Boys swimming: Last event decides meet

Nate Varga swims the breaststroke for the Joel Barlow High boys swim team in its first meet of the season last Wednesday, Dec. 12. The meet went down to the wire before the Falcons lost their season-opener 94-91 to Bethel.—Mark Pritchard photo

A victory in the final event was not enough for the Joel Barlow High boys swim team in its season-opener.

The Falcons, who trailed by three points, needed to take the top spot and either second or third in the 400 free relay to secure the win last Wednesday, Dec. 12. While their “A” team did have enough speed for the win it was Bethel that claimed the next two spots, tipping the scales in its favor for a 94-91 win at the Western Connecticut University pool.

The Wildcats had their share of first places, including one at the start of the meet in the 200 medley relay, in which is also placed third. Second went to the Falcons’ Brendan Coppinger, Renee Varga, Kyle Guffey and Ben Rigby in two minutes, 16.79 seconds.

Having multiple finishers in the top five places also helped Bethel’s cause, as in the 200 free. Barlow did take second and third with Jeremy Touma and Marissa DiBella swimming times of 2:17.90 and 2:21.98 respectively.

The Wildcats also had a strong finish in the 200 individual medley with the win and three of the top four places. Renee Varga secured second-place points for the Falcons in 2:35.82 and Guffey was fifth in 2:52.86.

Barlow had the speed in the 50 free, which featured a one-two finish. Ed Hancock led the way in 24.63 and Ray Bortolot was right behind him in 24.79. Also scoring for Barlow, Nate Varga was fifth in 27.60.

The diving event was another victory for Barlow and a sweep of the top three spots. Matt Mintz scored a 168 and Kevin O’Donnell was second with 144.45. Gloria Davey’s 141.85 was good for third.

It was more difficult in the 100 butterfly. Barlow’s lone scorer was Guffy, who was third in 1:21.06.

Earning a few points back in the 100 free, it was first and second. Bortolot swam a 53.61 and Hancock followed in second at 55.51.

Although the Wildcats took first in the 500 free both sides scored eight points. Dan Fry had Barlow’s fastest time with a 5:42.95 for second and Renee Varga was third in 6:12.27. DiBellis was fifth in 6:33.22.

Touma, Hancock, Nate Varga and Bortolot combined to win the 20 free relay in 1:44.09. Keeping Barlow’s chances for victory in the meet alive, Coppinger was second in the 100 backstroke in 1:22.22. Touma was right behind him in 1:17.65. Sean Murray swam a 1:25.15 for fifth.

The Wildcats maintained a slim lead courtesy of first and third in the 100 breaststroke. Staying in striking distance, Aaron Hurwitz secured second-place points in 1:26.25,  0.01 second ahead of Bethel’s Noah Curtis. Paige Kirby was fourth in 1:32.42 and Nate Varga was fifth exactly six second later.

With only one event left the Falcons trailed by six points and still had a chance. Victory came a step closer as Touma, Hancock, Renee Varga and Bortolot took first in the 400 free relay but two Bethel teams followed. Its “B” team was more than a second and a half ahead of Barlow’s and the outcome was final.

Barlow hosts Oxford on Dec. 27 at 4 p.m.

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