NEW HAVEN — It’s going to be hopping in the Elm City on Thursday night.
Just as Sheehan and the Lyman Hall Co-op face-off in the CIAC Division III ice hockey final at Ingalls Rink at 7 p.m., a 17-strong local swimming contingent will be a few blocks away competing in the State Open at Kiputh Pool
Cheshire senior Joe Cannata, the Class L champion in the 200-yard individual medley, leads the way. He’s qualified in that event as well as in the 100 breaststroke, where he was Class L runner-up.
Two other locals have qualified individually for the Open in two events: Cheshire junior Sam Hanke (100 backstroke, 200 freestyle) and Sheehan sophomore Joey Zellner (100 breaststroke, 100 freestyle).
Both earned silvers in the divisional meets — Hanke in the Class L backstroke and Zellner in the Class S breaststroke. They both finished fourth in their freestyle events.
As members of two qualifying relays to boot, Hanke and Zellner will — like Cannata — be competing in four total events at the Open.
Southington’s Tyler Heidgerd and Cheshire’s Andrew Lou, both juniors, also qualified individually in the 100 freestyle and as part of a relay.
The rest of the local qualifiers populate relay teams. There are six of those in contention, including all three from Cheshire.
One State Open event is already in the books. That’s diving, which was contested Tuesday night at Bulkeley.
Sheehan senior Andrew Buehler truly shone there. While Kevin Bradley of McMahon-Norwalk defended his State Open title, he got a major battle from Buehler, who bounced back in a big way after a disappointing night at the Class S championship.
Bradley scored a 512.95 on Tuesday. Buehler compiled a 511.90. Nobody else was within 60 points.
It was the highest State Open finish ever for Buehler, who made it to the event in each of his four years at Sheehan. Buehler capped his high school diving career with three state divisional crowns and two SCC conference championships. He holds both Sheehan records — 6-dive (308.75) and 11-dive (558.10).
Buehler’s career is not over. He’ll swim at the State Open on Thursday with Sheehan’s 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays.
Meanwhile, Chase Galayda, Southington’s record-holding diver, capped his career Tuesday night with a score of 383.65. That placed Galayda No. 18. His teammate, E.J. Suski, this year’s CCC West runner-up, was 21st at 363.60.
Here’s a further look at the locals who will be competing tonight at Kiputh Pool.
■Cheshire: The Rams qualfied all three relays and three individuals after placing third as a team in the Class L meet.
Joe Cannata’s divisional championship in the 200 IM has earned him only a No. 6 seed at the Open. He’s No. 5 in the breaststroke.
The highest area seed belongs to Sam Hanke. The junior is No. 3 in the backstroke.
What’s more, Hanke’s second-place Class L time of 51.80 broke the school record of 52.70 he had swum in winning the SCC backstroke title.
Hanke was also SCC champ in the 200 freestyle. He’s made it to the Open in that event after a fourth-place finish in Class L.
In the relays, Cannata and Hanke will combine on the 200 medley and 200 free with Andrew Lou. The trio teams with senior Ankit Sahasrabudhe in the medley and freshman Shane Wynne in the 200 free.
Both relays were second in Class L. The 200 free is seeded fourth at the Open, the medley No. 6.
Cheshire’s 400 freestyle relay also made the Open grade after placing 7th in Class L.
Aside from senior leadoff Peter Levens, it’s a young group, featuring sophomore anchor Evan Levine, Wynne and fellow frosh Vincent Zhu.
■Sheehan: Next to Cheshire, Sheehan is taking the largest local contingent to New Haven.
This is no surprise. The Titans repeated as SCC Division II champs during the dual-meet season and placed fifth in Class S.
They also had a SCC champ in Joey Zellner, who won the conference crown in the 100 free. He’s qualified for the Open in that event as well as the breaststroke after his second-place finish in Class S.
FYI: Zellner’s breaststroke time of 58.55 in Class S was right on the heels of the 58.47 Cannata swam in placing second in Class L.
Zellner, in combination with Andrew Buehler and Adam DiDomenico, will also swim on Sheehan’s two qualifying relays. They’re with senior R.J. Zellner on the 200 medley and junior Adam Shoshani on the 200 free.
■Southington: Along with the divers, Galayda and Suski, Tyler Heidgerd is the man for Southington. He’ll compete individually in the 100 free and as the anchor of the 400 free relay team.■That relay won the CCC West divisional championship. It features juniors Derek Melanson and Brian Egan and freshman Landon Colby swimming ahead of Heidgerd.