By BRIAN JENNINGS
On Friday, Jan. 13, the Blue Knight swimming and diving team scored their second win of the season with a 91-70 victory over East Catholic at the Southington YMCA. The Knights went to exhibition races mid-way through the second relay.
Even though it’s only the second meet of the long, arduous regular season, Southington coach Evan Tuttle said that he is very impressed with what he has seen thus far.
“Even though it’s early, we’ve already proven a lot,” the coach said. “It’s not just what we’re capable of doing in the pool with a diverse range of ability. Many of the athletes are thrown in any event and excel. But more so than that, their energy, character, and integrity are above and beyond as well. The sportsmanship is key in my opinion.”
You can go through the season and run the table, winning every single meet. But if you didn’t do it in the right way, you didn’t win a thing, according to Tuttle.
“We’ve got two goals: to get those wins on paper, but also to get those internal wins as well,” said Tuttle. “You have to do it in the right way, and we’re two for two in that category in my opinion so far this season.”
Southington clinched the meet with more than three events remaining and came away with first-place finishes in all 11 events.
Evan Bender, Brendon Egan, PJ Ramsey, and Derek Melanson set the pace with a victory in the 200 medley relay (1:51.63). Blake, Melanson, Ramsey, and Ben Wakefield clinched the win with a victory in the 200 freestyle relay (1:40). Heidgerd, Melanson, Wakefield, and Bender capped the contest with a win in the 400 freestyle relay (3:45.89).
Tyler Heidgerd was a double-winner in the 200 freestyle (1:57.12) and 100 freestyle (52.88). Brendon Egan captured the 200 individual medley (2:09.64) and the 100 backstroke (58.78). Zack Blake was a double-winner in the 50 freestyle (23.78) and the 100 breaststroke (1:09.16).
Derek Melanson won the title in the 100 fly (59.18), and Brian Egan scored a win in the 500 freestyle.
“The expectations are high,” said Tuttle. “What’s more is that I think the kids are ready to rise to those expectations. They want to be the team to beat, and they’ve embraced that role. When we get into the heart of our schedule and conference, being strong mentally is going to be vital to winning those meets that are going to come down to the wire.”
Brendon Egan qualified for the Class LL meet in the 200 individual medley.
“He really made it look effortless in that IM,” the coach said. “He went out nice and long and controlled his pace. He can drop the floor on that one a little more.”
Egan qualified for the state meet in the 100 backstroke as well.
“The pacing was a little off in the backstroke,” said Tuttle. “We have to get him to lengthen out the first 50 a little more and give himself a little more gas at the end. It’s room for improvement, but he’s in at an auto-cut and is good to go.”
The Knights will be back in the pool next week when they swim against Avon at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain on Wednesday, Jan. 18 and remain out on the road at East Hartford on Friday, Jan. 20.