Vikings edge Falcons to win ECC championship swimming meet
Groton — East Lyme coach Rob Bouchey referred to his team's adversity this season. And by adversity, Bouchey was talking specifically about the Vikings' wins and losses, including a pair of regular-season defeats to league rival Fitch.
To a proud East Lyme High School swim team, that was adverse enough.
"I do believe we were able to learn a lot from it," Bouchey said early Saturday evening after his team avenged those losses with an Eastern Connecticut Conference championship meet victory at UConn Avery Point.
"We have gotten better every single day this year. ... That's what drives this program; I do believe in them. It can be hard to find a way to make them believe the same thing."
East Lyme found a way Saturday, overcoming a disqualification in the opening 200-yard medley relay to finish first at the ECC meet with 521 points.
Fitch/Stonington/Ledyard/Norwich Tech's cooperative team, despite winning seven events and claiming the Swimmer of the Meet in senior John Marcolina, who repeated that honor, was second with 509 points. Waterford, led by a 1-2 finish by Jason Blain (337.10 points) and Kody Dow in Friday's diving competition, was third with 264 points and Norwich Free Academy fourth with 216.
East Lyme got wins from Bobby Hahn in the 200 individual medley (2:05.09) and Jack Lombardo in the 500 freestyle (5:07.51), taking an 18-point lead into the break that led to the final four events.
Th Vikings then won the 200 freestyle relay with a team featuring a pair of sophomores, Noam Sokolovsky and Powall Wang, who joined Hahn and Erik Stelter to finish in 1:34.50, pushing the lead to 24 points.
"We had kids stepping up all over the place," Bouchey said. "Getting DQed in that relay could have taken the wind out of their sails. We're fighting for every point we can find. But we had kids step up all over the place, finishing in the top six out of the second-fastest heat."
"We wanted to show off the improvement we made since last time we swam them," Hahn said. "A couple times you think we're going to run out of energy and the person would follow that up with another amazing performance."
Fitch got two wins each from Marcolina in the 100 butterfly (53.09) and 100 breaststroke (1:00.08) and AJ Murko in the 200 freestyle (1:51.48) and 100 backstroke (56.22). Marcolina set the meet record in the breaststroke, formerly held by Fitch's Pat Nowak at 1:00.57.
Fitch's Joe Vignato took the 100 freestyle (51.18) and the Falcons' 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay teams also won in what was Falcons' coach Ken Berg's final ECC meet after 29 seasons.
Berg was a part of the Fitch program since he was a swimmer there, graduating as a member of the Class of 1975.
"I was crying during the national anthem. I don't know," Berg said with a smile, asked about his final league meet. "I'll probably still come and watch. I'll be shoveling tomorrow (Berg has his own landscaping business), not riding off into the sunset.
"I love coaching the kids. I think I'd just like to breathe for awhile. At some point, you can't do everything."
ECC SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIP
At UConn Avery Point, Groton
1. East Lyme 521, 2. Fitch/Stonington/Ledyard/Norwich Tech 509, 3. Waterford 264, 4. Norwich Free Academy 216, 5. Windham/RHAM/Coventry 196, 6. New London 115, 7. St. Bernard 70.
200-yard medley relay — 1. Fitch (AJ Murko, John Marcolina, Keegan Reck, Joe Vignato), 1:43.34; 2. NFA; 3. Windham; 4. Waterford; 5. New London.
200 freestyle — 1. Murko (Fitch), 1:51.48; 2. Jack Lombardo (East Lyme); 3. Ian Sanok (Fitch), 4. Ryan Goolsbey (East Lyme), 5. Maxwell Cartier (Fitch), 6. Nathanael Padgett (Fitch).
200 individual medley — 1. Bobby Hahn (East Lyme), 2:05.09; 2. Jeffrey Ng; 3. Jack Zhang (East Lyme); 4. Ben Chidley (Fitch); 5. Ian Gonzalez (St. Bernard); 6. Aden Lu (East Lyme).
50 freestyle — 1. Ethan Kirkpatrick (Windham), 23.16; 2. Vignato (Fitch); 3. K. Reck (Fitch); 4. Powall Wang (East Lyme); 5. Noam Sokolovsky (East Lyme); 6. Erik Stelter (East Lyme).
Diving — 1. Jason Blain (Waterford), 337.10; 2. Kody Dow (Waterford); 3. Ryan McLaughlin (East Lyme); 4. Christian Montoya (Waterford); 5. Alicia Erami (Windham); 6. Jack Walsh (East Lyme).
100 butterfly — 1. Marcolina (Fitch), 53.09; 2. Zhang (East Lyme); 3. Ryan Huang (East Lyme); 4. Jaimie Nygaard (St. Bernard); 5. Hawken Hammen (East Lyme); 6. Dan Estrin (Waterford).
100 freestyle — 1. Vignato (Fitch), 51.18; 2. K. Reck (Fitch); 3. Wang (East Lyme); 4. Alex Gi (NFA); 5. Stelter (East Lyme); 6. Sokolovsky (East Lyme).
500 freestyle — 1. Lombardo (East Lyme), 5:07.51; 2. Padgett (Fitch); 3. Goolsbey (East Lyme); 4. Aaron Reck (Fitch); 5. Sam Youtt (Fitch); 6. Andrius Kirvelevicius (East Lyme).
200 freestyle relay — 1. East Lyme (Sokolovsky, Hahn, Stelter, Wang), 1:34.50; 2. Fitch; 3. Waterford; 4. Windham; 5. NFA; 6. New London.
100 backstroke — 1. Murko (Fitch), 56.22; 2. Huang (East Lyme); 3. Kirkpatrick (Windham); 4. Cartier (Fitch); 5. Nygaard (St. Bernard); 6. Youtt (Fitch).
100 breaststroke — 1. Marcolina (Fitch), 1:00.07 (meet record); 2. Ng (NFA); 3. Ji (NFA); 4. Eric Gu (East Lyme); 5. Chidley (Fitch); 6. Hahn (East Lyme).
400 freestyle relay — 1. Fitch (Vignato, K. Reck, Murko, Marcolina), 3:22.75; 2. East Lyme; 3. NFA; 4. Windham; 5. Waterford; 6. New London.
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