By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Blue Devils’ boys swimming team remained undefeated at the Southington Community YMCA on Friday, Jan. 16 after they swam past the Berlin Redcoats, 90-75.
PJ Ramsey dominated the pool and was a two-time winner of the day in the 50 freestyle (24.26) and set a state-qualifying time in the 100 butterfly (24.26). Nick Brazil followed up with a first-place finish as well in the 100 breaststroke with a state-qualifying time of 1:06.18. And Zack Blake also qualified for states in the 100 backstroke with a second-place time of 1:01.43.
Southington head coach Evan Tuttle said he though that his team had a good meet. “Aside from getting the win, it was a dominant performance as well, carrying a lot of first places, sometimes first and second,” he said. “More importantly than that, we had a lot of kids keeping best times and specifically had three state qualifiers as well.”
The event that stood out the most to Tuttle was actually a race that the Blue Knights didn’t win.
“It was the very last race, the 400 freestyle. It was a race where we were behind probably three lengths of it. Our last guy got in the water, PJ Ramsey, and battled and turned in another best time, but it was at the end of an exhausting meet. The kids continued to battle even though they were behind for almost the entire race. They were eventually out-touched by a couple tenths of a second, but to even battle in that aspect of the meet at the very end there, and the kids knew that we had already secured the win, they still were fighting until the very end.”
Evan Bender, Matt Duszak, Ramsey and Nick Brazil took first place in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:51.19. First place in the 200 freestyle relay went to the team of Brazil, John Stevens, Ben Wakefield and Mack Golos with a time of 1:43.56.
But Golos wasn’t done. Golos also took first place in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:00.87. Kevin Corcoran finished with a first-place time of 5:28.44 in the 500 freestyle.
Tuttle said that he was very pleased with Katie Bauer’s return to competition.
“She had been recovering from an injury for the first part of the season,” he said. “We got her in for a couple of relays and exhibition heats. It was good to see her back in the pool even though she had been recovering from an injury. She was at every practice helping the team, supporting the team.”
Friday’s meet marked a year since the Blue Devils had swum against the Redcoats. “Their coach, Dan Thurston, has done a great job over a couple years at the helm there,” said Tuttle. “He’s got some talented kids. We’ve been able to build up a pretty good base in our program and we’ve got a lot of kids competing at quite a high level. We’ve got some decent depth on our team that’s been able to prove victorious in the past couple meets and Berlin was another example of that.”
At Rocky Hill High School on Tuesday, the Blue Knights defeated the Terriers, 97-81. The medley relay team of Blake, Duszak, Ramsey and Brazil took first place with a time of 1:53.89. The 200 freestyle relay team of Brazil, Stevens, Wakefield and Ramsey took first place with a time of 1:45.44.The 400 free relay team of Corcoran, Bender, Blake and Golos took first with a time of 3:53.76.
Corcoran was a double-winner in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle with times of 2:00.28 and 5:25.51. Ramsey was also a double winner in the 50 freestyle (24.56) and 100 butterfly stroke (1:00.44). Blake finished with a first-place time of 1:02.43 in the 100 backstroke. Brazil also finished with a first-place time of 1:08.68 in the 100 breaststroke.
Tuttle said that he is happy with where the team currently stands and where they need to be, and are on course for another very successful year. But, there is always room for improvement and said that he always tells his kids, work is never done. “As soon as you’re satisfied, you tend to get complacent and stop reaching for your goals,” said Tuttle. “Whenever you achieve one, you set another and set the bar a little higher. At the end of each meet, I ask each kid to recognize something that they could’ve done better, something they could improve on, whether it be a start, a turn, technique, whatever. Every single athlete has some room to improve.
The Blue Knights will be swimming at East Hartford High School next on Tuesday, Jan. 20.