CLIFTON PARK –- The Shenendehowa boys’ swimming team passed its first test of the season with flying colors –- and flying times — Thursday afternoon at the Shenendehowa Aquatics Center on the Clifton Park campus.
Facing off against Shaker virtually, the Plainsmen earned first place in five individual events, took the top spot in all three relays and its trio of divers had no competition at the North Colonie pool, adding 13 points to start the afternoon meet.
“I think we would rather be in a position where we are running at the same time and some of the challenges that do come with that,” Shenendehowa coach Chuck Dunham said at the end of the Plainsmen swim session. “I have no idea what Shaker’s times are right now. I have no idea what the score is or what they are doing.
“I guess we’re fortunate that we’re in a sport where we’re at least able to do that, compete virtually against each other and still have it count.”
With times from both pools entered in the Section II swim database a few moments later, Shenendehowa swam away with a 120-63 season-opening victory.
Section II administrators voted to have all the boys’ swim meets competed virtually until Feb. 4. The final two dual meets of the season for Shen, against Burnt Hills and Saratoga Springs, will be at the Aquatic Center.
South Carolina transfer senior Ryan Eldred has adjusted to the cold weather of the Northeast and is taking the high school virtual format in stride.
“Me and my brother enjoy the snow. We ride snowmobiles and stuff, but don’t tell [Coach], so we enjoy it,” Eldred said. “I was really racing the clock, and [Ethan] Rogowski is good competition.
“I race him, he races me. That’s about all we can do and hope for the best.”
Eldred finished third in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:04.88 and added two-second place finishes in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
“High school swimming up here is a lot more serious,” Eldred said. “It’s opposite down there [Myrtle Beach]. Club is more serious down there, and high school is not really serious like it is here.”
Shaker senior Ethan Zhang won two events, the 50 freestyle in 24.00 and 100 backstroke in 59.83 seconds, respectively.
Rogowski, a junior, was all business in the season opener Thursday, touching the wall first in the 200 individual medley in 2:06.08 and the 100 freestyle in 49.91 before swimming winning legs in the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays.
“I finally broke 50 [seconds in the 100 freestyle],” Rogowski said. “I was trying to do that all season last year. I was very proud of myself in that one.”
Rogowski felt a difference in the atmosphere on the deck of the aquatics center without a face-to-face competitor.
“I feel like I get more excited when they come in,” Rogowski said. “I get more hyped up and stuff. It’s different how they aren’t here.
“You’re just thinking what they’re going to go and go faster than what they’re going to go.”
200 medley relay – Shenendehowa (Homan, Fitzgerald, Rogowski, Schohn), 1:43.80. 200 free – Miller (Shen), 1:57.00. 200 IM – Rogowski (Shen), 2:06.08. 50 freestyle – Zhang (Shak), :24.00. Diving – Davey (Shen), 203.25. 100 fly – Mattison (Shak), :58.75. 100 free – Rogowski (Shen), :49.91. 500 free – Rudd (Shen), 5:15.54. 200 free – Shenendehowa (Schohn, Miller, Rogowski, Silaika), 1:36.06. 100 back – Zhang (Shak), :59.83. 100 breast – Homan (Shen), 1:05.91. 400 free relay – Shenendehowa (Kim, Miller, Silaika, Homan), 3:37.52.