Boys swimming finishes 3rd at states; 16th at Open
Published 1:01 am, Thursday, March 25, 2010
NEW HAVEN -- Darien High School's swimmers and divers competed in the State Open at Yale University's Kiphuth Memorial Exhibition Pool on last weekend, and in doing so the Blue Wave went up against the best of the state's high school swimmers from all four divisions.
As has been the case all season, Darien didn't look to measure itself against other squads, but rather how it stacked up against its own personal times and records. The Blue Wave came out with a 16th-place finish among 55 teams that scored points. The Wave scored 116.5 points, while Pomperaug (489) won the meet.
Not only did the Open feature the top swimmers from around the state, but it also showcased them in a unique facility. The Yale pool complex, built back in 1932, features steep stands that tower over the water and make for a loud, exciting place to compete. The atmosphere certainly didn't go unnoticed by the Wave swimmers.
"This place is always crazy," sophomore Tyler Gould, who was 21st in the 50-yard freestyle race (22.54), said. "It's definitely enough to pump you up to do your best today."
Swimmers and fans representing each school sat in the stands cheering with each race during the approximately three hour-long meet.
"The atmosphere here is very electric. It's a lot of fun," said Darien junior Chris Weihs. "I think what's unique about it is you get the competition you don't see during the season."
Weihs placed 12th in the 200 free relay race in a time of 1:45.70 and was 15th in the 100 free (48.78).
Darien's swimmers saw familiar foes from the FCIAC, their rivals from the Class M state championships in addition to those non-conference teams who compete in Class LL, L and S. Junior Jake Greene placed 17th in the 500 free in a time of 4:50.15. Greene said the atmosphere at the pool and pressure of the top swimmers all striving to get their best times in their final races of the year, can get to the swimmers but that it can be beneficial as well.
"I was a little nervous. Once I hit the water I felt pretty good," Greene said "It's really exciting. There's just a lot of noise and it gets you pumped up."
Freshman James Baker was eighth in the 500 free (4:45.20). Baker compared the Open to other meets by saying "more teams, more cheering. When you get up on the block your heart beats so much. It really pushes you to go faster."
The 200 free relay team, comprised of Sam Jackson, Ricky Terhune, Weihs and Gould, placed 15th in 1:30.52. The 400 free relay team of Baker, Terhune, Gould and Weihs was 11th ( 3:17.85). Jake Bowtell was 16th in the 1 meter diving competition with 348.05 points.
As for the Class M championships two days prior, on Thursday, which were pushed back due to last week's heavy rain, Brookfield took home first place, while New Canaan, which had been a dominant force at the Class M state championships in recent years, finished second. Darien took third
Brookfield captured its first state title since winning the Class S crown in 2004, and in the process pushed aside New Canaan, which had won five of the last six Class M titles.
As the meet went on, the three teams emerged from the pack, and it was all a matter of which team finished the strongest.
Brookfield took the lead for good by placing three swimmers -- Jeff Magin, Conor Collins and Jordan Grossman -- in the top nine in the backstroke. The Bobcats further solidified their lead when Janco Cornelius placed sixth in the breaststroke, the second-to-last event, and they put the finishing touches on the state title by winning the final event of the day, the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Brookfield finished with 464.5 points, followed by New Canaan in second with 429.5 and Darien just behind with 428.
Weihs won the 200 freestyle in 1:45.65, barely edging Brookfield's Collins by just a fraction of a second. New Canaan's Austin Wolff placed fourth (1:47.19) and Karl Reinhardt placed eighth (1:50.06).
Brookfield needed to squeeze points out of every event possible in order to win. The Bobcats only had one first-place finish in the whole meet -- the 400 freestyle relay team of Jack Dunn, Kyle Matson, Michael Becker and Conor Collins won with a time of 3:15.38 -- but it was enough to hold off New Canaan and Darien.
"Brookfield's team works hard, their coach is a great guy and puts a lot of effort into it, so to lose to a team like that takes a little of the sting out of it," New Canaan coach Jason Paige said.
Brookfield's 200 medley relay team of Magin, Cornelius, Grossman and Matson placed second -- by a hundredth of a second -- in the first event of the day. New Canaan's team of Ian Roberts, Gabe Lane, Patrick Sweeney and Jason Potter came in fourth.
New Canaan took two of the top eight places in both the individual medley and the 50 freestyle to take a bit of a lead.
The Rams' John Santoro finished second in the IM (1:57.24) and Lane finished sixth (2:01.84), while Brookfield's Matthew Moen placed fifth (2:01.28). New Canaan's Sweeney placed fifth in the 50 freestyle (22.16) and Potter took seventh (22.49), while Darien's Tyler Gould placed sixth (22.43).
New Canaan appeared to be in fairly good shape by taking two of the top three spots in the butterfly. Wolff won in 51.86 and Sweeney took third in 53.00.
That gave the Rams the lead at the halfway point of the meet with 248.5 points. Darien, which placed two divers in the top six -- Jake Bowtell in fifth and Timothy Murphy in sixth -- sat in second place with 225 points. Brookfield was in third at that point with 204 1/2 points.
Darien took the lead briefly when it placed two swimmers in the top eight in the 500 freestyle. James Baker took fourth in 4:48.70 and Jonathan Green finished fifth in 4:49.74, while New Canaan's Santoro placed sixth (4:52.77) and Brookfield's Moen finished eighth (4:57.32).
Heading into the backstroke, the 10th of 12 events, Brookfield and New Canaan were tied for second, 21.5 points behind Darien.
Brookfield pulled ahead in the backstroke as Magin took fourth (54.01), Collins placed eighth (56.47) and Grossman finished ninth (55.22). Cornelius' sixth-place finish in the breaststroke (1:01.29) gave the Bobcats a bit of breathing room, and the 400 freestyle relay team capped the day with a victory -- by just a fraction of a second.
-- Richard Gregory contributed to this article.