Swimmers battle Hall, beat Plainville

Derek Melenson competes in the 100 butterfly during a victory over Plainville last Friday. (Photo by John Goralski)

By KEVIN ROBERTS

STAFF WRITER

Southington boys swimming and diving came up short during an 88-80 home loss to Hall on Jan. 23 at the Southington YMCA. The Blue Knights went back to work in practice, and they responded with a 91-87 road victory over Plainville on Jan. 25 that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score made it seem.

Southington improved to 2-2 in dual meets, but more importantly it showed what it can do when things are clicking. The Knights put in some hard work at practice on Jan. 24 to get back on track.

“We started practice, we did a few sprints to get the heart rate up so we can get that working, but then the remainder of the practice was devoted to what it was that they and I saw that needed improvements in their strokes,” coach Evan Tuttle said. “We split up into starts, split up into turns, split up into some lanes for some stroke technique, and we just hammered it home yesterday, working on those little things.”

The work in the pool helped, but don’t forget to add in the hard work of the divers to the equation against Plainville. Southington doesn’t have a diving board at the Southington YMCA, but Plainville does at Plainville High School. The Knights took the top three spots and earned 13 team points in diving against the Blue Devils.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have a very deep and talented diving crew. Already we have four divers that have qualified for states,” Tuttle said. “They’re putting up marks that we hope will not only get them to Class LL finals, but maybe push them over into opens.”

Tuttle said the credit 100 percent belongs to diving coach Jan Zagorski, who works with the divers six days per week at Plainville. She’s also Plainville’s diving coach, and she’s the mother of Blue Devil coach Chris Zagorski.

“She is and has been and will continue to be, in my humble opinion, one of the better diving coaches in the state,” Tuttle said.

Southington turned in over 20 best marks in terms of time on swims and points on diving against Plainville. Here’s more about what happened in each of last week’s meets.

Little things matter

JAN. 23—The Knights put in a good effort against the Warriors, but some technique issues helped turn what could have been a win into a close loss. Southington was also missing double digits in points from diving, but that’s not where Tuttle’s focus was following the Hall meet. He instructed his swimmers to find one thing that needed to be improved upon and bring that one thing with them to practice.

Tyler Heidgerd finished first in the 200 freestyle (1:53.02) and 100 backstroke (57:39) while Derek Melanson was first in the 500 freestyle (5:18.69). Hall was ahead 88-68 and went exhibition in the 400 freestyle relay.

Big improvement in win

JAN. 25—All the hard work the Knights put in during practice the day before showed up in the win over the Blue Devils.

“Not only was it a win, but it was done with their best effort and their best times,” Tuttle said.

Southington came out firing with a win in the 200 medley relay (1:49.79) behind the team of Melanson, Jackson Malsheske, Landon Colby and Brian Egan. Heidgerd was a double winner individually, claiming first in the 200 free (1:52.57) and 100 free (50.37). E.J. Suski won diving with a score of 244.55 as the Knights went 1-2-3. Ben Ragozzine (185.00) and Kian Sadat (169.45) were second and third. Malsheske earned a first place finish in the 500 free (5:23.12). The Southington 200 free relay of Jonathan Cocchiola, Colby, William Schroeder and Heidgerd also finished first (1:40.60). The Knights won eight of the first nine events and led 91-49 before going exhibition in the 100 back, 100 breaststroke and 400 free relay. Tuttle said the Plainville meet is a good one for Southington.

“We know our kids are going to have to perform well in order to get the win, and an added bonus is this is home court for our divers,” Tuttle said.

Up next: The Knights were scheduled to host Simsbury on Wednesday. Southington competes against Berlin on Friday at 3:45 p.m. at Maloney High School in Meriden. The Redcoats don’t have a pool at Berlin High School.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com

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