NEW HAVEN — Silver-medal and school-record performances at the class meets have Southington senior Matt Niro and Lyman Hall junior Jerick Lagamao ranked fairly high for Saturday’s State Open at Yale’s Kiphuth Pool.
And if Niro and Lagamao don’t know each other by now, they will by the end of the day. Both are swimming in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke.
Niro and Lagamao lead a local contigent to New Haven that features eight individual swimmers, two alternates and five relay teams.
They’ll all have to dig deep. Due to Tuesday’s storm, all four class meets were staged Thursday, leaving just one rest day before the Open.
Coach Evan Tuttle’s Southington Blue Knights are coming off a fourth-place team finish in Class LL, their best ever. Southington put eight performers on the podium, set four new school records and tied a fifth.
Niro did the damage with junior freestylers Peter Zalewski and Matt Siwek, both individually and in combination on the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays.
Cheshire heads down Route 10 led by its senior triumvirate of Alex Fang, Silas Wang and Kristian Adlianitski. They’ve each qualified individually and in tandem on the 200 free relay.
Meriden also brings a combined force to the steeply pitched arena in the west wing of Payne Whitney Gymnasium. The cross-class quartet of senior Mehdi Moumen, juniors John Peralta and Troy Ducas, and sophomore Andrew Bellemare qualified in both freestyle relays.
In all, local teams are represented in every event at the Open. That includes diving, which was staged Friday night in Middletown, with the Southington trio of Alex Rosania, Justin Vaillancourt and Nicholas Smith in the hunt. (All three finished in the Top 10 in Class LL, led by Rosania in fifth.)
Here’s a quick breakdown of the locals by event, starting with the headliners, Niro and Lagamao.Butterfly
Niro’s second-place finish in Class LL in 50.68 seconds has him ranked No. 4 for the Open. Lagamao, third in Class M in 51.95, is No. 11.
Both times are new school records. Niro and Lagamao will likely have to get them under 50 seconds to overtake top seeds Elliot Lee of Hand (49.70), Carson Raisner of Hall (49.79) and RIley Twiss of Staples (49.94).Backstroke
Lagamao and Niro rank 7-8, respectively, after virtually matching class performances. Lagamao was second in Class M in 52.91. Niro was second in Class LL in 52.95, which tied the SHS record.
Everyone in this race will be chasing Class L champ Peter Horan of Newtown (49.22), the only backstroker to get under 50 seconds on Thursday.Breaststroke
Cheshire put two swimmers in the championship heat in Class M and both qualified for the Open. Silas Wang was third in M (1:00.56) and Kristian Adlianitski was seventh (1:01.17).IM
Meriden’s Mehdi Moumen is the lone qualifier here. The senior was 10th in Class LL in 2:01.04.Sprints
Southington’s Matt Siwek made the cut in both the 50 and 100 freestyles. The junior is just outside the Top 10 in each after placing fourth in Class LL in the 50 (21.96) and sixth in the 100 (48.23).
Adlianitski (49.16) and Alex Fang (49.32) qualified from Cheshire after going 2-3 in Class M. Given a case of shoulder tendonitis, it’s unlikely Fang will swim today.Distance
Southington’s Peter Zalewski qualified in both the 200 and 500 freestyles, as well as with both Southington relays, which means he’ll record 16 laps at Kiphuth, not counting warmups.
Zalewski holds the No. 8 seed in the 500 after swimming a school-record 4:42.47 to place fifth in Class LL. He was ninth in Class LL, and No. 14 at the Open, with a 1:44.92 in the 200.Relays
Meriden and Southington have two apiece. Cheshire has its 200 freestyle grouping of Adlianitski, Fang, Wang and senior Zachary Schnitzer, which took bronze in Class M at 1:31.90.
Meriden’s foursome of Moumen, Peralta, Ducas and Bellemare were in the championship heats of both freestyles in Class LL and placed sixth in the 200 and eighth in the 400.
The group will gather one last time and look to lower their class times of 1:32.14 in the 200 and 3:23.13 in the 400.
If the Blue Knights can do the same in the 200 medley and 200 free, they will lower the school records they set Thursday. Both teams finished fourth. Both featured Niro, Zalewski and Siwek.
Senior Boden Tito rounded out the medley (1:38.71) Junior Alex LeClair completed the freestyle (1:29.00), which holds the No. 6 seed for the Open.
Tito and LeClair might also get a crack Saturday at individual races. Both are alternates — Tito in the IM and LeClair in the backstroke.