By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington boys swimming went into Monday afternoon’s Class LL state meet at Southern Connecticut State University with some specific goals.
“Get best times, finish top 10 as a team and advance to opens,” coach Evan Tuttle said. “We accomplished each of those.”
The Blue Knights qualified one individual and one relay for Thursday’s state open at Yale University’s Kiphuth Exhibition Pool. Junior Tyler Heidgerd was the No. 18 seed in the 100-yard freestyle. The Knight 400 freestyle relay of freshman Landon Colby, junior Brian Egan, junior Derek Melanson and Heidgerd was seeded 22nd.
Southington finished ninth as a team at Monday’s Class LL meet with 224 points. Glastonbury, which finished fourth with 487.5 points, was the only CCC team ahead of the Knights. Southington started out with 57 points on the board because of what happened during diving on March 7. The finishes of senior Chase Galayda (fourth), junior E.J. Suski (seventh), junior Ben Ragozzine (19th) and senior Kian Siadat (20th) helped the Knights get off to a good start.
“Every athlete in the water at finals contributed to securing our top 10 team finish,” Tuttle said. “Derek in the fly and back, Landon in the fly, and Jackson [Malsheske] in the 500. Most pivotally, was the work that our divers had already done at LL diving finals last Thursday.”
Heidgerd led the way with two top 10 finishes, one in the 200 freestyle and the other in the 100 freestyle. He swam the 200 freestyle in 1:47.30 and swam the 100 freestyle in 48.87 seconds.
“Tyler, who finished eighth in the 200 free and ninth in the 100 free, had a tremendous meet, leading off the 200 free relay and anchoring the 400 free relay,” Tuttle said.
The 400 freestyle relay was able to reach its time goal, as were the 200 medley (1:44.76) and 200 freestyle (1:33.17) relays.
“For the medley and 200 free relays it turned out to be just shy of enough as both were tenths of a second away from advancing,” Tuttle said.
The 200 medley relay of Melanson, Malsheske, Egan and junior Jon Cocchiola finished 11th while the 200 freestyle relay of Heidgerd, Cocchiola, Colby and Egan was also 11th. Melanson was 14th in the 100 backstroke (56.83) and 20th in the 100 butterfly (55.90); Malsheske was 20th in the 500 freestyle (5:07.53); and Colby was 23rd in the 100 butterfly (57.98).
“The Knights rose to expectations once again at Class LL finals,” Tuttle said.
Southington finished its season on Thursday at the state open meet at Yale.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com