To the seniors on the Weston High boys swim team, the state Class S championship was more than just a chance to win a title. It was a chance for redemption of sorts.
For the past two years the Trojans finished as runners-up to Sacred Heart in the meet. This time they would have the last word.
Amassing 698 points, the Trojans dethroned their opponent (which was runner-up with 538) and captured their first Class S championship since 2010 on Wednesday, March 12, at Wesleyan University in Middletown.
Depth played a big part in Weston’s win. A strong performance at the preliminary trials the previous Saturday qualified 15 swimmers in 26 events for the final heats.
“We had a minimum of three swimmers in every event,” said Weston head coach Tom Grace, who along with assistant Nancy Darling won their third state title at Weston. “That kind of depth gave us a lot of opportunity to score.”
The Trojans won several gold medals. Their first came in a victory in the 200 medley relay at the start of the meet. Adam Winikoff, Clayton Morikawa, Jordan Berger and Hugo Sykes combined to finish in one minute, 40.52 seconds, beating their seed time by more than a second.
Senior captain Gabe Imber was one of a number of Weston swimmers to score in several events. He was fourth in the 200 free in 1:49. 05, an improvement of more than two seconds over his seed time.
Three other Weston swimmers scored in the event. Asher Greenberg was 14th in 1:57.49. David Fleming was 19th in 2:00.09 and Garrick Tsui was right behind him with a 2:00.68.
It was a big day for Berger, who won two individual gold medals. The defending champ and Class S record holder in the 200 individual medley, he won it in 1:56.94, beating runner-up Connor Newton of Sacred Heat by 0.20 second.
“We knew we had the potential to win by a lot,” said Berger, a senior. “Our coach didn’t want us to just swim well, he wanted us to dominate. I guess we followed through.”
Morikawa posted a 2:08.30 in the event, good for ninth. Also scoring was Dan Solinski, who was 11th in 2:13.17.
Weston had quite a few representatives in the 50 free. Hugo Sykes had its best performance with a third-place time of 21.95. Winikoff was 10th in 23.36.
Senior captain Marty Imber was 21st in 24.30, two places ahead of Ian McLoughlin, who had a 24.58.
The Trojans’ first points (88 total) actually came a day earlier at the diving finals in East Lyme. There they earned a bronze medal with Misha Moffly scoring a 393.05.
Right behind him was senior captain Dean Rapp with 307.40. Two other divers also scored as Lucas Billig was eighth with 240.95 and Toby Gerroll was 11th with 230.10.
“Dive coach Jeanine Oburchay has been a huge help for us in developing our technique,” said Rapp.
Solinsky led the way for Weston in the 100 butterfly with a ninth-place time of 58.88. Marty Imber also broke the one-minute mark in 59.75 and was 10th. A 1:00.72 got David Fleming 12th.
Getting his second medal, Sykes took the silver the 100 free with a 48.54. A 50.41 got Eli Carter 10th and Winikoff was 13th in 51.85.
Gabe Imber, who was fourth in the 500 free last year, moved up a place to take third in 4:59.39. Jackson Marvin was 11th in 5:25.21 and McLoughlin was 19th in 5:41.93.
Another bronze medal came in the 200 free relay. Marty Imber, Gabe Imber, Carter and Berger combined for a 1:32.59.
Greenberg was sixth in the 100 backstroke in 1:00.41. Next was Lydia Syles with a 1:03.04, good for 14th. Two places later was Vincent Walters in 1:06.58.
Having won the 100 breaststroke the past two years Berger was determined to defend his title. A 59.09 was not his personal best but was the only one in under a minute and good enough for the win. Also scoring was Morikawa in fourth with a 1:02.49 and Carter was seventh in 1:05.10.
By the time the final event arrived the Trojans had already secured the win in the meet. Such did not stop them from contending for the top spot here as Carter, Winikoff, Gabe Imber and Sykes combined for second in 3:20.24.
“The Weston team really pulled together all season to position us well for the state championship finals,” said Marty Imber. “We’ve been really motivated to work hard and had fun all year.
“It’s been a great ride!” said his twin brother Gabe.
For a few swimmers the season continued at the State Open. With 77 points, the Trojans were 23rd out of a field of 37.
Many of Weston’s points came in the 200 MR as Winikoff, Morikawa, Berger and Hugo Sykes swam a 1:41.23, good for 13th. The same spot went to Berger in the 200 IM with a 1:57.69.
A 22.29 got Hugo Sykes 18th in the 50 free and Moffly was 18th in the diving event with a 317.20. The former just managed to score in the 100 free with a 50.39 to take 24th.
Berger had his team’s highest finish in the 100 breaststroke with a 59.52, good for sixth. Carter, Winikoff, Gabe Imber and Hugo Sykes were 24th in 3:25.50 as Weston concluded the season.