Section II Swimming: Plainsmen capture sixth straight title
CLIFTON PARK Shenendehowa had to wait and watch before adding to its collection of Section II swimming and diving championships.
After a disqualification kept the meet hosts out of Saturday’s opening 200-yard medley relay, the Plainsmen got a quick victory from Ryan Gordon to swing momentum their way and three more later on in a sixth consecutive title-winning performance.
“In a meet, just as in life, you have to make adjustments. You can only control what you can control. As young kids, they did a good job of putting it behind them,” Shenendehowa coach Chuck Dunham said of the relay disqualification in Friday’s preliminary round, “The way they handled it, I think that was the most impressive thing about this weekend.”
Gordon won two individual events for the second year in a row, and Taylor Nichols swam a leg on a first-place relay before posting a triumph in the 100 backstroke. The outcome of that event helped Shenendehowa all but seal its ninth sectional title in 10 years.
Shenendehowa’s six straight banners tie Queensbury (1988-93) for the third-longest team streak in Section II history.
“I saw a couple of kids were down,” said Nichols, a senior captain. “I told them, ‘It’s not the end of the world. You’ve got to learn from that.’ I just tried to encourage everyone to stay pumped up.”
Gordon won the 200 freestyle in 1:42.34, dominating the race that saw runner-up Tim Buff of Shaker clock a 1:48.03. In the meet’s third event, the 200 individual medley, Nichols swam second (1:55.82) to Bethlehem ace Alex Lednev.
“Obviously, it’s disappointing when you have a setback. I pulled the whole team together and told them we’re in a position to either focus on the negative, or the next guy can go out and get the ball rolling,” said Dunham. “We got
momentum going. Not only did Ryan get the win, but a couple of our freshmen got fifth [Eric Burdge] and sixth [Brian Stanley].”
“I just wanted to blow everyone out of the water,” said Gordon, a sophomore. “I wanted to swim fast.”
Gordon also prevailed in the 100 free (46.50) and anchored Shenendehowa’s second-place 400 free relay (3:20.40) to cap the meet.
“Ryan had a great meet. The sky is the limit, as far as he can go,” Dunham said. “Today was another step in what has already been a great career.”
Nichols won the 100 backstroke in his final home pool appearance, and set a pool record, too. He went 52.44 to beat the 53.11 he produced at last year’s championships.
“I wanted to leave my mark in this pool,” said Nichols, a six-year varsity veteran. “It was my last senior event here.”
Shenendehowa held a 329-315.5 lead over Niskayuna heading into the 100 back, and piled up 48 points to the Silver Warriors’ 15 to widen its margin with two events remaining. The Plainsmen finished with 446 in the Large Division standings, and Niskayuna totaled 411.5.
“We knew we could do it. We knew we were going to come out on top again, even without the relay,” said Gordon. “We were determined to swim fast.”
Nichols joined with Luoxiao Li, Eric Tsui and Mike Conley on Shenendehowa’s first-place 200 free relay (1:30.45). That win was rewarded when Bethlehem (1:30.35) was disqualified for having a swimmer jump in early.
Patriots get first
Seeded fifth coming into the sectionals and second after the prelims, senior Sam Boese became Schenectady’s first champion when he clocked a personal-best 22.31 in the 50 free.
“When I first tapped, I looked up [at the scoreboard] and saw lane five, and saw first place. I was so happy, I didn’t really care about my time,” said Boese. “I remember back in ninth grade thinking first place is so unreachable. It’s something I couldn’t even imagine.”
“We’ve had relays place second and individuals place second. He was so determined,” said Schenectady coach and Section II swim coordinator Brian Melanson. “He’s on top of the world right now.”
Boese just missed the state meet qualifying time of 22.29. Runner-up Gunnar Zemering of Bethlehem finished in 22.34.
“I always wanted to make the states, but I can’t be that disappointed. I can always say I was the first champion from Schenectady,” said Boese. “I’m glad for coach Melanson. He finally got one.”
Lednev was named Section II’s outstanding scholar-athlete midway through the meet and its standout athlete afterward with four personal
bests. The senior won the 200 IM (1:53.60, All-America consideration) and 100 breaststroke (59.40), swam the breast segment (21.73) on the Eagles’ first-place 200 medley relay (1:39.93) and anchored (21.49) their 200 free relay.
Niskayuna sophomore Emerson Wells won the 500 free (4:51.75) after taking second in the event last year, and helped the Silver Warriors cop the 400 free relay (3:19.76).
Amsterdam’ Antonio Lanzi won the 200 IM (1:54.18) and 100 butterfly (51.92), schoolmate Lucas Santiago won the 100 free (48.37) and 100 back (54.72), and both factored in 200 medley (1:42.06) and 400 free (3:21.06) relay victories.
Team champion Albany Academy got its lone swimming win in the 200 free relay (1:29.55). Diver Manny Pollard started the Cadets’ title drive Thursday with a state record (635.75).
LARGE SCHOOL DIVISION
Shenendehowa 446, Niskayuna 411.5, Shaker 350, Bethlehem 238.5, Ballston Spa 170, Mohonasen/Schalmont 138, Schenectady 132, Saratoga Springs 104, Albany 90, Guilderland/Voorheesville 83.
200 medley relay — Bethlehem (Brian Negri, Alex Lednev, Kevin Flynn, Gunnar Zemering), 139.93 (NYS); Shaker, 1:42.19; Niskayuna, 1:42.97; Ballston Spa, 1:44.34; Schenectady, 1:48.19.
200 free — Ryan Gordon (Shen), 1:42.34 (NYS); Tim Buff (Shak), 1:48.03; Emerson Wells (Nisk), 1:48.16; Dylan Karlok (Nisk), 1:50.25; Eric Burdge (Shen), 1:50.59.
200 IM — Alex Lednev (Beth), 1:53.60 (AAC, NYS); Taylor Nichols (Shen), 1:55.82 (NYS); Dave Gardiner (BS), 1:59.74 (NYS); Evan Melby (Nisk), 2:02.54; Orion Whitney (Nisk), 2:05.86.
50 free — Sam Boese (Sch), 22.31; Gunnar Zemering (Beth), 22.34; Eric Tsui (Shen), 22.39; Ryan Burke (Nisk), 22.54; Nikos Moisidis (Shak), 22.85.
100 fly — Thomas Kearney (Shak), 54.34; Gerhard Bosman (Nisk), 55.02; Sam Boese (Sch), 55.92; Eric Tsui (Shen), 56.60; Kevin Flynn (Beth), 57.57.
100 free — Ryan Gordon (Shen), 46.50 (NYS); Gunnar Zemering (Beth), 48.93 (NYS); Ryan Burke (Nisk), 49.47; Mike Conley (Shen), 49.76; Nikos Moisidis (Shak), 49.88.
500 free — Emerson Wells (Nisk), 4:51.75 (NYS); Brian Nolte (Shal), 4:54.18 (NYS); Orion Whitney (Nisk), 4:57.76; Luke Gordon (Shen), 4:50.00; Aidan Strayer (Nisk), 4:59.17.
200 free relay — Shenendehowa (Luoxiao Li, Eric Tsui, Taylor Nichols, Mike Conley), 1:30.45; Niskayuna, 1:30.78; Ballston Spa, 1:32.18; Shaker, 1:34.25; Saratoga, 1:36.76.
100 back — Taylor Nichols (Shen), 52.44 (NYS); Dave Gardiner (BS), 53.54 (NYS); Tim Buff (Shak), 55.44 (NYS); Gerhard Bosman (Nisk), 55.98; Brian Negri (Beth), 57.56.
100 breast — Alex Lednev (Beth), 59.40 (NYS); Thomas Kearney (Shak), 1:01.17 (NYS); Evan Melby (Nisk), 1:01.52 (NYS); Ryan O’Connor (Shak), 1:03.02; James Chalermkraivuth (Nisk), 1:05.60.
400 free relay — Niskayuna (Dylan Karlok, Ryan Burke, Emerson Wells, Evan Melby), 3:19.76; Shenendehowa, 3:20.40; Shaker, 3:20.68; Bethlehem, 3:31.47; Mohonasen/Schalmont, 3:32.49.
SMALL SCHOOL DIVISION
Albany Academy 365.5, Queensbury 322, Amsterdam 261.5, Glens Falls 256, Gloversville 254, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 217, Canajoharie/Fort Plain 160, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 94, Taconic Hills 90, Hudson Falls 46, CBA 37, LaSalle 37, Galway 35, New Lebanon 13.
200 medley relay — Amsterdam (Lucas Santiago, Antonio Lanzi, Lee Forrest, Robert Newhook), 1:42.06. 200 free — Jordan Gregg (Gal), 1:48.75. 200 IM — Antonio Lanzi (Amst), 1:54.18 (NYS); Dylan Sharkey (CBA), 1:56.01 (NYS); Alex Dreisbach (AA), 2:01.59 (NYS). 50 free — Niko Brosnihan (LSI), 22.13 (NYS). 100 fly — Antonio Lanzi (Amst), 51.91 (NYS); Nick Wilkinson (GF), 53.41 (NYS). 100 free — Lucas Santiago (Amst), 48.37 (NYS); Niko Brosnihan (LSI), 48.61 (NYS); Alex Dreisbach (AA), 48.62 (NYS). 500 free — Matthew Rolleston (Q), 4:58.77. 200 free relay — Albany Academy (Alex Dreisbach, Mateusz Dziekan, Zacc Filanova, Wyatt Pritchard), 1:29.55 (NYS). 100 back — Lucas Santiago (Amst), 54.72 (NYS); Nick Wilkinson (GF), 55.05 (NYS); Travis Blank (TH), 55.20 (NYS). 100 breast — Dylan Sharkey (CBA), 1:00.87 (NYS); Greg Chocko (Q), 1:01.24 (NYS); Matthew Rolleston (Q), 1:01.67. 400 free relay — Amsterdam (Antonio Lanzi, Robert Newhook, Kristian Santos, Lucas Santiago), 3:21.06.
NYS — State meet qualifier.