By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington’s Chase Galayda and E.J. Suski completed their final dives of 2019 during state open diving on March 12 at Bulkeley High School in Hartford.
For Suski, it was the end of his junior season. For the senior Galayda, it was the conclusion to a storied career. Galayda finished 18th overall out of 24 competitors with a total score of 383.65. Suski was 21st with a total score of 363.60. Norwalk-McMahon’s Kevin Bradley followed up his Class LL title with a championship at the state open (512.95).
Southington coach Evan Tuttle had nothing but praise for his diving duo. In the case of Galayda, it all began with a conversation during Tuttle’s freshman civics class. Tuttle noticed that Galayda was wearing a gymnastics hoodie and asked him if he had ever considered diving.
“I convinced him to come out for the team, and the rest is history,” Tuttle said after the Class LL state meet on March 7 in Middletown. “Four years later, multiple school records broken, a medal finish in his senior year. It’s a very important question that I asked four years ago, and I’m glad I did.”
Galayda is the school record holder for both six dives and 11 dives, but it goes beyond his performance on the board for Tuttle.
“He has stood as an exemplary role model for his teammates and has shown them what it takes to excel,” Tuttle said. “It is hard to believe that his four years with our program has already come to a close, but it has been both memorable and successful. Both [diving coach Jan Zagorski] and I are grateful for having had the opportunity to coach this young man.”
Suski quickly established himself as the team’s No. 2 diver and had a strong junior season. Nothing was better than the second place effort he had at the CCC West Division meet on Feb. 26 at Simsbury’s Westminster School. He finished seventh at the Class LL meet and just missed medaling.
“E.J. had a tremendous junior year. The gains he has made over the past year are remarkable,” Tuttle said. “Finishing top 10 at Class LL and competing at opens is no easy task. After his junior campaign, he is even more motivated to work this offseason to ensure he sets the bar even higher for senior year.”
Tuttle and Zagorski will be looking to Suski to help lead the diving corps next season.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com