Late last month, the South Side High School girls swimming and diving team earned the Conference II Championship — the highest finish in the program’s history — when it defeated Wantagh.
Additionally, the Lady Cyclones placed fifth in the county-wide swim meet, which was held over two days on Nov. 8 and 9.
South Side has come up through the ranks. In 2009, when Head Coach Rachel McShane took the reins, the team placed first in Conference III, ending their long losing streak. After that, they were moved up to Conference II. Next year, the team will be competing in Conference I.
“We went from Conference III to Conference I in five years,” McShane said. “It’s a huge accomplishment, seeing as how we started with practically nothing.”
Part of the conference success, McShane said, was due to the team’s three divers: senior and captain Nicole Kerr, junior Megan Lomuto and seventh grader Devin McCarthy. “Diving was a real strong point for us this year,” McShane said.
At the county meet, it was the team’s other captains — Rachel Marasco, Sydney Layne and Christine Beaudet — that helped lead the Lady Cyclones to their fifth-place finish, one of the best in South Side history.
The four captains were selected out of the team’s nine graduating seniors. McShane called them all great role models and credited them, especially Marasco, for the success.
“Rachel is a great swimmer,” said McShane. “She scored lots of points for us at the county meet in her two events: 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley.”
The team had some very strong performances during the county meet, placing in the top 10 in eight of the 12 events out of 29 teams.