Shenendehowa had the Section II Large Division swimming and diving team championship wrapped up by the time the 400-yard freestyle relay came around Saturday at Niskayuna High School, yet the Plainsmen had no intention of easing up.
Title-winning teams never do.
“For Mike [Christine] and myself, it was our last race at the sectionals. There were no more races after that, and we wanted to go out with a bang. We wanted to do something big,” said Shenendehowa senior Ryan Brauer, who was selected the meet’s Most Outstanding Swimmer. “We were pumped for it.”
Behind the two seniors and sophomores Jacob Johnson and Troy Nichols, Shenendehowa roared to a victory in the meet’s final event to earn All-American consideration, and put a cap on its second straight title and fifth in six years.
The foursome closed in 3:13.92, with Schenectady (3:22.02) edging Saratoga Springs (3:22.06) for second in the relay’s only true battle.
“It’s one of those things we talk about all the time. When you strive for perfection, that’s when you achieve excellence,” said second-year Shenendehowa head coach Chuck Dunham. “It’s about every kid going out there and trying to get their best time. Try, and the rest will take care of itself.”
With its display of power swimming, the Plainsmen won seven of the 11 events contested Saturday, and piled up 479 points to leave Bethlehem (326) and Shaker (263.50) well behind. The 479 points were 50 more than Shenendehowa had ever scored at a sectional meet; the 2004 squad totalled 429.
“Everybody came ready to race,” said Johnson, who, along with Brauer,
stepped up to the first-place stand four times Saturday. “Everybody dropped their times. It was unbelievable. Guys like [Adam] Goodcoff and [Mike] Bidwell really came through for the team.”
Shenendehowa sent 19 swimmers to Friday’s preliminaries, 17 of them advanced to Saturday’s finals.
“So many kids stepped up yesterday and put themselves in position to have success today,” Dunham said. “Guys snuck in by getting that 16th spot, that eighth spot. It’s kind of cliche, but it really was a team effort.”
For Brauer, who won the 200 individual medley (1:56.30, pool record) and the 500 free (4:43.71), and Christine, who won the 100 butterfly (52.23), it was their fifth sectional title.
“This never gets old. I enjoy having the team success,” said The College of Saint Rose-bound Brauer, who was also a four-event winner in 2007. “When everyone does well, it’s such a good feeling.”
For Christine, the day was even more special because after many relay successes, he finally notched an individual sectional victory.
“All these years, finally,” he said. “I’ve had seconds and thirds, but this is my first.”
“I’m so happy for the seniors, closing out having the success they’ve had,” said Dunham. “This was a really good meet to send them off.”
Johnson was triumphant in the 50 free (21.50, pool record, All-American consideration) — beating out Christine — and 100 free (47.17). Johnson, Christine, Brauer and junior Sean Parnett combined for another win in the 200 free relay (1:28.16, All-American consideration).
Nichols placed second in the 200 free and 500 free, and sophomore Ben Quay was third in the 200 free.
“None of us are shaved or tappered,” said Brauer. “At the state meet [Feb. 29-March 1, Nassau County Aquatic Center], we want to build on our success.”
Christine believes much more success could some Shenendehowa’s way in the coming years. The Plainsmen are losing six athletes from this year’s team that went unbeaten in 11 dual meets while also claiming the prestigious Long Island Invitational championship. Shenendehowa also went unbeaten in dual meets.
“Coach’s practices are unbelievably hard. I think we practice harder than any team in the section, maybe the state,” Christine said. “If the guys keep doing that, the program will keep going strong.”
Shaker sophomore Frankie Dyer won Saturday’s 200 free (1:43.16, All-American consideration) just after helping the Blue Bison take first in the 200 medley relay (1:38.35, All-American consideration). Bethlehem senior Drew Acquaviva placed first in the 100 back (52.99, All-American consideration), just ahead of Dyer (53.01, All-American consideration). Shaker senior Brian Maloy and Queensbury sophomore Andrew Guinther tied for first in the 100 breast (59.82, pool record), and Ballston Spa junior Ian
Hogan won the diving competition (536.40) on Thursday.
Aqua League champion Schenectady placed fourth in the team standings with 225 points, marking the highest finish for a Big 10 school since Albany took third in 1996. The Patriots placed second in the 200 medley and 400 free relays, and senior Chris Lotano finished second in the 200 free.
“I was totally impressed,” said Section II coordinator and Schenectady coach Brian Melanson. “They absolutely went beyond what I imagined. Fourth place is a win for Schenectady. Look at the teams ahead of us. They’re all perennial powers.”
Shenendehowa 479, Bethlehem 326, Shaker 263.50, Schenectady 225, Saratoga Springs 203, Mohonasen/Schalmont 188, Guilderland/Voorheesville 160, Queensbury 147.50, Ballston Spa 90, Niskayuna 80, Albany 38.
200 medley relay — Shaker (Frankie Dyer, Brian Maloy, Steve Maxwell, David Rowley), 1:38.35-sq (All-American consideration); Schenectady, 1:40.11-sq; Bethlehem, 1:40.51-SQ; Shenendehowa, 1:41.74; Mohonasen/Schalmont, 1:42.71; Queensbury, 1:44.38.
200 free — Frankie Dyer (Shak), 1:43.16-sq (All-American consideration); Troy Nichols (Shen). 1:46.31-sq; Ben Quay (Shen), 1:47.27; Nate Foley (BC), 1:47.86-sq; Devon Byrt (Sara), 1:48.52-sq; Sean Parnett (Shen), 1:49.34-sq.
200 IM — Ryan Brauer (Shen), 1:56.30-sq (pool record); Vadim Yafayev (GV), 1:57.37-sq; Chris Lotano (Sch), 1:58.84-sq; Andrew Guinther (Q), 2:02.85-sq; Michael Bidwell (Shen), 2:05.00; Alex Lednev (BC), 2:06.14.
50 free — Jacob Johnson (Shen), 21.50-sq (All-American consideration, pool record); Mike Christine (Shen), 21.64-sq; Ryan Quinn (Sch), 22-16-sq; Brian Maloy (Shak), 22.27-sq; Michael Dugan (MS), 22.45-sq; David Rowley (Shak), 22.48-sq.
Diving (Thursday) — Ian Hogan (BS), 536.40-sq; Eric Messina (Shak), 483.20-sq; Grant Fecteau (BC), 462.30-sq; Jon DiPietro (Sch), 420.05-sq; Sean Molloy (GV), 404.55-sq; Devery Farrell (Shak), 330.65.
100 fly — Mike Christine (Shen), 52.23-sq; Michael Dugan (MS), 52.42-sq; Jeff Singer (Q), 55.52; Taylor VanCott (BC), 55.82; Devon Byrt (Sara), 56.16; Patrick Grasso (MS), 56.87.
100 free — Jacob Johnson (Shen), 47.17-sq; Chris Lotano (Sch), 48.02-sq; Drew Acquaviva (BC), 48.44-sq; David Rowley (Shak), 49.36-sq; Devin Hallam (MS), 49.70-sq; Boris Virnik (BC), 50.05.
500 free — Ryan Brauer (Shen), 4:43.71-sq; Troy Nichols (Shen), 4:46.70-sq; Nate Foley (BC), 4:46.85-sq; Ben Quay (Shen), 4:49.49-sq; Sean Parnett (Shen), 5:02.45; Casey Slone (Sara), 5:07.69.
200 free relay — Shenendehowa (Mike Christine, Sean Parnett, Jacob Johnson, Ryan Brauer), 1:28.16-sq (All-American consideration); Bethlehem, 1:28.89-sq; Schenectady, 1:29.49-sq; Shaker, 1:29.55-sq; Mohonasen/Schalmont, 1:30.58-sq; Guilderland/Voorheesville, 1:34.09.
100 back — Drew Acquaviva (BC), 52.99-sq (All-American consideration); Frankie Dyer (Shak), 53.01-sq (All-American consideration); David Woods (Sch), 56.33-sq; Kevin Murphy (Sara), 56.70-sq; Steve Maxwell (Shak), 57.21; Will Dobson (Sch), 57.40.
100 breast — Brian Maloy (Shak), 59.82-sq (pool record); Andrew Guinther (Q), 59.82-sq (pool record); Vadim Yafayev (GV), 1:01.20-sq; Michael Bidwell (Shen), 1:02.47; Aristo Wong (Shen), 1:03.76; Nate Resila (MS), 1:05.07.
400 free relay — Shenendehowa (Mike Christine, Troy Nichols, Jacob Johnson, Ryan Brauer), 3:13.92-sq (All-American consideration); Schenectady, 3:22.02; Saratoga Springs, 3:22.06; Bethlehem, 3:25.80; Guilderland/Voorheesville, 3:29.91; Queensbury, 3:32.42.
AMSTERDAM — Jamie Matthews and Bryan Shaver won two events apiece, and both Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake seniors swam on a pair of winning winning to carry the Spartans to the Small Division team championship at Amsterdam Middle School.
The Spartans scored 472.5 points to easily outdistance Gloversville (295) and Glens Falls (262.5).
Matthews won the 200 IM and 100 fly, Shaver was first in the 50 free and 100 free, and the tandem took part in victorious 200 medley and 400 free relays. The Spartans also won the 200 free relay.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 472.5, Gloversville 295, Glens Falls 262.5, Albany Academy 234.5, Canajoharie 189, Fonda/Johnstown 181, Amsterdam 158, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 130, New Lebanon/Berlin 117.5, Hudson Falls 42, CBA 26, Taconic Hills 2.
200 medley relay — Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (Jacob Smith, John MacDonald, Jamie Matthews, Bryan Shaver), 1:43.49. 200 free — Matt Distler (GF), 1:51.71. 200 IM — Jamie Matthews (BH), 2:02.04-sq; John MacDonald (BH), 2:04.45-sq. 50 free — Bryan Shaver (BH), 22.29-sq. Diving (Thursday) — Josh Morey (Glove), 436.05-sq. 100 fly — Jamie Matthews (BH), 53.39-sq. 100 free — Bryan Shaver (BH), 49.90. 500 free — Kevin Burns (Rav), 4:57.62-sq. 200 free relay — Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (Dan Godshalk, Mike Young, Ray Amato, Jacob Smith), 1:33.76. 100 back — Kevin Burns (Rav), 56.27-sq. 100 breast — A.J. Broderick (FJ), 1:03.36-sq. 400 free relay — Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (Tyler Slocum, Dan Godshalk, Jamie Matthews, Bryan Shaver), 3:22.16.