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Girls swim Lakers win fifth straight sectional title

Skaneateles prevails in front of home fans, sets records

— From a strong start to a stronger, record-setting finish, the Skaneateles girls swim team made sure that no one caught them as it earned a fifth consecutive Section III Class C championship in front of a boisterous home crowd at the Community Center pool Friday night.

The Lakers' domination of this meet, dating back to 2009, was made even sweeter by the move of the event from its long-time home at Nottingham High School due to structural issues at that venue.

So swimming in very familiar and comfortable waters, Skaneateles picked up 343 points, enough to hold off runner-up Holland Patent, who had 324 points, and nine other teams that gathered for this meet.

All night long, the Lakers used its considerable depth, and the experience gained from a tough OHSL schedule, to pull ahead of the Golden Knights despite the work of HP's Molly McCulloch, who set sectional Class C marks in winning the 50 freestyle (24.73 seconds) and 100 butterfly (59.58 seconds) and was the meet's Most Outstanding Swimmer.

And to make sure it won, Skaneateles went out and, in the 400 freestyle relay, offered a fitting conclusion. Haley Buchholz, Leah King, Halle King and Rachel Teixeria worked together and overcame an early deficit to finish in three minutes, 53.79 seconds, breaking another sectional mark and also setting a school record.

Already, Teixeria had contributed in a big way, winning the 200 freestyle in a time of 2:02.58, part of a 1-2 finish as teammate Maggie Angotti was second in 2:08.59. Then, in the 500 freestyle, Teixeria grabbed another victory in 5:27.53, nearly eight seconds ahead of Cooperstown's Eden Griger (5:35.38).

Buchholz finished second in the 200 individual medley in 2:27.39, while Claire Rejman gained third place in 2:33.66, giving the Lakers a big point total that added to the team lead.

Then both of them added second-place efforts later in the meet as Buchholz, in 1:07.50, finished just behind Cooperstown's Tessa Griger (1:07.45) in the 100 backstroke, while Rejman swam the 100 breaststroke in 1:14.66, a close second to Sherburne-Earlville's Elizabeth Bachman (1:14.09).

Leah King contributed a second-place finish in the 100 butterfly in 1:05.31 behind McCulloch, this after pairing with Buchholz, Taylor Hill and Kasia Rybczyk to get third place in the 200 medley relay (2:05.97) that opened the meet.

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