MIDDLETOWN -- Redemption has been on Sean Burston's mind since he was edged for the FCIAC diving title toward the end of the competition two weeks ago.
The Westhill/Stamford junior got it in a big way Monday at Middletown High School.
Hitting his dives off the one-meter board with power and precision, Burston won the CIAC Class LL diving championship, and he did so in record-setting fashion.
Successful on all of his dives, Burston drew a score of 560.75, breaking the previous Class LL record of 520.10 set by Brian Mariano of Naugatuck in 2002.
"It feels great to win the title, this is one of the best meets I've ever had at any level," Burston said. "This is definitely my best high school meet."
Jake Bowtell of Fairfield Prep was the runner-up, earning a score of 510.00. Greenwich High's Andrew Bologna placed third (453.80), followed by Cardinals teammate Jeff Aselin (443.60). Samuel Hoyt of Glastonbury (417.75) and Spencer Bealieu from Xavier (365.30) rounded out the top six finishers.
Burston was in top form from the start, drawing scores of 8.5, 8, 7, 7.5 on his first dive -- a forward 1 ½ dive in the tuck position. His back dive from the pike position in round two got him two scores of 8, an 8.5 and a 9. His reverse dive from the pike position drew a pair of 8s and a 9.
The Westhill/Stamford star diver led after eight dives with a score of 370.85.
"I was hitting a lot of my dives tonight and really did well with my inward dives," said Burston who finished second in last year's LL finals. "It felt great when I looked up and saw the judges holding up scores of 9. It made my heart beat faster."
Burston drew scores of 8.5 across the board on one of his twisting dives in round 10 -- a dive that he didn't execute late during the FCIAC meet.
"Redemption has absolutely been on my mind," Burston said. "Especially with the twisters, which caused me problems last time."
Now Burston has his sights set on another title -- the State Open championship. The State Open diving meet is scheduled for Thursday.
"The past two weeks I've been working hard on the fundamentals and that's what I'm going to continue to do," Burston said. "I'm really looking forward to the Open."
Said Westhill/Stamford diving coach Jim Bowser: "I felt really good about Sean's ability to come back here today and win the title. Hopefully, this adds to his momentum going into the Open."
Bowtell of Fairfield Prep broke a school record with his score of 510.
"I actually set the previous record recently, getting a 493, so it feels great to break my own record," said Bowtell, a junior. "My 2 ½ pike and reverse twisters really worked for me today. It was also a great night for our team."
Bologna was consistent throughout en route to his eye-opening third-place finish.
"I'm really confident going into the Open after this meet," said Bologna, a sophomore. "Hopefully, I can build on the momentum I received today."
Aselin had two scores of 9 and an 8.5 with his reverse dive in the straight position in Round 7. Riccardo Marcangeli also had a strong meet for Greenwich, placing 12th with a score of 297.
"I could have done better with my 2 ½ today, but overall I feel good about how I did," Aselin said. "For us to get third and fourth feels good, because it's very important to our team."
Class LL Diving Championships
1. Sean Burston (Westhill/Stamford) 560.75; 2. Jake Bowtell (Fairfield Prep) 510; 3. Andrew Bologna (Greenwich) 453.80; 4. Jeff Aselin (Greenwich) 443.60); 5. Samuel Hoyt (Glastonbury) 417.75; 6. Spencer Bealieu (Xavier) 365.30; 7. Tanner Blank (Fairfield Prep) 347.35; 8. Robert McCory (Fairfield Prep) 342.80; 9. Sheldon Waters (East Hartford) 327.15; 10. Cameron Schoffstall (Simsbury) 317.30; 11. August Corell (Glastonbury) 307.20; 12. Riccardo Marcangeli (Greenwich) 297; 13. Declan Rowley (Fairfield Prep) 275.65; 14. Jeremy Cruz (Windham) 270.95; 15. Samantha Freitas (Newtown) 268.80; 16. Shariff Lewis (East Hartford) 252.10; 17. Katharine Amarell (Simsbury) 246.35; 18. Thomas Yokubinas (Avon) 230.20; 19. James Hunt (East Hartford) 212.15; 20. Zoe Mitchell (Windham) 200.95.