Quality over Quantity



Tayla Appelbaum

On Friday, October 21st, 2022, the Harrison girls varsity swim team made history, acquiring two league titles within four years. Earning their last win of the season, Harrison’s 15 swimmers took down Yonkers, with a score of 58 to 36. In turn, this meant the Harrison team went undefeated, obtaining the best league record, and, therefore, winning the league 3 title.

The Harrison and Yonkers girls swim teams have been fighting head to head each year, eliciting intense competition. Heading into the meet undefeated, the Harrison girls knew they had to put their best foot forward to successfully tackle Yonkers. 

Halfway through the meet at the 200 yard individual medley, Harrison was down 12 to 14. Going into the next event, the 50 yard freestyle, Yonkers put their best foot forward, sending up their fastest swimmer, Gennarelli. Happy to gain points with second and third place, Harrison wasn’t phased by this. With swimmers Kelly Newman and Talya Appelbaum, the intense two laps began. Bursting off of the blocks, Talya Appelbaum took the lead against Gennarelli, holding the lead throughout the race. With a sectional qualifying time of 26.31, Appelbaum touched out Gennarelli who was only two tenths of a second behind, with a time of 26.58. Harrison and Yonkers are now tied in the meet. 

Varsity Girls Swimming

From the 50 onward, the Harrison girls acquired win after win in each event. In the 100 yard breaststroke, Sophomore Sophia Bondikov and Eighth grader Angelina Lingeza acquired first and second place, putting Harrison in a comfortable winning position going into the last event. Not only did Lingeza touch out Yonker’s DelCastillo by 3 tenths of a second, but she did so as a 12 year old, against a Sophomore. 


“It wasn’t my best swim but I was proud of myself because I knew I did it for the team. This meet was the final step to being league champions and I knew we could pull one last win” – Sophia Bondikov, Sophomore.


After their win against Yonkers, Harrison headed to divisional championships at 6 AM on Saturday, October 29th. Knowing they were league champions already, this meet didn’t hold much pressure for the girls: winning the entire meet was less than necessary. 

Yet, the Harrison girls won the entire championship meet. Outscoring the top teams  (Yonkers, Nyack, and Ardsley who all have at least 15 girls) the Harrison girls not only swept the league title with their undefeated season, but with a win over all teams combined. Walking away with two school records in the 200 freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay, a league title, and lots of serotonin, the girls were ecstatic. 

As the team headed out of the meet, one official said to the team, “Well, it really is quality over quantity”. 

The size of the team wasn’t what won the league championship and allowed the girls to move from league 4 in 2019 to league 2 in 2022. Their grit, drive, and close – knit bond gave this group the success they were hungry for. They didn’t simply train together, they grew a sisterhood. 

“Most of the other teams in our league looked at us at the beginning of the season as if we didn’t have enough depth to compete for a championship,” Coach Phil Dearstyne described. “But we don’t train like most teams: our practices and daily yardage are longer. All members compete in multiple events in the short duration of a meet, as opposed to larger teams who have plenty of rest and recovery. Those words, rest and recovery, do not cross our minds when we enter a competition. If you swim for us, you’ll do just that- swim. We rest when the meet concludes with another victory.”