It was the most important and critical stretch of the regular season for the Liverpool boys swim team, scheduled to have three meets in as span of five days, the last of them a showdown with Frontier League power Watertown.
Only two of the meets took place – but that included Watertown, and though the Cyclones had plenty of individual successes, the Warriors, with the deeper roster, prevailed 99-81.
Right away, it was exciting. The 200-yard medley relay saw Liverpool’s quartet of Griffin Merkling, Brandon Nguyen, Kyle Richardson and Curtis Merrick go one minute, 41.70 seconds to edge Watertown’s 1:42.07.
After that, the Warriors didn’t win another individual race until Merkling took the 500 freestyle in 5:01.77. In the 100 backstroke, Richardson, in 59.26 seconds, edged Jack Andrejko (59.74) for a 1-2 Liverpool finish as Uriy Grabovyy won diving with 203.33 points.
Merrick, Nguyen, Merkling and Julien Brownlow roared to first place in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:30.94, Brownlow having already finished second in both the 50 freestyle (22.58 seconds) and 100 freestyle (50.05 seconds), each time with Watertown’s Simon Stratton getting the title.
Nguyen, in 1:05.21, was just behind Watertown’s Andrew Victoria (1:05.07) in the 100 breaststroke and took second in the 200 individual medley in 2:09.22, where Andrejko was third.
Merkling went 1:50.24 in the 200 freestyle, just behind Cyclones star Caleb Way (1:49.40) as Richardson got second place in the 100 butterfly in 58.03 seconds. Way also helped Watertown’s 400 freestyle relay qualify for the state meet with a time of 3:18.51.
Back on Tuesday night, Liverpool hosted Fulton, where the Warriors were in control throughout a 98-85 victory over the Red Raiders that moved the team’s record to 8-0.
Merkling won twice, going 1:54.57 in the 200 freestyle before heading to the 500 freestyle and taking that race in 5:11.19, all after helping Nguyen, Richardson and Evan Kline go 1:48.13 in the 200 medley relay.
Nguyen, in 51.33 seconds, beat out Kline (54.30) in the 100 freestyle, and was second in the 100 breaststroke as Richardson took first place in the 100 butterfly in 1:00.41.
Brownlow, in 23.01 seconds, edged Merrick (23.38) in the 50 freestyle, and both would later swim in the 200 freestyle relay, joining Nguyen and Richardson to post 1:33.79.
Andrejko, second in the 200 IM in 2:20.53, would post the fastest time of 1:01.09 in the 100 backstroke. Grabovyy earned 194.15 points on the diving board. Brownlow, Josh Foley, Brodie Powers and Will Allen swam the 400 freestyle relay in 3:39.57.
What was supposed to be another big meet on Thursday night got curtailed when weather closed school and postponed Liverpool’s showdown with West Genesee until Feb. 5.
Cicero-North Syracuse started its week last Tuesday by going to Mexico and taking a 105-80 defeat to the Tigers.
The Northstars did go 1-2 in the 50 freestyle, with Logan Petralia prevailing in 24.09 seconds and Seaver Schultz second in 24.25 seconds. Two races later, John Harbaugh prevailed in the 100 butterfly in 1:05.22.
Working together, Harbaugh, Petralia, Schultz and Bruce Hepel won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:39.04 as Dillon Johnson claimed the 100 backstroke in 1:06.80 and Adam Rein went 1:13.78 to win the 100 breaststroke.
To lead Mexico, Jason Porter was first in the 200 and 500 freestyle, with Dylan Long going 2:13.84 in the 200 IM and then winning the 100 freestyle in 52.50 seconds to Petralia’s 54.78.
Against the Syracuse City team last Friday at Nottingham High School, C-NS put together a 97-82 victory, helped by two wins apiece from Petralia and Harbaugh.
Having swam the 200 IM in 2:25.57, Harbaugh would win the 100 butterfly in 1:05.61 over Joe Gucciardi (1:10.82), just before Petralia claimed the 100 freestyle in 53.64 seconds as Schultz posted 55.83 seconds.
Petralia was first in the 50 freestyle in 23.57 seconds as Rein won the 100 breaststroke in 1:13.07. Bagozzi was second in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle, with Johnson second in the 100 backstroke. Johnson and Schultz joined Petralia and Rein to swim the 200 medley relay in 1:52.68.
Following C-NS’s meet with New Hartford and Liverpool’s own meet with Syracuse, both teams go to Nottingham on Friday and Saturday for the Salt City Athletic Conference championships.