DeWitt All season long, as they piled up victories and they dominated their respective leagues, the Liverpool and CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt boys swim teams looked forward to their season-ending head-to-head showdown to see which side could prove superior.
Yet when the moment finally arrived Tuesday night at J-D Middle School, it proved a letdown. True, the Warriors were happy to prevail, 106-80, but it knew full well that the Red Rams were far from 100 percent strength.
Illness - or more specifically, a flu bug - arrived at the worst possible time for CBA/J-D, sidelining two of its best swimmers, Kevin Potocki and Jack Martin, and forcing another standout, Josh Lacey, to exit the meet after one race.
Thus, the Warriors had the stage to itself, and didn't completely waste it, especially when it came to the star trio of Nick Burdo, Garrett Clarke and Dan Roche.
Burdo swam in the 200-yard freestyle. Pushed by CBA/J-D's Corey Knapp, who finished in 1:48.77, Burdo tore to victory in a time of one minute, 44.98 seconds, breaking, by two-hundredths of a second, the J-D pool record that Jamie Secor set two decades earlier.
Later in the meet, Burdo battled another CBA/J-D swimmer, Casey Sawyer, in the 100 butterfly. In 53.89 seconds, Burdo prevailed, barely ahead of Sawyer, who was second in 54.55 seconds. Also, Burdo joined Troy Miller, Dan Griffin and Matt Petit in the 200 freestyle relay, where the Warriors prevailed in 1:33.25.
Then Clarke took his turn, going 2:04.83 to win the 200 individual medley over teammate Connor Thiel (2:11.04) and also won the 100 breaststroke, cruising to a second title in 1:00.11.
As for Roche, he continued his domination on the diving board, picking up 258.7 points as part of a 1-2 Liverpool finish, with Joe Whaley grabbing second place as he earned 241.7 points.
The Warriors swept all three relays. Thiel, Dan Muldoon, Luke Rogers and Carl Tsang were victorious in the 200 medley relay in 1:43.18 and, in the closing 400 freestyle relay, Liverpool put up a time of 3:24.94, the best in Section III this winter.
Elsewhere, Rogers finished second (1:04.37) to CBA/J-D's Nick Street (59.76 seconds) in the 100 backstroke, while Petit swam the 100 freestyle in 51.16 seconds, trailing Knapp, who won in 49.66 seconds. Liam Henry got through the 50 freestyle in 23.49 seconds, but Sawyer (23.05 seconds) won, forcing Henry to settle for a runner-up spot.