WALLINGFORD —Sheehan defended its SCC Division II boys swimming crown with a 102-84 rivarly win over Lyman Hall/Coginchaug at a packed Sheehan pool on Tuesday night.
The victory was the sixth in a row for the Titans (7-5, 6-0 SCC D-II) and it led to head coach Keith Cargan and assistant Dan Wostbrock taking the celebratory post-meet dip.
“It was an amazing win coming off of two emotional back-to-back wins over Branford and North Haven,” Cargan said. “We knew our toughest meets (in SCC Division II) were the last three meets.
“Lyman Hall had a great season and we knew we had to be careful this meet. We knew we had to work hard to beat Lyman Hall and put the cherry on top of the season, and we did.”
Adam DiDomenico and Joey Zellner were double-winners for the Titans and Andrew Buehler had another record-breaking night off the diving board.
The meet started with the rivals rotating wins heading into diving.
The Sheehan quartet of DiDomenico, Zellner, Aaron Gamble and Buehler began the meet with a first-place finish in the 200 medley relay in 1:50 flat.
A tight 200 freestyle followed, with Lyman Hall’s Josh Ramirez out-touching R.J. Zellner with a time of 2:05.35. Ramirez led throughout, but had to out-kick a constant charge by Zellner (2:05.57).
Ramirez was a double-winner for the LH Co-op (3-8, 3-3 SCC D-II).
“Just like last year, the 200 was very close,” Ramirez said. “The rivarly hyped me up for that race. For that last 50, I blew out my legs so I could win.”
DiDomenico, a junior, went from starting off Sheehan’s 200 medley relay win with a victory in the 200 IM. He won by a wide margin in 2:19.13.
LH Co-op senior co-captain Colin Kelly touched the wall first in the 50 freestyle in 23.97. That cut Sheehan’s advantage to 33-29 heading into diving.
There, Buehler collected first with another record-breaking performance. The senior is a three-time defending class champion and owns all the diving records at Sheehan.
Buehler set the new six-dive mark of 308.75 on Tuesday with scores of 8, 8.5 and 9 on his fifth dive, generating a loud response from the crowd. On his final dive, Buehler carded a 7.5, 8.5 and 8.5.
“My first dive was a little shaky,” Buehler said. “I didn’t think breaking a record was in the picture any more, but I pulled out the rest of the dives pretty well. I got my confidence up after that. I channeled my anger into my last five dives. I had a couple of 9’s. It was amazing. I’m very happy with tonight.”
Buehler finished his Sheehan career unbeaten in dual meets.
“Andrew was nervous tonight,” Cargan said. “He wanted to beat his old record and he kind of crashed that first dive. I thought that was it, but not only did he pull himself back together, but his last five dives were incredible and he broke his own record.”
Out of the post-dive warmup, two of Sheehan’s big guns collected indivdual wins. Joey Zellner was tops in the 100 butterfly in 1:05.15 and in the 500 freestyle (5:30.54) two events later.
“It was a great team win and everyone did their part,” Joey Zellner said. “My two wins weren’t my best swims, but I competed. Everyone stepped up and did their jobs.”
In between Joey Zellner’s wins, DiDomenico earned his second individual win of the night by taking the 100 free in 52.06.
“This was a pretty big win because the division title was on the line,” DiDomenico said. “My two individual wins were basically all adrenaline. We wanted to beat Lyman Hall. It means a lot for us to win the division, especially for the seniors.”
Sheehan won a tight 200 free relay. R.J. Zellner, Joe Stone, Adam Shoshani and Buehler swam a 1:41.94, narrowly out-touching the Co-op’s Connor Tsolis, Cam Baker, Nick Motmans and Kelly by an estimated 0.05.
The scoreboard originally ruled the Trojans had won, but that was overruled by the judges.
Ramirez followed by collecting his second individual win of the night, taking the 100 backstroke in 1:05.62.
Sheehan’s Stone was best in the 100 breaststroke in 1:11.87.
That put the Titans up 92-80 heading into the last event, the 400 freestyle relay. They needed just one point to clinch.
They got more: a first-place finish from Aaron Gamble, R.J. Zellner, DiDomenico and Joey Zellner (3:55.85).
“This was a very exciting meet and a very exciting season,” Cargan said. “We had a goal to win Division II and it took an incredible effort by our band of swimmers. They are a great team and great teammates. We ask them to do X, Y and Z and they do it. This is a great group of kids to coach.”
Tuesday was Senior Night and the final dual meet for Sheehan seniors Logan Adams, Buehler, J.D. Conte, Rayna Esch, Magnolia McComish, Stone, Evan Wilkinson and R.J. Zellner.
Seniors for the Lyman Hall Co-op are Adam Focareto, Kelly, Nick Motmans and Tsolis.
“I was very happy with the way we swam them tonight,” Lyman Hall/Coginchaug coach Donna Neary said. “My kids did their job tonight and we had some wonderful times. Some of them were unexpected. I’m very happy.”