Shenendehowa senior Jake Johnson had never participated in a relay that didn’t win at the Section II Swimming and Diving Championships until Saturday’s meet-starting race.
“We were all a little disappointed. We were first in the preliminaries, and we wanted it,” Johnson said of Shenendehowa’s second-place effort behind Mohonasen/Schalmont in the 200-yard medley relay. “Our coach told us not to worry about it and to get ready for the next race. That’s what we did. We regrouped.”
The Plainsmen set a meet record with their superb bounce-back performance, scoring an all-time high of 536 points to claim their fourth straight Large School Division title and seventh in eight years at Shenendehowa’s new aquatic facility.
Johnson won two individual events, Shayne Buckley and Taylor Nichols both took one, and the trio joined with Troy Nichols for a triumphant finish to the meet in the 400 free relay.
Bethlehem scored 279 points to place second, and Mohonasen/Schalmont, with 237, was third.
“Individuals win races, but teams win championships,” Shenendehowa coach Chuck Dunham said after the Plainsmen surpassed the previous record of 497 points they totaled at the 2009 meet. “Every kid did their part to put us in position to do it. I’m proud of the effort every single kid put in. They put their heart and soul into everything we asked them to do all year.”
Like Johnson, Mohonasen/Schalmont senior Michael Dugan also came away with three victories and set a Section II record in his specialty race, the 100 butterly, while Shaker senior Frankie Dyer was a double winner and was selected the event’s outstanding competitor for the second year in a row.
“I’m very happy to get the award, but there are a lot of great athletes that could have won it. There are some great swimmers in this section, guys like Jake Johnson and Michael Dugan,” said the Notre Dame-bound Dyer, who won the 200 free for the third year in a row and repeated as the 500 free champ. “All three of us had great meets. It could have been any of us.”
Johnson won both the 100 free (46.52) and the 50 free (21.31) for the third consecutive year, edging Dugan in a sensational 50 final that saw five swimmers in all make the state team.
“One mistake and it’s over. It’s such a short race, and you’ve got to be perfect,” Johnson said. “I got on the block and cleared my mind, and when I touched, it was such a big sigh of relief.”
Buckley defended his 200 individual medley championship (1:56.55) and Taylor Nichols won the 100 backstroke (55.22) before helping Shenendehowa dominate the 400 free relay with a victorious time of 3:13.75.
Shenendehowa will be striving to win its third straight state title in the 400 free relay Feb. 27 at Erie Community College, Johnson will be looking to make it three wins in a row in both the 50 and 100 free, and Buckley will be vieing for a 200 IM championship repeat. The Plainsmen will also be going after their third consecutive team championship.
“We’re not done yet. Hopefully our best swims are still in front of us,” said Dunham. “I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface of what we can do.”
Dugan won the 100 fly in a Section II-record 49.63, earning automatic All-American status while beating his own mark of 50.32 set earlier this season in a meet with Shaker. Dugan won the event for the second year in a row after a runner-up sophomore performance.
“It feels great to finally break 50,” said Dugan, who is headed the University at Buffalo. “I’ve been working on that for a while now, and I had the adrenaline going. Hopefully I can bring it down even more.”
Dugan anchored Mohonasen/Schalmont’s first place 200 free relay (1:28.71) after swims by Nate Resila, Dylan Woythal and Matthew Reiss. Resila followed Dugan to finish off the 200 medley relay win in 1:38.19, which was a reversal of last year’s outcome in the meet-starting race. Shenendehowa, with Johnson serving as the anchor, clocked a 1:38.36.
“I remember last year when we got touched out at the end,” Dugan said. “Getting those guys, that fired us up for this meet.”
“All the credit in the world to Mohonasen,” Dunham said of the 200 medley relay. “They swam a great race. We swam a great race, too, and have nothing to hang our heads about. It should be another great race at the state meet.”
Dyer earned automatic All-American status in winning the 200 free (1:39.38) and 500 free (4:32.75), but was more pleased with the school-record 20.68 he notched as the leadoff man in the 200 free relay preliminaries Friday. With that effort, Dyer took down John Trembley’s 50 free school record of 20.70 that had stood since 1970.
“That was my huge goal for the weekend. That’s a record I’ve been after,” Dyer said of his eighth school record. “Now I’ll go back to focusing on the longer distances. I want to hit my best times at the state meet.”
Dyer is the Section II record holder in the 200 free (1:37.96), setting that mark in placing second at the 2009 state meet, and in the 500 free (4:29.61), setting that one at this season’s Eastern State/Long Island Invitational.
“He can beat those records,” said Shaker coach Kim Rixman. “He has it in him.”
Alex Lednov of Bethlehem won the 100 breaststroke (1:00.49) ahead of Resila, who was honored as the Section II Scholar Athlete Award winner. Ballston Spa will be sending its first two relay units to the state meet after the Scotties took second in the 200 free and 400 free.
Earlier Saturday, Queensbury defended its Small School Division team title, with Andrew Guinther winning the 200 IM and 100 breast, leading off a first-place 200 free relay and anchoring a triumphant 400 free relay.
Nick Keenan added a win for Queensbury in the 100 fly and contributed to the Spartans’ relay success. Matt Distler of Glens Falls won the 50 free and 100 free, while Lucas Santiago and Antonio Lanzi of Amsterdam won the 100 back and 500 free, respectively, and participated in a first-place 200 medley relay.
Albany Academy and Amsterdam placed second and third among the teams.
LARGE SCHOOL DIVISION
Shenendehowa 536, Bethlehem 279, Mohonasen/Schalmont 237, Niskayuna 223, Shaker 222, Ballston Spa 204, Guilderland/Voorheesville 164, Saratoga Springs 159, Schenectady 83, Albany 66.
200 medley relay — Mohonasen/Schalmont, 1:38.19, AAC, pool record; Shenendehowa, 1:38.36, AAC.
200 free — Frankie Dyer (Shak), 1:39.38, AA, pool record; Troy Nichols (Shen), 1:42.40, AAC; Michael Barno (BS); NYS; Jorge Romero (Shen); Nick Kirkpatrick (Sara); Bryan Geary (Shen).
200 IM — Shayne Buckley (Shen), 1:56.55, NYS; Alex Lednev (BC), 1:57.31, NYS; Michael Henze (Nisk), 1:59.82, NYS; Taylor Nichols (Shen), 2:03.60; Andrew Minnick (Shak), 2:06.66; Michael Gao (Shen), 2:06.66.
50 free — Jacob Johnson (Shen), 21.31, AAC; Michael Dugan (MS), 21.33, AAC; Zachary Kundel (BC), 21.85, NYS; Jonathan Wheeler (GV), 22.21, NYS; Nate Resila (MS), 22.49, NYS; Matthew Reiss (MS), 22.68.
100 fly — Michael Dugan (MS), 49.63, AAA, Section II record, pool record; Taylor Van Cott (BC), 52.45, NYS; Michael Henze (Nisk), 52.73, NYS; Adam Kalish (Shen), 54.98; Eric Tsui (Shen), 56.45; Dylan Woythal (MS), 56.49.
100 free — Jacob Johnson (Shen), 46.52, AAC; Michael Barno (BS), 47.22, NYS; Jonathan Wheeler (GV), 49.29, NYS; Zachary Kundel (BC), 50.23; Andrew Minnick (Shak), 50.67; Jorge Romero (Shen), 50.82.
500 free — Frankie Dyer (Shak), 4:32.75, AAA, pool record; Troy Nichols (Shen), 4:44.11, NYS; Shayne Buckley (Shen), 4:50.51, NYS; Ryan Gordon (Shen), 5:01.86; Nick Kirkpatrick (Sara), 5:12.04; Bennett Stahl (Sara), 5:17.48.
200 free relay — Mohonasen/Schalmont (Nate Resila, Dylan Woythal, Matthew Reiss, Michael Dugan), 1:28.71, NYS, pool record; Ballston Spa, 1:29.46, NYS; Shenendehowa, 1:30.67; Shaker, 1:31.60; Guilderland/Voorheesville, 1:34.52; Saratoga Springs, 1:35.74.
100 back — Taylor Nichols (Shen), 55.22, NYS; Taylor Van Cott (BC), 55.64, NYS; Ryan Gordon (Shen), 57.06; Thomas Kearney (Shak), 57.62; Jae Segatto (MS), 58.96; Eric Tsui (Shen), 59.00.
100 breast — Alex Lednev (BC), 1:00.49, NYS, pool record; Nate Resila (MS), 1:00.96, NYS; Philip Piombino (BS), 1:01.87, NYS; Adam Goodcoff (Shen), 1:02.48, NYS; Evan Melby (Nisk), 1:06.42; Matt McAuliffe (Sara), 1:07.75.
400 free relay — Shenendehowa (Taylor Nichols, Shayne Buckley, Troy Nichols, Jacob Johnson), 3:13.75, AAC, pool record; Ballston Spa, 3:20.45, NYS; Bethlehem, 3:20.83, NYS; Shaker, 3:25.70; Niskayuna, 3:25.80; Guilderland/Voorheesville, 3:27.60.
SMALL SCHOOL DIVISION
Queensbury 304, Albany Academy 278, Amsterdam 221, Canajoharie/Fort Plain 196, Gloversville 187, CBA 183, Fonda/Johnstown 177, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 175, Glens Falls 102, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 94, Taconic Hills 78, Hudson Falls 48, New Lebanon/Berlin 27, LaSalle 24.
200 medley relay — Amsterdam (Lucas Santiago, Connor Kline, Antonio Lanzi, Ian Thane), 1:45.42. 200 free — Mark Hanifin (CFP), 1:45.86, NYS; Nick Keenan (Q), 1:45.95, NYS. 200 IM — Andrew Guinther (Q), 1:56.68, NYS. 50 free — Matt Distler (GF), 21.59, NYS; Antonio Lanzi (Amst), 22.40, NYS. 100 fly — Nick Keenan (Q), 54.39, NYS. 100 free — Matt Distler (GF), 47.49, NYS; Mark Hanifin (CFP), 48.35, NYS. 500 free — Antonio Lanzi (Amst), 4:46.39, NYS. 200 free relay — Queensbury (Andrew Guinther, Bob Reeves, Ryan Thompson, Nick Keenan), 1:31.01. 100 back — Lucas Santiago (Amst), 56.26. 100 breast — Andrew Guinther (Q), 57.75, AAA. 400 free relay — Queensbury (Nick Keenan, Bob Reeves, Ryan Thompson, Andrew Guinther), 3:21.57