Suffield falls the the Wild Boars...
Going back almost forty years, Choate and Suffield have charted parallel course in swimming & diving. When Choate built their pool, for the 1979-80 season, experienced Connecticut high school and club coach Bob Burns was tapped for the Choate job, and he quickly established Choate as a premiere program in New England and beyond. This long run included eight runner up trophies for the boys' program and two championship titles for the Wild Boar girls' team. Last year was typical of the friendly rivalry between the two teams: Choate won both dual meets in extremely tight meets, while Suffield vaulted ahead of the Blue & Gold in the Division 1 N.E. Championships in the final events of the meet. Choate's head coach, Sara Massa, has kept Choate's program in the top tier of the D1 division.
This year, Suffield seeks to make up for large losses to graduation with heavy leaning on both veterans and newcomers to keep Suffield competitive. As with the meet against Exeter two days prior, the Choate meet would test their new resolve.
The opening relays showcased talent and impressive racing spirit from both teams. In the girls' medley relay, the same foursome that raced successfully on Monday against Exeter (Shaun Johnson, Sydney Winters, Samantha Hagberg, Caitlin Lally) won decisively, in a satisfactory 1:5356 time. The boys fielded a slightly different array from Monday's meet: Cian Beaulieu (back), Joe Rusnock (breast), Westley Bartlett (fly), and Marco Secchiaroli (free). Choate did not field their strongest foursome, and thus, could not quite keep pace with the Orange relay. The 200 free provided more fireworks, as Devina Bhalla and Jenna Polidoro took to lanes four and two in a battle with Choate's top sprinter, Samantha Scott. Bhalla almost ran Scott down, and Polidoro came in third, not far behind the leaders. For the boys' race, Suffield fielded co-captain Matt TItterton, fast improving junior Mike Giugliano, and newcomer James Muslu. Choate captured 1-2, then it was Titterton in third, and Giugliano fourth . In the 200 IM, always a strong event for the Tigerswimmers, Hagberg and Lally raced to first and fourth places. Secchiaroli and Rusnock, along with freshman Neil Budge, swam a spirited race against three Wild Boars, and touched in -first, second, and sixth places. Suffield won both 50 free sprint races, with Johnson capturing the girl's race and Bartlett, the boy's. Other fine swims were performed by Melvin Ku (third place), Walter Kress (fourth place), Jenna Daly, and Oscar Ceria.
Diving promised to be both entertaining and important for Suffield. A strong complement of female divers took to the board, as well as four of N.E.'s most heralded male divers. In the girls' competition, captain Carlin Molander and freshman phenom Emma Krasemann vaulted to fine scores of 196.50 and 216.50, yielding third and second places. Grace Reeves also comported herself well on the board, scoring 131.65, and Becca Bauer, diving exhibition, recorded an impressive 137.10 on. On the boys' side, Choate's two time N.E. champion, Kobe Tray, challenged SA's heralded threesome, newly minted school record holder Alec Wright, and last year's second and fourth place finishers at N.E's, Charlie Tilney-Volk and Kevin Kuzmeski. The four springboarders threw many impressive dives to the amazement of the spectators. Tray set a new pool record of 326.30, Tilney-Volk eclipsed teammate Alec Wright's two day old school record by a point, with 283.60 points, and Wright and Kuzmeski cruised to third and fourth places with fine scores of 268.55 and 237.65.
The second half of the meet was characterized by many nail biting races. Hagberg could not quite catch Choate's Isabelle So, losing 1:00.47 to 59.19. Lally earned fourth place. Bartlett earned his second win of the day in the 100 fly, just ahead of Titterton, giving Suffield a key 1-2 finish. Both Winters and Miranda swam to convincing wins in the 100 free (52.65, 46.95), and they were helped by teammates Amanda Kikonyogo and Melvin Ku, who each earned a fourth place finish. In the 500 free, Bhalla and Polidoro swam strong early season times, delivering a 1-2 punch, while in the boys, Beaulieu and Giugliano split points with Choate, finishing 1-4. The boys' "A" 200 free relay (Rusnock, Titterton, Bartlett, Miranda) swam a pesky Choate foursome, but prevailed, 1:30.73 to 1:31.33, anchored by Miranda's fast 21.43.
In the backstroke, Johnson earned her second win, while in the boys' race, Beaulieu and Secchiaroli swam to a 1-2 finish.
In the breaststroke, Winters again cruised to victory, and another 1-2 finish in the boys was achieved by Miranda and Rusnock. The 400 free relays were both captured by Suffield, resulting in a very close meet score in the girls' meet, and a resounding win for the boys.
Juana Bourgeois swam well in the breaststroke, as did Neil Budge in the 500 free.