MERIDEN — It could come down to fractions of a second, to an extra kick or extension of the arm at the wall.
For the area’s top boys swimmers, there are time gaps to close at this week’s CIAC championships, but state crowns are within reach.
Lyman Hall junior Jerick Lagamao, Southington senior Matt Niro and Cheshire senior Kristian Adlianitski all carry No. 2 seeds into Wednesday’s CIAC class meets. Lagamao and Cheshire seniors Alex Fang and Silas Wang each hold a No. 3.
This quintet heads a 34-strong area contingent that qualified at Saturday’s trials.
Due to Tuesday’s storm, all four class meets will be swum Wednesday at Southern Connecticut State University and Cornerstone Aquatics Center in West Hartford. Top performers will advance to Saturday’s State Open at Yale.
Locally, in a season in which each of the five area teams was driven by a core group of swimmers, Lagamao and Niro are the boys in the vanguard. Both are high seeds in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke.
Lagamao, the Southern Connecticut Conference backstroke champ, is just a quarter of a second behind the No. 1 seed in that event going into the Class M meet on Wednesday night at SCSU.
Lagamao also holds the No. 3 seed in the Class M butterfly, with a three-second gap to make up there.
As for Niro, the Southington senior captain is roughly 1½ seconds off the pace in the Class LL butterfly, where he is seeded No. 2, as well as in the backstroke, where he’s No. 4.
Niro is one of three Blue Knights to qualify for championship heats in the Class LL meet, which is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at Cornerstone. The Meriden Co-op, led by senior Mehdi Moumen, will also be there.
Cheshire, meanwhile, looks to make Class M waves along with Lagamao and the Trojans. The Rams are particularly strong in the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, where the Big 3 of Adlianitski, Fang and Wang hold half of the top four seeds.
Also bound for the state meets are the Sheehan Titans in Class S. Led by sophomore distance freestyler Jonathan Rosano, they will swim Wednesday afteroon at SCSU.
Here’s a more detailed look at the top area qualifiers. The top eight performers in each event at trials qualified for championship heats.Class LL
Both Southington and Meriden are taking all three of their relays and a solid seven qualifiers to Cornerstone.
Niro leads the Blue Knights alongside juniors Matt Siwek and Peter Zalewski, who join him on both the 200 medley relay (6th, 1:41.83) and 200 freestyle relay (7th, 1:31.80). Senior Boden Tito rounds out the medley and junior Alex LeClair completes the 200 free.
Zalewski, who just set a school record of 1:58.51 in the 200 IM placing second in the CCC West divisional meet, is No. 6 in the 500 freestyle (4:47.35). Zalewski also has a shot of kicking his way into the State Open in the 200 freestyle (11th, 1:47.19).
Ditto for Siwek in the freestyle sprints. He’s No. 7 in the 100 (48.76) and No. 9 in the 50 (22.34).
As for Niro, he’s trying to track down Staples senior Riley Twiss in the butterfly (50.70) and Greenwich senior Liam Flaherty (52.71) in the backstroke. Niro swam a 52.10 for his No. 2 seed in the fly and a 54.32 for his No. 4 in the back.
LeClair just missed qualifying for that backstroke final. He swam a 56.46 in trials and is seeded No. 10.
Meriden’s championship bids will come in the relays. The city squad pulled down the No. 5 seed in the 400 freestyle (3:21.94) and the No. 8 in the 200 free (1:32.40).
Mehdi Moumen swims on both with juniors John Peralta and Troy Ducas, and sophomore Andrew Bellemare.
All four also qualified in two events individually. All four are in conolation heats, but if their times are good enough they could still reel in a ticket to the State Open.
Moumen was close to making the championship heat cut. He’s No. 10 in both the butterfly (54.28) and IM (2:01.09).
Bellemare and Peralta qualified in the distance freestyles, Ducas in the freestyle sprints.
Senior Mattia Fresta and junior Jason Consiglio are also in two consies each for the Co-op — Fresta in the 50 free and fly, Consiglio in the IM and backstrokeClass S
The young Titans are sending all three relays and five individual qualifiers to SCSU.
Their highest seed, at No. 9, is held by the 400 freestyle relay. Sophomores Espen Fenstad and Jonathan Rosano combined with freshmen Jack Angelastro and Cole McDonnell on a 3:43.18 at trials.
Each swimmer also qualified in two individual events. Rosano is No. 10 in the 200 free (1:54.38) and No.11 in the 500 (5:20.57). McDonnell earned the 11 seed in the fly (58.55) and the 13 in the 500 free (5:25.84).
Angelastro made the grade in the IM and breaststroke, Espen in the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle.Class M
Will Jerick Lagamao duplicate his conference feats at the state level? Will Cheshire, a traditional Class L squad, throw its weight around in Class M?
The Rams will be relying on three key guys to do that: Kristian Adlianitski, Alex Fang and Silas Wang.
The three teammates qualified high in two individual events each and hold the No. 2 seed in the 200 free relay with fellow senior Zackary Schnitzer. The quartet’s 1:32.28 in trials was second only to Wilton (1:31.87).
It’s a similar picture in the breaststroke, where Adlianitski (2nd, 1:00.36) and Wang (3rd, 1:00.48) will be chasing top seed Jack Ferguson of the Haddam-Killingworth Co-op (58.64).
In the 100 freestyle, it will be Fang (3rd, 49.09) and Adlianitski (4th, 49.28) going after No. 1 Richard Bailey of Middletown (48.44) and No. 2 Max Metlitski of Avon (48.76).
There are two other championship races for Cheshire’s Big 3: Fang in the 50 free (8th, 22.66) and with sophomore Omkar Narayanan in the 200 medley relay (7th, 1:43.57).
The golden egg in the Lyman Hall basket is Lagamao, who will be battling SCC rivals in the backstroke and butterfly.
With a trial time of 53.24 in the back, the junior is No. 2 to Hand’s Jonah Kehew (52.99). With a 52.50 in the fly, he’s No. 3 to Hand’s Elliot Lee (49.53) and Xavier’s Sam Enes (52.27).
Lagamao will also team with his older brother, Kenny Lagamao, and another senior, Ryan Christopoulos, on two relays. They’ll combine with sophomore Wini Zhou on the 200 medley (12th, 1:48.99) and with sophomore Liam Fitzpatrick on the 200 free (13th, 1:38.20).
Individually, Kenny Lagamao is No. 13 in both the IM and breaststroke. Christopoulos qualified in both distance freestyles, Zhou in the IM and breaststroke.