In one of the most exciting meets in BHS Swimming & Diving history, the Wildcats fought back to secure their fifth victory of the season with a Senior Night win over Platt/Maloney. Finishing their regular season at 5 wins and 7 losses, the team honored their seniors with an incredible 94-89 comeback win and a party following the meet. Pre-meet predictions on how close this meet would be were understated as every race was so close and the outcome changing in the balance.
The 200 Medley relay showed the strength of the Meriden co-op team, who have two of the best swimmers in the state in Tyler Prescott and Maciej Skrzypczak, as they took an early 10-4 lead. Bethel's own state qualifier took a huge win over Skrzypczak in the 200 Free to edge close at 17-13 in favor of Platt/Maloney. In the third event, Prescott posted an awesome 2:05 in the 200 Individual Medley while Bethel's star freshman Gavin Lee took second.
Bethel junior James Canfield stepped up huge in this meet took the 50 Free followed closely by teammates David Hayes and Kevin Michalka. The meet was tied 31-31 going into the diving break. Sophomore Sydney Johnson and senior Alex Nackid took second and third in diving, handing the Wildcats their first lead 38-37.
The Wildcats came out of the half-time warm up swim all fired up with the trio of senior Patrick McCourt and freshmen Noah Curtis and Anthony Rodriguez taking second, third and fourth in the 100 Fly, while Canfield won his second race of the day in the 100 Free with an impressive 56.43.Hayes and Michalka also finished well under a minute and the Wildcats took a commanding 570-50 lead.
Tyler Prescott returned to the pool and dominated with an easy 4:58 in the 500 Free, again with Bethel's Gavin Lee taking an all important second place. Senior captain Kenny Darrah displayed his true competitive heart with a see-saw battle taking third and one of the most important races of the evening.
Platt/Maloney wasn't going down easy as the would eat away at the lead, taking the 200 Free Relay, 100 Back and 100 Breast. In a meet where every point is crucial, senior captains Aiden Ford (100 Back) and Molly Nichols (100 Breast) took huge hard fought fifth places. For four years, these two girls have earned varsity letters competing against the boys and have always swam their best in the clutch.
Going into the final event, Platt/Maloney held an 85-84 lead and it was winner take all in the 400 Medley Relay. Bethel lined up Canfield, Michalka, Darrah and Bjornson versus Meriden's four swimmers, but absent Prescott who already swam his fourth event in the 200 Free Relay. Canfield gave a full second lead in the first leg, but Platt/Maloney's top 100 Free Eric Leining fought back against Bethel's Michalka and it was tied again. The third leg saw Darrah lining up against Skrzypczak in a huge match up, but Darrah crushed his opponent and handed Bethel a solid 4 second cushion. Tucker Bjornson hit the water flying, swimming a 52 anchor leg, a solid 4 seconds faster than anyone in the pool and Bethel took the 400 Free Relay by almost 8 seconds and a season fastest time. Feeling the excitement on the pool deck, the Bethel B team swam equally an impressive race with McCourt, Curtis, freshman Patrick Daly and Lee taking third place and handing the Wildcats an exciting comeback 94-89 win.
Following the handshakes with the Platt/Maloney swimmers and coaches, the Wildcats celebrated their hard fought 5th win of the season with an almost Senior Night regular of throwing their coaches in the pool and all jumping in to celebrate. Five wins in a season is a huge event for BHS, who earned two wins last year and four wins over the last four years combined.
The party then followed back to Bethel High for a pizza party and recognition of the ten seniors. This is a busy week as the team prepares for the SWC Championship this Friday and tomorrow's blog will highlight this weekend's Splash Championship in Plainville and a final season review.