Bishop Kearney High School Sports: Swimming
December proved to be a very exciting month for the Kearney swim team. In a tremendous upset, they defeated Notre Dame in a hotly contested meet, by just four points. The following week, they also defeated Fontbonne Hall, by a much greater margin.
Notre Dame’s swimmers won the first event, with Kearney picking up second and third. An impressive 1-2-3 finish in the 50 freeestyle by juniors Jillian Bardo and Diana Rossetti and senior Nora Howard (Rockaway Park) put the Tigers into the lead by the end of the first half. Notre Dame won the 100 fly, but sophomore Elizabeth Monohan finished a strong second, shaving 2 seconds off her personal best time. The duel continued in the 100 freestyle, with Jillian Bardo returning her personal best, joined by junior Briana Celano and senior Lindsey Burns, also achieving a personal best.
They combined for a 3-4-5 finish, keeping Kearney ahead. Senior Jackie Ward captured second place in the 500 free, with Kaitlin Doherty and Maria Ficalora competing in the event for the first time. Junior Mary Lograno (Belle Harbor), freshman Maeghan Edwards (Belle Harbor) and captain Courtney Donahue (Rockaway Park) all swam personal best times in the 100 backstroke. Captain Keara Savage (Belle Harbor) won both of her individual events, the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke.
The score remained close throughout. Kearney tied the meet in the second event and took the lead in the third, with Notre Dame tying the meet at the 500 free. Kearney then seized the lead with a commanding 1-2 finish in the 200 freestyle relay. The final event, the 400 freestyle, would decide the winner. At the start, Notre Dame’s swimmers took the lead, but Kearney swimmers Jill Bardo, Briana Celano, captain Tiffany Rivera and Keara Savage kept close, swimming a season best combined time of 4:19.68.
It wasn’t fast enough to take first place away from Notre Dame; Kearney took second place. The relay of captain Mary Gil, freshman Kaitlin Doherty, junior Alison Nunziata and sophomore Brianne Carroll (Belle Harbor) captured third place in the event, providing enough points to keep the Tigers in the lead and win the meet.
The season had opened with the Freshman Championships, held at St. Francis College. The freshman team bonded through this first meet, cheering each other on during their events. The squad, consisting of: Alison Behette, Victoria Cann, Julia DeLorenzo, Sarah Donahue (Rockaway Park), Victoria Dresch, Maeghan Edwards, Chelsea Kellar (Belle Harbor), Ashley Santiago, AnnMarie Sawicki, Katherine Silva and Deirdre Stokes (Breezy Point) combined their efforts to take 5th place. Victoria Cann and Alison Behette finished within the top six in the 100 IM and earned medals; Victoria also medaled in the 50 butterfly. Katherine Silva captured 4th place in the 50 breaststroke.
Kearney’s swimmers posted their first win of the season against St. Joseph Hill. The team opened with a strong second place in the 200-medley relay, and then moved on to the 200 freestyle, where Briana Celano posted a second place finish, to keep the momentum going. The Tigers broke the meet open, when Brianne Carroll, Jillian Bardo and Diana Rossetti captured the top three places in the 50 freestyle. Brianne Carroll was one of several swimmers who set personal best times in the meet. Elizabeth Monohan set her all-time best in the 100 fly, and Courtney Donahue dropped over a second in the 100 backstroke.
At the first Kearney–Fontbonne match, Kearney’s 200 freestylers, Briana Celano, Katie Toomey and Mary Gil finished first, second and third in the second event. Kearney continued to dominate the meet, capturing four additional first place finishes, and taking both first and second place in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Keara Savage finished first in her individual events of the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke. Jillian Bardo, who also placed first in her events, the 50 and 100 freestyles, joined her in this achievement. Both swimmers were joined by Briana Celano and Tiffany Rivera to finish in a commanding first place in the 400 freestyle relay at the end of the meet. The team prepared for the meet against St. Joseph by the Sea by practicing during Christmas week, to make up for the time lost during the transit strike. St. Joseph’s is a tough competitor and provided the Kearney team with fast races, improving their competition swimming. Nineteen swimmers achieved a personal best, with many girls dropping between 5 to 8 on their swims. Deirdre Stokes dropped 8 seconds on her 200 IM and Jackie Ward took 6 seconds off her 500 freestyle. The 100 back saw Elizabeth Monohan (swimming the event for the first time) and Ann Marie Sawicki both achieve best times and their times cut for the “A” Championship meet.
Also earning that distinction were Deirdre Dresch and Christina Fiorella in the 100 breaststroke. More than half of the relay swims resulted in best times for the swimmers. Katherine Griffin and Maggie Brunton lowered their 100 free times by over 2 seconds. Even though the point scoring showed that St. Joseph’s won the meet, Kearney swimmers were proud of their personal best times and qualifications for the “A” Championships.
Kearney swimmers finished their amazing season in a meet against Archbishop Molloy, the same team they swam against at the beginning of the season. This was a good measure of how much the Tigers had developed over the season. In true Kearney fashion, many best times were achieved, allowing more swimmers to qualify for the end-of-season Championship meets.
Five members competed in new events, and three qualified for the “A” Championship meet: Lindsey Burns and AnnMarie Sawicki achieved “A” cut times in the 200 free and Stephanie Stucchio qualified in the 100 breaststroke. Many swimmers who were already competing in the “A” Championships lowered their personal best times, ahead of the final meet: Dana Gearity in the 200 IM; freshman Deirdre Stokes and Victoria Cann in the 100 free, Mary Gil and Caitlin Toomey in the 500 free and Briana Carroll in the 100 breaststroke.
It was a sad day for the seniors, who were swimming in their final dual meet of their high school career.
To finish the meet, all the seniors swam the traditional Senior Relays, and place first and second in that race.
The team and their coaches, Valerie Gilson and Katie Moran, thank the seniors for their dedication and leadership: captains Courtney Donahue, Mary Gil, Tiffany Rivers and Keara Savage, and fellow seniors Lindsey Burns, Christina Fiorella, Nora Howard and Jackie Ward.