.
“They feed off each other,” Groner said. “They lead the cheers and encourage the other girls. I try to coach them on being leaders. I make sure they communicate. They’ve all bought into the concept that every single girl on the team counts.”
To top off the team’s season, the Levittown district is on pace to win the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Team Scholar Award for the second consecutive year. In order to qualify for this accolade, 75 percent of the 30 girls on the team must have a GPA of 90 percent or better. Last year, the overall team GPA was 94 percent.
The biggest challenge for Groner, though, is making this a fun experience for those who embark on it.
“It’s a challenging sport,” he said. “There’s a high burn-out rate.”