Exciting day in the Pool...
In what is always Suffield's most challenging competition of the dual meet season, the Tigers took on national powerhouse Peddie and Andover (their boys have won the last few N.E. D1 titles for boys) for a Recruits Day meet. While struggling to match the depth of our opponents; squads this year, the Orange captured many races and the dive competition in the spirited, well-attended meet.
Suffield cruised to easy victory in the opening event, the girls' 200 medley relay, with the speedy quartet (Shaun Johnson, Sydney Winters, Samantha Hagberg, Devina Bhalla) posting the fastest time in the N.E. preps this year, in 1:48.94. Suffield's "Bs" (Caitlin Lally, Jenna Polidoro, Amanda Kikonyogo, Jenna Daly) posted excellent splits in a 2:03.33 effort, as did the "Cs" (Abby James, Daisy Fauver, Casey Eskridge, Juana Bourgeois). The boys' foursomes could not match the Eastern champions and runners up from last year, but swam well, nonetheless. Brett Smith, Joe Rusnock, Matt Titterton, and Melvin Ku enjoyed excellent split times en route to a 1:41.38 swim. Walter Kress, Leon Leung, Mike Giugliano, and Ryan Lunsford performed well for the "Bs."
Bhalla was back up on the blocks for the next event, and she nearly caught frontrunner Sophia Furigay from Peddie, outtouched at the wall 1:58.78 to 1:58.86. Max Miranda set his second pool record of the week, this time eclipsing his own record of 1:41.09 with a 1:40.63 posting. Marco Secchiaroli swam to a season best 1:50.23, good for fifth against the strong 9-man entry field. In the 200 IM, Winters was the class of the field, narrowly missing her own pool record while winning the event by eight seconds. Lally finished sixth and Bourgeois ninth in the event. Cian Beaulieu staged a great effort against national juniors qualifier Noah Housekeeper, almost running down his opponent with a furious freestyle leg, losing 1:57.23 to 1:57.37. Titterton grabbed fifth place (2:02.15) and Andrew Budge ninth among the official participants in a season best performance. The sprint free belonged to Johnson in a season best 24.62. Westley Bartlett continued to swim in top form, only a few hundredths off his career best, grabbing fifth place, while teammate Ku snagged seventh in 23.97.
Since Peddie has no divers, Suffield and Andover had the boards to themselves. The Andover team, coached by Belinda Canavan, is perennially strong, and Suffield always enjoys competing against them. Senior Carlin Molander took home the top prize on Wednesday against Deerfield, but this time it was freshman Emma Krasemann's turn to shine, as she came in first place with a PR of 233.60 with Molander close behind her in second with a 231.95 (also a PR). Becca Bauer dove steadily and earned a strong 149.35. On the boys' side, junior Charlie Tilney-Volk continued to dominate, coming in first and improving upon the school record mark with an impressive 304.85. Sophomore Alec Wright dove well and missed second place by a mere point, earning a 265.05. Kuzmeski picked up fourth place, besting his previous PR by over 20 points by earning a 258.10.
The fly was all orange on the victor's stand, as Hagberg closed very well to touch first (59.79), ahead of Andover's Elizabeth Tran. Lally was eighth and Kikonyogo ninth. Miranda made it a double win for himself and Suffield, cruising to a strong 50.54, only .1 off Wednesday's lightning swim. Bartlett grabbed sixth with a fine 54.06 and Giugliano earned ninth in 1:02.00. Bhalla again battled for first. falling short by .3, 54.66 to 54.97. Eskridge swam to a 1:07.52 season best. The field was too fast for our young entrants in the boys' 100 free, but each of the lads swam very well, earning personal bests. Rusnock was 50,86 and Smith 51.62. Lunsford swam to 56.37 in the second heat, and senior Max Bass eclipsed 1:00 for the first time (59.69).
The girls' 500 found Suffield earning a measure of success, with Hagberg almost catching the lead swimmer, finishing in second place with a PB 5:25.77, and Polidoro securing seventh place. The boys' 500 was the meet's most exciting race, with frequent lead changes and an impossible to pick winner with only one 50 to go. The first four finished as follows: Donchi (Andover) 4:49.34, Beaulieu (SA) 4:49.86, Radkov (Peddie) 4:49.95, and fast charging Titterton (SA) 4:50.07. For Titterton, it was a lifetime best. Andrew Budge swam a strong in season time of 5:46.16 in the second heat. The 200 free relay brought little glory for the Tigers, so hopes turned to the backstroke. Johnson led from start to finish, winning in a season best 59.03, while in the boys' race, Sechhiaroli (56.17) and Smith (56.50) swam well for fifth and sixth places in an extremely fast field.
Breaststroke showcased Suffield's talent, as Winters kept her undefeated streak going in the event, and freshman Rusnock surprised the field with a last lap surge that earned him a .01 margin of victory in a new lifetime best and SA top 25 time of 1:01.30. Improving from previous meets, Daisy Fauver, Maya Grant, and Oscar Ceria swam well, as did first time swimmer Blaire McGavin.
The final relay was dramatic on both fronts: the girls (Hagberg, Bhalla, Johnson, Winters) mounted a fine challenge to a year old Greenwich Academy pool record, missing by only a second (3:35.57 versus the record of 3:34.05). The boys' "As" gave Peddie a fine race, with all four Orangemen swimming to season or lifetime bests, to put up a strong 3:12.17 time. Splits were: Beaulieu 48.14 leadoff, Miranda 46.09, Bartlett 48.98, Titterton 48.96).
Suffield now enjoys a respite after a hugely challenging early season (meets vs. Exeter, Choate, Deerfield, and today's contest with Andover and Peddie), with an unscored, fun meet Kingswood and no meet on Saturday, January 20.