By BRIAN JENNINGS
After finishing the regular season undefeated, the Blue Knight swimming and diving team proved that they were simply the best yet again. A season high of best marks earned the Knights their first conference title since 2005 when they entered the postseason this past week.
Southington posted a team score of 287, outscoring their nearest competitor by more than 80 points. Conard (205) finished as runner-up, followed by Farmington (195), Hall (177), Simsbury (171), and NW Catholic (86).
Going into the meet, Southington coach Evan Tuttle said that the team had two very simple goals. One of those goals was to enjoy the meet.
“I told them to take time at any point in the meet and really just absorb what was going on in our last full-team event,” said Tuttle. “I wanted them to enjoy what we’ve been able to accomplish with this team in the historic season that we’ve had.”
FEB. 28—The Knights entered their first postseason meet of the season when they competed at the CCC South White diving championship at Westminster School in Simsbury on Tuesday. Tuttle brought with him the most divers he’s ever had at the conference meet in his tenure with the boys swimming and diving program.
Chase Galayda finished as runner-up out of 21 divers with a score of 206.75 to Malaki Tatum (218.95) of Simsbury.
Emerson Suski (7th, 163.5), Victoria Duszak (9th, 142), Kian Siadat (16th), and Benjamin Ragozzine (17th) competed at the meet as well.
MAR. 1—The Knights capped the conference championships with a dominant swimming performance the following day at the Cornerstone Aquatics Center in West Hartford. The Knights finished the meet with a season high of about 40 best times, exceeding their mark of 29 best times that they set earlier in the season against Avon.
With one conference champion, a winning relay, and four runners-up, Southington ran away with the CCC South White title.
Brendon Egan contributed to that cause by becoming conference champion in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:54.98, finishing fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.84).
Other top individual performances included the following: Derek Melanson in the 500 freestyle (2nd, 5:10.99) and 200 individual medley (3rd, 2:10.98); Tyler Heidgerd in the 100 backstroke (2nd, 57.70) and 500 freestyle (3rd, 5:16.38); PJ Ramsey in the 100 fly (2nd, 55.24) and 50 freestyle (4th, 23.43); Zack Blake in the 100 freestyle (2nd, 51.52) and 50 freestyle (5th, 23.44); Quintin Kimmel in the 200 freestyle (3rd, 1:58.38) and 500 freestyle (4th, 5:27.89); Evan Bender in the 200 individual medley (4th, 2:11.58) and 100 backstroke (5th, 59.74); Brian Egan in the 200 individual medley (6th, 2:17.98) and 100 freestyle (6th, 53.90); Ben Wakefield in the 100 freestyle (7th, 54.46) and 200 individual medley (12th, 2:22.18); Joe Savarese in the 100 breaststroke (6th, 1:08.44); Sarah Meade in the 100 backstroke (9th, 1:02.63); Nick Kelley in the 50 freestyle (10th, 24.54); and Julie Duszak in the 100 breaststroke (11th, 1:12.01).
Melanson (500 freestyle) and Ramsey (100 fly, 50 freestyle) qualified for the Class LL meet. Heidgerd (100 backstroke), Blake (50 freestyle), and Bender (100 backstroke) improved their state marks.
In the team events, Blake, Brendon Egan, Kelley, and Ramsey were the conference champions in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:35.55. Blake, Brian Egan, Heidgerd, and Brendon Egan took second in the 400 freestyle relay (3:31.54), and Heidgerd, Savarese, Ramsey, and Kelley took third in the 200 medley relay (1:47.7).
Next up for the Knights is the Class LL championship. Trials and finals for diving will be held at Hamden High School on Thursday, Mar. 9 at 5:30 p.m. Trials for swimming will be held at East Hartford High School on Saturday, Mar. 11 at 3:30 p.m. Finals for swimming will be held at Wesleyan University in Middletown on Tuesday, Mar. 14 at 6 p.m.
The following are currently qualified for the state meet: Brendon Egan (200 individual medley, 2:09.64), Blake (50 freestyle, 23.44), Ramsey (50 freestyle, 23.43/100 fly, 55.24), Suski (diving, 207.95), Siadat (diving, 161.1), Galayda (diving, 226.95), Melanson (500 freestyle, 5:10.99/100 backstroke, 59.85), Heidgerd, (100 backstroke, 57.70), Brendon Egan (100 backstroke, 58.78), and Bender (100 backstroke, 59.74).
Legs of relays are still in the process of being determined for the state meet.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (http://southingtonobserver.com/2017/03/07/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-march-10-edition/). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.