Two weeks ago, a contingent of four Rye area swimmers, one diver, two coaches, and assorted families and friends made the long drive up to Erie Community College near Buffalo for the New York State Swimming and Diving Championships.
By Mitch Silver
Two weeks ago, a contingent of four Rye area swimmers, one diver, two coaches, and assorted families and friends made the long drive up to Erie Community College near Buffalo for the New York State Swimming and Diving Championships. By the close of the weekend, the nautical quintet had put Rye swimming on the map, finishing 8th among all the State’s public schools, large and small.
“What a weekend!” Coach Lara Vivolo said afterwards. “It was a fantastic meet. The boys swam fast in trials. Then they dug down deep, swam with heart, and dropped more time.”
Every swimmer on the team — a combined Rye/Rye Neck/Blind Brook squad — posted a faster time in the finals than the prelims. Garnet senior Liam Egan went above and beyond: after swimming a 21.73 personal best to win the Section 1 50-yard freestyle a month ago, Egan hurried to a 21.39 clocking in the Erie pool trials, and bettered that in the final. His 21.28 placed him 4th in the State and 6th overall.
What’s “overall?” The championships are really two concurrent swim meets, one a State meet for all non-New York City public schools, and a Federation meet that includes the city, private, and parochial high schools as well. In all, 69 schools of every description competed over the weekend.
Egan also dropped time his time in the 100 Butterfly, going 50.53 in Friday’s trials. He dropped that to 50.46 in the final, taking the State silver medal.
Fellow Garnet Christian Huber swam a 47.50 100 Free final for a top-10 Federation placement. His time was three-quarters of a second faster than his time at Sectionals.
Rye High’s Thomas Mackey and Blind Brook’s Ryan Bedell also had strong individual swims. Mackey turned in a 1:00.78 in the 100 Breaststroke after posting a 2:01.59 in the 200 IM. Bedell, a junior, went 4:49.49 in his specialty, the 500 Free, more than three seconds faster than his time at the Section 1 meet.
And Michael Ackert placed 22nd in the 1-Meter Dive. As a sophomore, he’ll get two more cracks at standing on the podium at a State meet.
Finally, the four swimmers came together to compete in the relays. Egan, Mackey, Bedell, and Huber hit the wall in 1:29.71 in the State trials for the 200-yard Freestyle Relay, a second and a half better than the best they’d ever done. Their new record of 1:28.04 in the final placed them 13th in the State.
The 400 Free Relay was a better proposition for Rye. While Egan and Huber are sprinters who love to leave it all in the pool in a 50-yard leg, Mackey and Bedell like a little more time in the water. With each boy going 100 yards, the locals swam a collective 3:13.95 in Friday’s trials, and then went a second and a half faster in the final, placing 5th in the State and 9th overall (behind Fordham Prep’s new Federation record). In fact, Egan’s 46.45 leadoff leg would have been a top-6 finish in the individual 100 Freestyle Federation finals, had he elected to enter that event.
Coach Vivolo is seldom at a loss for words. But after all the swimming and diving was done, she could only come up with two to describe the team’s season: “Absolutely outstanding!”