Looking back at the most memorable local boys swimmers, divers of all time

Published on Friday, 22 May 2020 12:34
Written by Ryan Chichester

@ryanchichester1

The boys swimming scene in the local area has been loaded with All-State talent over the years, and much of it has been widespread.

Berlin has had the most success in terms of statewide recognition and success, but on this list of the most memorable boys swimmers and divers of all time, we have four different teams represented.

So in continuing with our long-running series, here are the top boys swimmers and divers the local area has produced:

WILLIAM BANULSKI, BRISTOL, 2005

Banulski was one of the best in the state during his time, earning All-State honors as a senior after finishing third overall in the 50 freestyle of the Class LL state championships with a time of 21.94. That finish came after he came in second overall in the event as a junior, posting a time of 22.25 in the finals.

AARON ROCHELEAU, NEWINGTON, 2007

Rocheleau comes from a family that dominates in the pool, and he was no different during his tenure with the Indians, earning All-State all four years of his high school career, including securing a state championship in the 100 backstroke. He was also All-State in the 200 individual medley. Rocheleau helped guide Newington to two conference championships, including in his senior season before he went on to swim at Southern Connecticut State University, where he was an All-American and the Northeast-10 Conference Freshman of the Year.

AUSTIN MIZZELL, BRISTOL, 2008

Mizzell, from Bristol Eastern, was dominant for the Bristol Co-op team, and still holds the program record in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:51.1. He was an All-American in the 100 breaststroke, was All-State as a junior, and helped Bristol win a conference title during his tenure. A two-year captain, Mizzell joined Rocheleau at SCSU after graduating from Eastern, and began his collegiate career with a bang by becoming a conference champion in the 100 and 200 breastsroke, as well as the 200 and 400 medley relay. He was a conference champ in all four events again as a junior after being named All-American, putting together an incredibly impressive college resume.

ANDREW THURSTON, BERLIN

Thurston wasted no time making his presence known with the Redcoats, earning All-State honors as a freshman in the 500 freestyle. It was the first of four All-State nods in the event, as he became the first Redcoats swimmer to be named All-State in consecutive years, per the Berlin Athletics Archive. Thurston went on to swim at UMass after setting program records at Berlin in the 200 individual medley, 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay.

PETER DALENA, PLAINVILLE, 2012

Dalena, one of the top divers the area has ever seen, was All-State and all-conference in 2011, during a year in which he won the CCC South conference championship with a total score of 219.60 points. Dalena would go on to return to Plainville and serve as an assistant coach for the Blue Devils.

ANDREW LEE, PLAINVILLE

Lee was also All-State for the Blue Devils during his tenure, and went on to compete at Middlebury College in freestyle and breaststroke events. Lee and Dalena paired up to be two of the best athletes the school’s swim team has ever produced.

KEVIN KLOTZ, BERLIN, 2017

Klotz remains one of the most accomplished swimmers in Redcoats history thanks to sole possession of multiple program records. The All-State selection holds the 200 individual medley record with a time of 2:01.06, the 100 backstroke record with a time of 56.43, which he set as an underclassman, and was also part of the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams that also boast school records. Klotz went on to compete at Trinity College after his decorated high school career.

DAN KLOTZ, BERLIN, 2013

Before his brother Kevin was making waves for the Redcoats, Dan was setting the tone for dominance by grabbing All-State honors in 2011, while setting multiple school records like his brother would years later. Dan holds the top program marks in the 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle and the 200 freestyle, and went on to compete at Brown University, where he was part of the 400 medley relay team that set a program record at the Ivy League Championships.

Klotz’s most memorable moment of his Berlin swimming career may have been his junior year when he won two events at the Class M championships, becoming the first Redcoats swimmer to ever accomplish that feat.

KIERNAN JENNINGS, BERLIN, 2020

It was a career that went unfinished, but still one that deserves recognition on this exclusive list. Jennings came in third place at the Class M state championships as a junior, and was poised to improve upon that All-State campaign before the winter state championships were canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Still, Jennings is the first swimmer in Berlin history to qualify for states in each event he participated in, and was a three-time all-conference selection.

CONNOR RECCK, BERLIN, 2019

Jennings’ teammate Recck helped Berlin post a very strong season in 2019, with Recck securing All-State recognition thanks to a third-place finish in the 100 breaststroke at the Class M state championships. Recck didn’t lose a race during his junior season, helping him earn one of his four all-conference selections during his time with the Redcoats. He finished his Berlin career with the program record in the 100 breaststroke, 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay. He went on to commit to Trinity College, where he currently attends.

ANDREW ROBERTI, BERLIN, 2020

Recck and Jennings were two of three Berlin swimmers to earn All-State honors in 2019, and the third was Roberti, who was also named all-conference for the second straight season during that junior campaign. Like Recck, his high school career was cut short, but Roberti still belongs in the conversation as one of the top swimmers the area has ever seen.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin, Newington, Plainville, Southington on Friday, 22 May 2020 12:34. Updated: Friday, 22 May 2020 12:37.