Fitch sets three meet records to edge East Lyme for ECC swimming title 550-535
East Lyme — Fitch coach Katey Kokomoor thought her team would have to sweep the three relay events Saturday afternoon in order to win the Eastern Connecticut Conference boys' swimming and diving championship over regular-season ECC champion East Lyme.
And so it happened that with four events remaining and Fitch clinging to a 13-point lead, Kokomoor began leaping up and down with added height and increasing frequency on each leg of the 200-yard freestyle relay, which the Falcons won in a meet record 1 minute, 28.53 seconds, edging East Lyme, which also eclipsed the meet record.
After a pair of two-point losses to East Lyme during the regular season, the Fitch cooperative team, which also includes swimmers from Ledyard, Stonington and Wheeler, swept the relays, set three meet records overall and hung on to a 550-535 victory over the rival Vikings.
"It was heartbreaking at the time," Kokomoor said of the two narrow dual meet losses. "However, we learned such valuable lessons from that and all season long East Lyme has been the most fabulous competitor.
"We knew coming into the meet that we had to win all three relays so we planned accordingly and focused on everyone swimming to their best ability today. The boys did not disappoint. They swam with the most heart and passion and desire. Everyone on the team contributed."
The ECC's Swimmer of the Meet, Mike Urgo, who is a junior for the Fitch co-op and attends school at Wheeler, requested to be interviewed sitting down afterward, having expended just about every morsel of energy on swimming.
Urgo was one of three Fitch swimmers to win two individual events each, taking the 50 freestyle in 21.86 seconds and the 100 freestyle in 47.16. He came back and anchored the winning 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay teams, with both establishing meet records.
Ben Chidley won the 200 individual medley (2:01.04) and 100 breaststroke (59.79) for Fitch and freshman Jacob Lin took the 100 butterfly in a meet record 51.88, as well as winning the 100 backstroke (54.67).
Fitch's Sam Youtt, Chidley, Lin and Sam Ainscough teamed for a 200 medley relay win in 1:42.88. Julian Mileski, Matt Nowak, Chidley and Urgo won the 200 free relay and Mileski, Nowak, Lin and Urgo combined for a meet record in the 400 free relay in 3:16.99.
"Emotional," Urgo said when it was over. "That's a very difficult meet. We've been building up to this for the entire season. It's so unbelievable, just incredible to see it play out the way we wanted it to. It's an accomplishment to finally do it after failing twice. This time we made it happen.
" Just knowing it's a championship and this is our last chance to do it for all these seniors; that really brought energy high. I mean, we brought our 'A' game today. It was something special."
It was Fitch's first title since 2016. Coincidentally, Kokomoor was an assistant coach on that team under Ken Berg and Kokomoor's son Sam was the Swimmer of the Meet. Lin broke Sam Kokomoor's meet record Saturday in the 100 butterfly.
"It seemed to bring everything full circle," Kokomoor said. "I'm so thrilled for Jacob and I know my son is so thrilled for Jacob; records are meant to be broken."
East Lyme beat Fitch 86-84 on Jan. 14 and 91-89 on Feb. 8.
On Saturday, the Vikings got wins from Eric Wang in the 200 freestyle (1:48.92), Ryan McLaughlin in diving (379.15) and Evan Lombardo in the 500 freestyle (5:04.24). East Lyme was the four-time defending champion, with no team scores kept in last year's meet due to COVID-19. It was the third straight ECC title for McLaughlin, a senior.
"Props to them," East Lyme coach Rob Bouchey said of Fitch. "They worked hard for exactly this. They had our number. Our kids performed excellently; they just had a little more."
ECC SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
At East Lyme
1. Fitch co-op 550, 2. East Lyme 535, 3. Waterford 251, 4. Norwich Free Academy 183, 5. St. Bernard 154.
200-yard medley relay — 1. Fitch (Sam Youtt, Ben Chidley, Jacob Lin, Sam Ainscough), 1:42.88; 2. East Lyme, 3. Waterford, 4. St. Bernard.
200 freestyle — 1. Eric Wang (East Lyme), 1:48.92; 2. Youtt (Fitch), 3. Evan Lombardo (East Lyme), 4. Luke Lambert (Fitch), 5. Mingwen Duan (East Lyme), 6. Albert Zhu (East Lyme).
200 individual medley — 1. Chidley (Fitch), 2:01.04; 2. Ian Gonzalez (St. Bernard), 3. Alex Gonzalez (St. Bernard), 4. Alex Ji (NFA), 5. Ken Chen (East Lyme), 6. Alex Startz (Waterford).
50 freestyle — 1. Mike Urgo (Fitch), 21.86; 2. Hawken Hammen (East Lyme), 3. Julian Mileski (Fitch), 4. Matt Nowak (Fitch), 5. Jaime Nygaard (St. Bernard), 6. Jack Ballou (Fitch).
Diving — 1. Ryan McLaughlin (East Lyme), 379.15; 2. Jack Walsh (East Lyme).
100 butterfly — 1. Lin (Fitch), 51.88 (meet record); 2. Hammen (East Lyme), 3. Nygaard (St. Bernard), 4. Ryan Huang (East Lyme), 5. Startz (Waterford), 6. Duan (East Lyme).
100 freestyle — 1. Urgo (Fitch), 47.16; 2. Wang (East Lyme), 3. Mileski (Fitch), 4. Brendan Fant (East Lyme), 5. Lambert (Fitch), 6. Harrison Bied (Fitch).
500 freestyle — 1. Lombardo (East Lyme), 5:04.24; 2. Nowak (Fitch), 3. Sohum Balsara (Fitch), 4. Chen (East Lyme), 5. Evan Hespeler (Fitch), 6. Anna Gosselin (NFA).
200 freestyle relay — 1. Fitch (Mileski, Nowak, Chidley, Urgo), 1:28.53 (meet record); 2. East Lyme, 3. Waterford, 4. NFA, 5. St. Bernard.
100 backstroke — 1. Lin (Fitch), 54.67; 2. Huang (East Lyme), 3. Fant (East Lyme), 4. Youtt (Fitch), 5. Noah Krishnaswami (East Lyme), 6. Zhu (East Lyme).
100 breaststroke — 1. Chidley (Fitch), 59.79; 2. I. Gonzalez (St. Bernard), 3. Ji (NFA), 4. A. Gonzalez (St. Bernard), 5. Dean Palermo (East Lyme), 6. Noah Westkott (Waterford).
400 freestyle relay — 1. Fitch (Mileski, Nowak, Lin, Urgo), 3:16.99 (meet record); 2. East Lyme, 3. Waterford.
Swimmer of the meet — Urgo (Fitch).
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