By Richard Oletsky ’15 and Miriam Gabay ‘15
With eighteen new swimmers, including two divers, the boy’s swim team had an amazing season this year, advancing to playoffs with a record of 7-2.
“The team as a whole did amazing this year,” said Captain Chris Ayala ’14. “Many juniors stepped up and I feel very confident leaving the team in their hands next year.”
The Hornets started their season with an unbelievable winning streak, beating New Utrecht, Lincoln High School, Prospect Heights Campus, Leon M. Goldstein, Medgar Evers High School, and High School of Telecommunications back-to-back-to-back-to-back.
“We have a young team; only four people are graduating, and I’m very excited,” said Coach Lenny DeVirgilio at the start of the season. “However, we have to work a little bit harder, and I think we can do it.”
Then came the Battle of Bedford. January 14 was the dreaded date against Madison, and the Hornets trained for this meet the whole season. During the meet, the Hornets gained the lead until the 500 freestyle, when the Knights caught up. However, with Nicholas Konovalov ’15 and Elvin Nisman ’16 getting first place in the 100 backstroke and 100 breaststroke, respectively, the Hornets were catching up once again. The crowd was going absolutely wild; both teams were neck-in-neck. The boys from both teams showed great sportsmanship and cheered everyone on.
It wasn’t until the end of the meet, the 400 freestyle relay, that the Hornets had a decisive victory, when anchor Matt Pero ’16 won first place with a time of 57.33 seconds. Midwood beat Madison with a score of 48-46, remaining victors of the
Battle of Bedford for the fourteenth year in a row.
“I think I did pretty well,” said Nisman. “I got first in everything I swam and it made me feel good to be appreciated and cheered on by the team. I’m very excited to see what the next swim season will bring for me.”
Despite losing against Brooklyn Tech and Fort Hamilton, Midwood advanced to the playoffs, only to discover that they were to swim against Madison again. Because four swimmers were not present, the first meet of the playoffs was a challenge. Madison kept catching up, and eventually beat Midwood with a score of 55-49. Despite the disappointment of losing to Madison, a ray of happiness appeared when Konovalov, one of the fastest swimmers in the city, qualified for States with an amazing time of 54.05 seconds for the 100 backstroke.
“I feel like I helped out the team to the best of my ability,” said Konovalov. “After a lot of practice, I was able to drop my time and eventually make States.”
Throughout the season, divers Eric Ash ’16 and Lasha Basadishvilli ’17 gave the Hornets an advantage during meets, as diving earn their team seven points automatically.
“It was good being a diver because it was my first year on the team and my first time doing all of these challenging dives,” said Ash. “It was definitely a great experience learning all of them.”
The rookies, such as Robert Wisniewski ‘17, contributed to the team. Wisniewski gained third place in almost all meets in the 500 freestyle, with an almost opens-qualifying time of 6 minutes 43.52 seconds.
Coach DeVirgilio said he is proud of every single person on the team and hopes to get into the final four, alongside Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech, and Francis Lewis next year.