Little did the "swim fans," otherwise know as those moms, dads, grandparents and friends who sit in those 90+ degree chlorine sauna baths to watch, know when they decided to award each swimmer who broke a personal best time with a post-practice candy bar the next day. Since then, the forty-four members of BHS Swimming & Diving have averaged almost 25 new PB's a meet, including 39 new personal records this Tuesday night versus one of the top teams in Connecticut, the Pomperaug Panthers.
"Hard work at practice is rewarded almost more in swimming than any sport," was quoted by Michael Phelps in his autobiography. Proof of that for the Wildcats as ten swimmers qualified for the post-season this Tuesday. Senior diver Alex Nackid, posted his career best 135.60 to qualify for the SWC Championships in March. Freshmen star Gavin Lee qualified for two events (200IM and 100 Fly), adding his SWC qualifying event total to six overall.
Versatile junior James Canfield added the 100 Backstroke to his fifth SWC qualifying event total with an impressive 1:10 finish. James said it has been over three years since he swam the event, but his perfect turns showed no signs of the layoff.
The Splash meet is scheduled for late February in Plainville. The meet is the state championships for girls swimming in the boys season. Against Pomperaug, five girls topped the qualifying times for this invitational meet. Led by senior captains, Molly Nichols (100 Free adds to her 4th event) and Aiden Ford (50 Free adds to her 4th event).
Helen Belato swam in the 100 Free first heat versus Pomperaug and posted a Splash qualifying 1:10. Helen had previously qualified for the 50 Free earlier this month. Cara Bernardo finished 5th in the 100 Backstroke with a 1:21 to earn her first qualifier this year.
Junior Lindsay Guercio knocked nearly two seconds off her previous best time to qualify for the 100 Free with a 1:11. Assistant coach Tate Rogers says he thinks another 5-6 girls should qualify in the next few meets.
The highlight of the Pomperaug meet was junior captain Tucker Bjornson's attempt at breaking the BHS record in the 500 yard Free. Tucker swam extremely hard but unfortunately wasn't pressed by competition enough in the early race, fell only .42 of a second short of breaking the 2007 record set by Kevin Thai. Tucker did qualify for the Class M State Championship by breaking the automatic qualifier time of 2:18.10.
Other highlights were Peter Gallagher's 5th place in the 500 Free in his first race at the length; the Pena brothers, Michael and Ricardo posting personal best times; freshman Patrick Daly finishing 5th overall in the 200 Free; diver Sydney Johnson just missed qualifying for SWC's this time, but definitely will make it soon. 400 Free relay team of freshmen Jennifer Palacios, her sister senior Yvonne Palacios, senior Alex Corbo and freshmen Liam Kuroski each swam their own personal bests in all four legs of the 100 Free.
The Wildcats are off for a little while to practice hard before their next meet on Wednesday, January 23rd versus cross-town rivals, Danbury Hatters at the WCSU pool.