By Bob Rogers
The Bethel swim team topped Danbury 95-86 this Tuesday on Senior Night at the WCSU pool. Seven seniors swam their final home meet and were honored with flowers, gifts from teammates and words of appreciation from Coach Katie McGowan during the half-meet break. Seniors enjoying their second victory of the season are first year swimmer Juan Ayala (4th place 100 Fly); three year veterans Davidson Abiali (5th place 100 Breast), Captain Kevin Gallagher (ill) and Johnny Esposito (2nd place 100 breast); and four year team members Caitlin Pirro (swam all three relays), Chris Wong (3rd place 100 Fly) and Captain Katie Bozzuti (2nd place 500 Free, 3rd Place 200 Free).
The Bethel coaching staff seems to thrive with extra pressure, as both their wins this year came with a little more excitement. The win over Platt/Maloney had their bus getting lost and Tuesday’s win had them dealing with one locker room. Fair enough for some teams, but with over 70 swimmers split almost 40-30 boys and girls, it was a major achievement for both pre-meet changing, and all through the two hour meet to accommodate both sets of swimmers. Huge thanks to the coaches and parents who helped make this possible during a very busy night at the O’Neil Center at WCSU.
In the pool, the meet was even more exciting between the two local rivals. Tied 31-31 after the 50 Free, BHS took a large lead with their three divers, Julia Morton, Alex Nackid and Sydney Johnson placing 1-2-3. Danbury would cut the lead down to 58-49 with strong performances in the 100 Fly (Hatters’ Rares Barbu 1st place with 1:06.5 and teammate Jay Brittain close behind for 2nd place) and 100 Free (Matt Murphy 59.53). Once again, the 500 Free trio of Sarah Whalen, Bozzuti and Molly Nichols would break the meet open, making it 71-52 by placing 1-2-3. The Wildcats would stretch the lead to 87-66 after their strongest event, 100 Back, with Tucker Bjornson, Olivia Wootton and Aiden Ford taking top places.
The second win of the season for Bethel is their first multiple win season since 2007. Bethel’s next meet is 4:00pm on Valentine’s Day at the Weston Middle School pool against the Trojans.
Bethel’s Top Finishers:
200 Medley Relay: 2nd – Tucker Bjornson, Johnny Esposito, Chris Wong, Kenny Darrah
200 Free: 1st Olivia Wootton, 2nd Sarah Whalen, 3rd Katie Bozzuti
200 IM: 1st Bjornson, 4th James Canfield, 5th Aiden Ford
50 Free: 2nd Darrah, 5th Wong
Diving: 1st Julia Morton, 2nd Alex Nackid, 3rd Sydney Johnson
100 Fly: 3rd Wong, 4th Juan Ayala, 5th Cara Bernardo
100 Free: 2nd Darrah, 3rd Canfield, 5th Kevin Michalka
500 Free: 1st Whalen, 2nd Bozzuti, 3rd Molly Nichols
200 Free Relay: 2nd Esposito, Wong, Wootton, Canfield
100 back: 1st Bjornson, 2nd Wootton, 4th Ford
100 Breast: 2nd Esposito, 3rd Nichols, 5th Davidson Abiali
400 Free Relay: 1st Darrah, Wootton, Canfield, Bjornson; 3rd Bozzuti, Ford, Whalen, Helen Belato
Photos are last year photos from the Patch: