Hewlett swims to conference title


Needing a victory in its final meet to capture the Nassau Conference II girls’ swimming championship, Hewlett came through under pressure and outlasted visiting South Side, 53-49.

The Lady Bulldogs sealed the win in the next-to-last event, the 100-yard breaststroke, when senior Jacqulyn Teller and sophomore Val Elefante finished first and second, respectively.

“I could tell the girls were a little nervous, and so was I,” coach Gregg Solnick said. “We knew it was going to be a tough meet, and we needed to win to clinch the conference.

“It was a lot of pressure,” he added. “The girls were very excited when it was over, and some of them felt relieved.”

Teller, a transfer from Syosset who boosted Hewlett’s lineup in a handful of events, was instrumental in the win over South Side on Oct. 17. She won the 100 breaststroke in 1:11.53, the 200 freestyle in 2:08.65, and anchored the winning 200 medley and freestyle relays. She went on to earn All-Division honors in the breaststroke six days later with a school-record time of 1:11.21. “Jackie swims year-round and is in contention to qualify for the state meet,” Solnick said.

Elefante’s time in the breaststroke of 1:15.45 was four seconds better than her previous best, Solnick said. “I knew she had it in her,” he said. “The adrenaline was flowing and she came through.”

Junior Jasmine Nakkab won the 200 Individual Medley (2:26.21) and was also part of both winning relays, junior Alli Cohen won the 100 butterfly (1:11.10) and contributed in the medley relay, and freshman Kimberly Tetuan finished first in the 500 freestyle (6:02.09.)

“It was a total team effort, just like we got all season,” Solnick said.

Hewlett went 6-0-1 to capture the crown. It battled Plainview to a rare tie — 51-51 — on Oct. 11 despite the absence of a key contributor, Elefante. “Other girls really stepped up,” said Solnick, who noted Cohen placed second in the butterfly and divers Rayna Smilowitz and Cherie Luo finished 1-2. “I haven’t seen a tie in a while, but they do occur,” he added.

Smilowitz, a sophomore, broke a school mark in diving Oct. 9 when she scored 228.67. “She’s very consistent and one of the top 10 in the county,” Solnick said. Luo, a senior, posted her personal best against Plainview, scoring 153.60.

Junior Allyson Geiger enjoyed a big performance against Plainview as well, grabbing second in the 100 and 200 freestyle and leading off the winning 200 medley and freestyle relays.

The 200 medley relay of Geiger (backstroke), Teller (breaststroke), Nakkab (butterfly) and freshman Sarah Husain (freestyle) established a new school record of 2:00.29 in the division meet.