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O'Connor, WG swimmers rule at sectional meet

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.

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