Feb 11, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Whether it was the extraordinary individual talent of Westhill’s Dan O’Connor or the versatility and depth displayed by West Genesee, local swimming fans had a lot to cheer about in Thursday night’s Section III Class A championship meet at Nottingham High School.
The Wildcats, unbeaten in 20 consecutive meets over two seasons, took the team crown with 323 points, holding off Jamesville-DeWitt/CBA, who was second with 293 points. Liverpool (275.5 points) and Auburn (251 points) were close behind.
As WG built its team numbers, O’Connor, a senior going to the University of North Carolina this fall, dominated the two events he entered.
In the 200-yard freestyle, O’Connor got pushed by WG’s Ben Seketa, but still won in a time of 1:42.61 as Seketa (1:44.90) finished second and qualified for the Feb. 26-27 state meet at Erie Community College in Buffalo.
But the 500-yard freestyle turned into a rout. O’Connor tore to a time of 4:36.61, more than 16 seconds ahead of the runner-up, J-D/CBA’s Eric Jorgensen. The Wildcats’ Connor Agen finished sixth in 5:05.61.
The Wildcats had its own double winner in Pat O’Donnell, who started his big day by tearing through the 200-yard individual medley in 1:58.33, the only competitor in any class to break the two-minute mark.
Later on, in the 100-yard backstroke, O’Donnell kept on going until he hit the wall in 51.77 seconds, more than three seconds better than Skaneateles’ Reed Swartz (54.86 seconds) in second place. Brendon Marks was seventh.
Seketa, beaten by O’Connor in the 200 freestyle, returned later in a close 100-yard breaststroke and won in 59.74 points, edging past Auburn’s Lucas Zelehowsky (59.96) and the rest of the field.
Twice, WG prevailed in relays. In the 200-yard medley relay, O’Donnell, Seketa, Carson Elias and Tyler Olson put together a time of 1:36.67, nearly five seconds ahead of Fayetteville-Manlius (1:41.41). And in the 200-yard freestyle relay, that same quartet won again in 1:28.12, beating Auburn (1:30.24) by more than two seconds.
On his own, Olson landed in second place in the 100-yard freestyle in 49.27 seconds behind Oswego star Drake Becksted, who won in an impressive 46.67 seconds. Olson also qualified for the state meet in the 50-yard freestyle, taking fourth place in 22.50 seconds.
Josh Byrne finished third on the diving board, and his 402.70 points were enough to advance to the state meet.
In Saturday’s overall sectional meet, the pattern repeated itself, as West Genesee, led again by O’Donnell, got 290 points to beat the field as Mexico (243 points) got second place overall.
Named the meet’s Most Outstanding Swimmer, O’Donnell did not swim as fast in either the 200 IM (1:59.42) or 100 backstroke (51.91 seconds), but he still won both events by solid margins.
O’Donnell also helped Elias, Olson and Seketa improve in the 200 medley relay to 1:35.93 and nearly drop a second in the 200 freestyle relay to 1:27.21 to beat Auburn by nearly two seconds. Seketa again owned the 100 backstroke, posting a top time of 58.89 seconds to beat Fayetteville-Manlius’s Ryan Kelley (59.37) and the rest of the field.
As for Dan O’Connor, he had to fight off Mexico’s Mike Hartwell, plus Seketa, to win the 200 freestyle in 1:42.66, a time nearly identical to the class meet, and the same thing happened in the 500 freestyle as O’Connor won in 4:38.80.
Meanwhile, on the diving board, Byrne passed both Tim Roche (Liverpool) and Nick Brement (Rome Free Academy) to win the overall title, with 404.70 points to Brement’s 401.50 and Roche’s 390.50.
Elias was second in the 100 butterfly in 52.75 seconds and third (22.12 seconds) in the 50 freestyle, just ahead of Olson (22.17 seconds) in fourth place. Olson went to third in the 100 freestyle in 49.13 seconds. Conner Agen was fourth (5:02.63) in the 500 freestyle,