By BRIAN JENNINGS
Home sweet home. It took six meets, but on Friday, Feb. 9 the Blue Knight swim team finally held their home opener at the Southington YMCA.
In a meet where they never trailed, finishing with seven first-place performances, the Knights clinched the win by the 400 freestyle relay.
“It was nice to finally be home in front of a packed house with the second deck filled,” said Southington coach Evan Tuttle. “It’s a unique experience swimming here at the YMCA. It’s nice to get that home-field advantage and perform for the home crowd.”
Although it felt good to be back home swimming in front of friends and family, Tuttle said that it was also an exhausting homecoming. With nearly half of the team fatigued by illness, the Knights gutted it out to earn their second-straight win with an 87-81 victory over Middletown at home in their lone meet of the week.
It’s flu season, it’s plaguing everyone, but at the same time, it is what it is. Tuttle said that getting sick is something outside of the team’s control, and he tells his Knights all the time that you can’t sweat what’s outside of your control.
“There were a lot of them not feeling 100 percent today, but they’re not going to make excuses,” said Tuttle. “They’re going to get on the block, put in their best performance, grit it out, and come away with the win, which is exactly what they did today.”
The meeting between both teams was the first time Southington had swam against Middletown in years. According to Tuttle, it’s been many years, and he is hoping that they can line up a few more meets in the future to get a little tradition going of swimming against each other.
“They’re a great program,” said Tuttle. “Trevor (Charles), their coach, has done an incredible job with that team over there. He and I got into coaching right around the same time, so it’s nice to see him building that program and getting it to the position it’s in now.”
The following finished first in the meet: Derek Melanson, Brendon Egan, Evan Bender, and Alex Kuhr in the 200 medley relay (1:48.76); Tyler Heidgerd, Brian Egan, Bender, and Brendon Egan in the 400 freestyle relay (3:39.15); Heidgerd in the 200 freestyle (1:55.05) and 100 freestyle (52.78); Melanson in the 500 freestyle (5:13.06) and 100 backstroke (59.41); and Brendon Egan in the 200 individual medley (2:10.37).
Heidgerd qualified for the state meet in the 200 freestyle.
The Knights (5-2) will be back in the pool this week when they travel to the Cornerstone Aquatics Center in West Hartford on Tuesday, Feb. 13 to take on divisional Conard and then head to the Cheshire Community Pool on Saturday, Feb. 17 to face the Rams in Southington’s only nonconference meet of the regular season.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2018/02/13/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-feb-16-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.