By BRIAN JENNINGS
On Friday, Jan. 22, Southington (3-2) bounced back from two straight defeats with a 90-61 win over East Catholic at the Southington YMCA. Blue Knight swimmers posted 20 best times for the second meet in a row during the victory.
“They were a competitive team, despite being small,” said Southington coach Evan Tuttle. “They have a core group of pretty talented kids on that team, but our depth was able to really display itself in today’s meet against a smaller program.”
The team of Zack Blake, John Stevens, PJ Ramsey, and Anthony Sagnella took first in the 200 medley relay (1:54.09). Ramsey, Stevens, and Sagnella partnered with Ben Wakefield for first place in the 200 freestyle relay (1:43.12). Wakefield and Blake teamed with Brendon Egan and Evan Bender to win the 400 freestyle relay (3:44.44) even though the meet had already turned to exhibition races.
Egan was a double winner in the 200 freestyle (1:58.43) and 500 freestyle (5:30.88). Bender (2:17.78) finished first in the 200 individual medley, and Ramsey (53.5) finished first in the 100 freestyle. Blake (1:00.53) won the 100 backstroke, while Austin Bull (1:09.97) captured the 100 breaststroke.
Blake missed qualifying in the 100 backstroke by 0.48 seconds.
“We’re obviously trending in the right direction,” said Tuttle. “I think the biggest indicator of that is the repeat of 20 best times. That is the biggest indicator of the progress that the team is making, and if we can keep that a trend throughout the rest of the season, then I think we will find ourselves a tremendous amount of success.”
Tuttle pointed to Quintin Kimmel’s (5:59.83) second place finish behind Egan in the 500 freestyle as an example of Southington’s improvement.
“His goal since the beginning of the season has been to break 6:00 in the 500,” the coach said. “He would start at 6:11, come down to 6:09, and 6:06. But today he went 5:59 and broke his 6-minute mark, which was a tremendous accomplishment. The kid’s working hard, and I wanted to recognize him for that time to team because they know he’s working hard.”
As far as illness is concerned, Tuttle said that he thinks the bug has cleared the team, but he is still keeping his fingers crossed.
“You never know in the winter months what might happen, but we know to do our job in staying healthy and making the right choices in eating right and hydrating,” said Tuttle. “Hopefully, we can stay at 100 percent for the remainder of the season.”
The Knights will look to improve times again when they visit Conard at the Cornerstone Aquatic Center in West Hartford on Tuesday, Jan. 26 and East Hartford on Friday, Jan. 29.
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