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By Erin Quinn
WEBSTER, New York, February 28. THE frigid temperatures and snow squalls in Upstate New York did not stop some blistering times and record-breaking swims at the 2014 New York State Boys' Swimming and Diving Championships held at the Webster Aquatic Center (February 28th and March 1st.)
The 200 Medley Relays set the tone for the meet with Ithaca throwing down a meet record in a time of 1:33.84 (Faadhil Moheed 25.22 50BK, Noah Frost Clapp 26.58 50Bst, Ryan Nicholson with a blazing 21.13 for the 50 Fly split and Francis Schickel a 20.91, 50 FR.) The old record, set by Pine Bush was a 1:34.26 set in 2010. The depth of the meet was reflected in this opening event with six out of the top 8 relay teams all hitting 1:35 or better. The 2nd seeded team for the medley relay is Hauppauge HS of Long Island, with a 1:34.52.
Defending NYS Federation (which includes private and Catholic Schools) Record holder Jack Boyd cruised into the top spot in prelims with a 1:39.41. The senior from Canisus, who will be joining a hot Harvard freshman swim recruit posse next year, will take a shot at lowering his own record from 2013, 1:36.19 at finals tomorrow. Not far behind him in prelims was Richard Mannix, a senior from Fordham Prep with a prelim time of 1:40.26 and Nick Burdo, a Sophmore who dropped almost 5 seconds for the third place seed at 1:40.39.
Justin Plaschka, a senior from Hauppauge, who has signed to swim for the Notre Dame next year, secured top seed in the 200 Individual Medley with a time of 1:50.15, a second slower than his seed time, but that did not slow this young man down from building an intense momentum throughout the rest of prelims. Shortly after he swam a 44:12 in the 100 Freestyle, crushing the meet record held by Jack Wagner from 2009 (44.66) securing him with another prelim top finish.
Ryan Gordon, a Senior from Shenendehowa, who has committed to swim for the Hoosiers was not far behind Plaschka in the 200IM with a time of 1:51.20.
Duke-bound Ryan Nicholson wasted no time in prelims, and threw down another meet record in the 50 Freestyle with a 20.25, toppling the 2011 meet record holder, Stanley Wong's 20.33 from 2011.
With a quick turn-around, Nicholson dove in for the 100yd Butterfly and not only secured the top seed going into finals, but broke his own record from 2013 (48.30) with a scorching time of 47.74! He was followed by Junior David Stewart of New Rochelle with an Automatic All American time of 49.36 and third seed, Hudson Carroll of New Paltz with a 50.19.
Patrick Ramsford, a Senior from Pittsford, just missed the meet record of 4:24.06 set by Ryan Feeley in 2009 with a 4:24.68 to place him as the number one seed going into tomorrow's 500 yard freestyle final. Jack Boyd, appeared to shut it down the last one hundred and sailed in with a 4:29.19.
Plaschka answered Nicholson's meet record, and within less than a half hour set a new one as the lead-off for Hauppauge, with a stunning 20.08 in the 200 freestyle relay! That Herculean effort was not enough to place Hauppauge first going into finals as they fell to 2nd seed to Fordham Prep's record-breaking relay--1:24.44 (Patrick Conaton 21.14, Michael Verini, 21.01 Oliver Patrouch 21.16 and anchor Richard Mannix, 21.13.) The former record was held by Clarence with a 1:24.54 in 2010.
As if the preliminaries of the meet could not be fast enough, Patrick Conaton, a senior from Fordham Prep, who has signed with the Stanford Cardinals, cranked out a 48.57 in the 100 Backstroke prelims, smashing the record held for six years by Ricky Henahan (48.90 in 2008.) In a battle for the 2nd and 3d top seeds going into finals was again Ryan Gordon with a 50.00 and Hudson Carroll with a 50.32.
Ben Cono a Senior from Smithtown, who has signed with NC State, wasted no time getting his name in the record books with a lifetime best of 55.01, a new meet record by 1.2 seconds and an awe-inspiring prelim swim.
As if enough records hadn't been broken, and no, they did not bring the synthetic body-suits back, Fordham Prep broke their own 4x100 Free Relay NYS Fed Record of 3:05.60 in 2013 with a prelim swim of 3:04.88 (Patrick Conaton 45.91, Oliver Patrouch 46.51, Declan Kennon 46.67 and anchor once again, Richard Mannix with a 45.79.)
And this was only prelims folks, with eight out of 11 races posting record-times. Expect some duels-in-pool tomorrow, particularly in the 200 Medley Relay with Ithaca and Hauppauge, the 200IM with Plaschka and Gordon, the 100BK with Conaton, Gordon and Carroll and the 100bst with Cono and Junior Gunther Cassell (with a 55.91!)
It may be below freezing, lake advisory weather warnings, snow storms and wind that could rip barns apart, but New York swimmers are hardy boys and they're swimming with fire in the belly!