Darien swimmers place fifth in State Open
NEW HAVEN -- Sparked by several top-10 finishes, Darien High School's boys swimming and diving team made a splash at Saturday's season-ending State Open. The Blue Wave, with 269 points, took home fifth place among 54 teams. Fairfield Prep, with 412, earned the top spot.
The Blue Wave had seven swimmers and a pair of divers representing the team, and qualifying is quite an honor, as Darien coach Jason Cochran points out.
"This is the top meet. It was a very fast year again, as always," Cochran said.
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In the 200 freestyle, Baker came in 11th in a time of 1:45.41 for 16 points. Chris Janson was 15th in the 200 individual medley in a time of 1:58.24 for 10 points.
In the 50 yard freestyle, Gould came in 12th in 22.16 for 15 points. Gould was seventh in the 100 free, making his final touch in 47.49 for 20 points.
In the 500 free, Darien's Jack Bair cracked the top five with a fourth-place finish. He completed the event in a time of 4:42.76 for 23 points. Baker was 10th in the 500 in 4:44.78, good for 17 more points.
Janson finished the 100 backstroke in 24th place, completing the race in 56.46 for one point.
Janson, a senior, enjoyed his experience at the big race for a couple of reasons.
"This is my last, and it's my first," he said. "It's really cool. Everybody here is incredibly fast. It's an honor to be here."
Janson, who hadn't finished the 200 individual medley race in under two minutes, did so with his best time (1:56.10) in the Class L state meet for a second place finish the week before the Open.
The 400 free relay team of Bair, Janson, Baker and Gould was runner up to Greenwich's relay squad at the Open. The Wave group finished in 3:11.11 for 50 points.
In the diving competition, which took place in Hamden two days earlier, Darien had a pair of top-10 results. Robert Christensen placed sixth with a score of 434.75 for 21 points, and Jackson McGoldrick was eighth with a score of 390.05 for 19 points.
"This has been an amazing season. We've worked really hard as a team. We've really come together," Janson said.
The Open is always an exciting event with so many top level swimmers competing at the Yale pool which was built back in 1932.
"It's great. The guys obviously have tremendous respect for the history of the Open," Cochran said.
Cochran was pleased with the season as a whole. Among Cochran's biggest surprises was Owen Brannigan, who was a diver last year but switched over to swimming the 200 this campaign and had some success, including participating in the postseason, which included Darien's second-place finish at the Class L state meet.
"It just goes to show if you make the commitment, good things can happen," Cochran said.
Cochran noted that many of his State Open qualifiers are underclassmen, so the coach expects his team to continue to be a factor in the postseason for years to come.
"We're going to hang around," he said.