A strong finish to the regular season, plus a 9-2 overall record, put the Weston High boys swim team in good position for success at the South-West Conference finals last week.
But the Trojans were not about to rest on their record when they took to the Masuk High pool last Friday, March 1, at least not without some more strong swims.
It turned out they got quite a few, enough for 306.5 points and third place for the second straight year. Such was not the only thing Weston took home. It also received the South-West Conference Sportsmanship Award.
Pomperaug was winner with 607.5, capturing its sixth title in seven years and dethroning defending champ Brookfield, which was second with 550. After Weston, New Faifield was fourth with 277 and Newtown was fifth with 216.5
“Third place was pretty fantastic,” said senior Jordan Berger, who captured two individual medals and helped win two more. “Newtown and New Fairfield are both really good teams.”
Besides some good swims, the Trojans were helped by having representatives in all of the events. Their first medal came in the opening event, the 200-yard medley relay at the start of the meet. Adam Winikoff, Clayton Morikawa, Berger and Hugo Sykes combined to finish in one minute, 42.54 seconds, good for third and a bronze medal.
Weston had several representatives in the 200 free, two of which would score. Gabe Imber had their fastest time with a 1:55.23, good for ninth.
It was too close to call for 17th. Garrick Tsui and Newtown’s Austin Adamcheck each finished in 17th with a 2:01.42.
Berger captured his first individual medal in the 200 individual medley. For the second straight year he was third, this time in 1:58.88, an improvement of more than a second since last year’s league finals. Also scoring in the event, Dan Solinsky was 17th in 2:19.30.
It was a fast field in the 50 free with six swimmers finishing in less than 23 seconds. One was Weston’s Hugo Sykes, who was fourth in 22.23.
Weston’s first championship points actually came two days earlier at the diving finals. There, it captured two of the top three places.
Misha Moffly was the winner with a score o 393.05, less than three points ahead of New Fairfield’s Kristen Sheehan. Weston captain Dean Rapp won the bronze medal with a 376.65, beating Pomperaug’s Samantha Bean by 0.35 points. Points also came from Weston’s Lucas Billig, who was 12th with a 285.65.
Three Trojans swimmers posted times in succession in the 100 butterfly. Solinsky led the way in 1:00.33 to take 12th. Morikawa was right behind him with a 1:00.66 and David Fleming was 14th in 1:01.39.
Sykes earned the bronze medal for Weston in the 100 freestyle, coming in with a 49.52. Eli Carter was 10th in 52.01 and Winikoff was 18th in 53.39.
Gabe Imber went the distance for Weston in the 500 free, taking ninth in 5:13.99. He swam the anchor leg of the 200 free relay, which also included Winikoff, Solinsky and Ian McLoughlin and was sixth in 1:39.98.
A time of 1:03.21 got Asher Greenberg 14th in the 100 backstroke. Taking 17th was Marty Imber in 1:04.14.
A year ago Berger took first in the 100 breaststroke. He successfully defended his title last Friday, this time in 1:00.51, beating Newtown’s Nick Laflky by little more than half a second.
“I’ve been working especially hard this year,” said Berger, who hopes to improve his time by a few seconds at the state Class S meet and qualify for All-American consideration. “I was pretty pleased.”
He was back in the water for the final event, swimming the anchor leg of the 400 free relay, which also included Gabe Imber, Sykes and Marty Imber. Together, they finished fourth in 3:29.73.
Weston will take part in the Class S trials on Saturday with the finals the following Tuesday. For the past five two seasons they were runners-up behind Sacred Heart.
“We really want to take the top spot,” said Berger. “It’ll be a close meet.”