Lynbrook swims toward a championship 'as one'


In keeping with the message of their team motto, members of the Lynbrook green swim team came together “as one” to win the division in a dual meet this summer, and followed it up by earning the Nassau Municipal Swim Conference championship for the second straight year at the Valley Stream Pool on Aug. 13. The team is divided into two units, with the gold team finishing third in the conference.

“I’m just really proud of the way the kids were,” coach TJ Virgona said. “The kids really took a team-first attitude and they all practiced really hard, swam really well and we couldn’t be prouder of them as coaches.”

Virgona, who graduated from Lynbrook High School in 2010, completed his third season coaching the team. He started swimming for the Lynbrook Pool’s team when he was 9.

The club is comprised of children and teenagers from ages 7 to 17. The green team won the Conference II championship, while the gold unit finished in third place in Conference IV. The green squad finished a perfect 5-0 on the year, winning the division for the first time in a decade by winning a dual meet to clinch the title, while the gold team swam to a 3-2 mark.

The championship meet was comprised of teams representing the Town of Hempstead, Rath Pool (Franklin Square), the Echo Park Pool Complex (West Hempstead), New Bridge Road Park (Bellmore) and Park Wood (Great Neck).

Virgona praised all the swimmers for their efforts and made special note of Sofia Statuto (100-fly) and Tristan Hosein (50-fly) from the gold team and Mackenzie Casey (100-free) and John DiFiore (50-fly) from team green.

Tristan, 12, is going into seventh grade at Lynbrook South Middle School and has been on the swim team for three years. He said the club is full of team players that never give up.

“It felt amazing,” Tristan said of winning the championship. “We had two great teams that were full of kids who love to compete. Winning both the division and the championship showed that Lynbrook is here to win.”

Jason Diaz, 10, is going into fifth grade at Davison Avenue Intermediate School, in Malverne, and swam the 50-backstroke and freestyle relay at the championships. In his third year on the team, he said, its members become a family.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Jason said. “We get to swim with our friends and the coaches make it fun.”

In addition to Virgona, Kate Duffy, Carolyn Moore, Kelly Forster and Jack Hunter serve as assistants. The team began practicing at the Lynbrook Village Pool on May 29 and swam regularly up until the championship meet earlier this month. Their success was celebrated with a pizza party and trophy ceremony at Greis Park.

Virgona said he hopes to see the team continue to grow as the years go by, and to eventually move up conferences. He also reflected on how well the team members connected. “It was a good feeling to kind of see the team grow,” he said, “and it was really nice to see them all come together and cheer for each other. Watching those kids have fun and be there for each other is really what it’s all about.”