Katie Laverty is the Sectional diving champ.
Combined Rye/Rye Neck/Blind Brook Girls’ Swimming
Katie Laverty, Lente Geelen Take Sectional Golds
By Mitch Silver
The Rye Area girls’ swim team came home from the Section 1 Championships Tuesday in a happy mood. Riding in the bus with Head Coach Kelly Johanson were a pair of individual gold medalists and a team that took fourth place in a competition that featured 43 teams from Westchester and Rockland.
Lente Geelen, the younger of two sisters on the team, splashed home first in the 50-Yard Freestyle in 24.06 seconds, nearly a minute under her preliminary time. She came back about an hour later to take silver in the 100 Back. She’d placed fourth in the prelims, but dropped more than two seconds in the finals to touch the wall in 57.06. Her two swims were nicely under the entry times for the State meet at Ithaca College November 22 and 23.
But the Rye High sophomore accomplished even more. She led off the meet swimming the backstroke leg of the 200-Yard Medley Relay, going a lightning quick 26.82 as part of the bronze-medal Rye quartet. And she anchored the 200 Free Relay, finishing her 50-yard sprint in 24.18 before she would swim the same distance even faster in the individual race. In all, the talented Ms. Geelen had a hand in amassing 97 points for Rye.
Another major contributor was Garnet Katie Laverty. In the 1-meter diving competition held early at the SUNY Purchase pool, Laverty entered ranked second in the Section behind Scarsdale junior Maddie Seltzer. She was still trailing Seltzer by half a point after the semifinals. Did that make the Harvard-bound senior nervous?
“I might have been, had I known the score,” she said. “I never want to know where I am; I just want to focus.”
Divers can choose their final three dives, and the diver who was just named by the Rye Lions Club as their Athlete of the Month nailed them. Her final score of 528.15 was six and a half points better than Seltzer’s and just five off the Section record. The two friends will hook up again at States.
Katie Laverty doesn’t just dive into water; she swims through it as well. Her top-15 time of 1:12.77 in the 100-Yard Breaststroke added points to the 20 she earned on the springboard. Coach Johanson said of her, “Katie was one of our team captains this year and did an amazing job.”
Rye Neck’s Grace Kujawski swam the 100 Breast as well. Her 1:06.70 was more than a second faster than the time she put up in winning the League 2 title in October. The Panther senior helped accrue 54 team points with efforts that included a top-10 finish in the 200 Individual Medley. She’ll be going to States in both individual events and the relay.
Lara Geelen, Lente’s older sister, swam four races at Sectionals. She led off the 200 and 400- Free Relays, swam the butterfly on the medley relay, and finished seventh in the 100-Free. She’ll join her sister on the trip to the State meet.
Garnet junior Ellie Mackle racked up 13 points by coming in sixth in the 100 Breaststroke. Rye senior Ella Brady and junior Julie Tiedemann both earned State berths in the relays. And Blind Brook junior Caitlin Bedell joined Lara, Grace, and Julie in earning points in the final event of the day, the 400 Yard Free Relay. They brought their prelim time down almost eight seconds when they touched the wall in 3:48.
Clearly, the points earned by swimmers from all three schools were crucial in the Rye/Rye Neck/Blind Brook team finishing as high as they did.