HARTFORD - Three local teams, Berlin, Plainville and Bristol, competed in the CCC South Blue championships on Saturday at Bulkeley High School. Each team had different levels of success but all three came away feeling good about where they are entering the state meets.
Berlin was the team that had the best finish as it finished second overall out of six teams. The Redcoats came in only behind Middletown, but that was the expected outcome in head coach Dan Thurston’s mind.
“We finished in second during the season in dual meets so it is no surprise that we finished in second today,” Thurston said. “I thought we had an outside chance at getting first, but Middletown is a good team so we aren’t disappointed with the outcome.”
Connor Recck was among the winners for Berlin and he was a standout. The sophomore took first place in both the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke. Tommy Wejda was the other individual winner for the Redcoats, capturing the top spot in the 50 freestyle. Berlin’s 200 freestyle relay team of Quin Burns, Joey Leary, Steven Miano and Andrew Leary also took first place in a close finish over Middletown’s foursome.
Redcoat senior Kevin Klotz was another of the team’s swimmers to have a strong day. He took second in two separate events. He finished right behind teammate Recck in the 200 IM and less than two seconds behind Middletown’s Jacob Forrester in the 100 backstroke.
Overall, Thurston was extremely pleased with how the day went for his team overall.
“Today went great,” Thurston said. “We had three relays that earned all-conference and finished in better times than we expected. We have a lot of swimmers that are ahead of where they were last year. We have, I think, five individuals that are all-conference, so it was a lot of fun and I thought our guys swam phenomenally.”
The second best finish for the local teams was Bristol as it just got edged out by Platt/Maloney for third place.
“I think today went really well for us overall even though we missed out getting in the top half by two points,” head coach Nick Daddabbo said. “I want to say we had close to 90 or 92 percent best times so it was a really good meet for us. A lot of good swims from our guys.”
The relays stood out for the co-op as the 200 medley team finished in fifth place and the 400 freestyle team, which consisted of Josh Mitchell, Keagan Mullan, Ben Stafford and Elijah Ortiz captured third place.
“Our relays are one of our big strengths,” Daddabbo said. “They raced really well today and did a good job of improving against some tough competition.”
Mitchell was also among the individuals to standout as he finished fourth in the 50 freestyle, while teammate Elijah Ortiz finished in the top five in two separate events as he came in fifth in the 200 IM and second in the 100 freestyle. Other top five finishers for Bristol were Keagan Mullan and Michael Bond as each came away fifth in the 50 free and 500 free respectively.
“Today was kind of nerve-wracking at first because this is my first high school CCC’s,” said freshman Stafford, who was part of both relay teams that finished in the top five. “I was just trying to focus the whole meet to do my best and I think I did because I beat most of my times.”
Plainville came in right behind Bristol as it finished in fifth place. The Blue Devils started off the meet strong as the foursome of Taegan Brochu, Graham Eyres, Lorenzo Samperi and Kyle Sullivan took sixth in the 200 medley relay in the opening event.
That would be Plainville’s best finish team-wise or individually for the rest of the day though.
“I think today went well,” head coach Chris Zagorski said. “A good portion of our team hasn’t really been tapering for this meet, they have states coming up, so some of our times weren’t necessarily our best times. But considering the situation they were in I think they swam well. Some of our newer swimmers swam very well though so I was pleased with that.”
Samperi and Brochu did finish ninth and 10th in the 100 butterfly to earn nine points for the team in a notable outcome.
“It went pretty good for me today,” Samperi said. “It was a tough meet with a lot of good competitors but you know I just swam my best and took some time off so that’s all I can do. I did the best I could have done.”
Michael Woolfson can be reached at 860-801-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @Bigwoolf5