In the longest races, West Genesee boys swimming standout Collin Zapisek made the most notable impressions during Thursday night’s Section III Class A championship meet at Rome Free Academy.
Claiming both the 200 and 500-yard freestyle events, Zapisek posted the fastest times of the season in Central New York in both contests and will be a force during the March 1-2 state championships at Webster Schroeder High School near Rochester.
Years of having the event at Nottingham High School’s Max Newman Pool changed when Section III officials, concerned with injuries caused by loose bulkheads in the girls sectional meet last fall, moved the boys championships to various venues - Class A and B to RFA, Class C to New Hartford - and the overall championships to Hamilton College.
Zapisek earned his first victory in the 200 freestyle, blazing to a time of one minute, 43.87 seconds, and needing that sort of time to hold off CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt star Cole Speidel, who was second in 1:44.98.
Then, in the 500 freestyle, he got away and, in 4:46.33, beat another CBA/J-D swimmer, Cory Knapp (4:56.67), by more than 10 seconds, again with a time fast enough to advance to the state meet.
All of this was part of an effort where the Wildcats picked up 249.50 points to finish third in a 12-team Class A sectional field. Liverpool, who won seven of 11 events, prevailed with 428 points as Watertown (293.5 points) got the runner-up spot.
Jake Mullett had strong efforts in two races, as he finished third in the 200 individual medley in 2:02.48, where Watertown’s Mike Netto prevailed (1:59.78), and later got another third-place showing in the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.22 as Liverpool’s Garrett Clarke (56.91 seconds) got the top spot.
Team-wise, WG’s quartet of Zapisek, Mullett, Matt O’Donnell and Dave Whiting would push hard to win the 400 freestyle relay, and while they finished second to Liverpool (3:15.13), the Wildcats’ time of 3:17.84 was good enough to qualify for the state meet since 3:18.87 or less was required.