Last weekend, 24 teams competed for glory at the Section 1 Boys’ Swim Finals held at the Felix Festa Middle School in West Nyack.
By Mitch Silver
Last weekend, 24 teams competed for glory at the Section 1 Boys’ Swim Finals held at the Felix Festa Middle School in West Nyack. The Rye/Blind Brook/Rye Neck team took fourth place overall with 195 points, only seven behind North Rockland.
In the finals, the four Rye swimmers who made it through the prelims — along with diver Michael Ackert — accounted for more team points than Clarkstown, New Rochelle, Fox Lane, and John Jay, teams with as many as 20 swimmers.
Even better, five of Coach Lara Vivolo’s stalwarts are headed to the State Swimming & Diving Championships to be held March 4 and 5 at Erie Community College in Buffalo.
Coach Vivolo was ecstatic. “It was a spectacular competition, and the boys raced and dove with passion, focus, and determination. Tara (Assistant Coach Tara Chillemi) and I kept looking at each other on deck thinking, ‘Is this really happening?!’ We couldn’t be prouder of the boys.”
In the Diving competition Friday, sophomore Ackert needed more than 460 points to qualify for States. His 5th-place finish with a total of 477.40 made it with room to spare.
In the 50-yard freestyle, senior Liam Egan won with a personal best of 21.73. Teammate Christian Huber, a junior transfer student from Germany, was an eyelash behind 21.76 — both will be sprinting at States.
The two Garnets qualified separately in other events. Egan took home his second gold of the night in the 100 Butterfly. First to the wall at 50 yards, he came home in a time of 51.16. Huber, meanwhile, took silver in the 100 free, touching out Christian Thomas of Lourdes with a time of 48.25.
Blind Brook High junior Ryan Bedell, who’d previously gone under the State qualifying time of 4:52.52 in the 500-yard freestyle, will also swim his specialty at States. He finished 11th Saturday. He also earned team points in the 100-yard breaststroke.
And senior Thomas Mackey swam two seconds better than the State qualifying time in the 200-yard IM prelims to earn his ticket to Buffalo. He also made waves in the 100-yard breaststroke, coming in third in a State-qualifier of 1:00.59.
Finally, Rye’s 200 free relay foursome of Egan, Mackey, Bedell, and Huber cracked the State standard by more than a second when they took silver in the finals behind Horace Greeley in 1.29.31.