Swimmers set records in SWC Championship meet


Kyle Collins swims the 200-yard freestyle in the SWC Championships at Masuk High. Collins was 14th in the event. — Andy Hutchison photo

Masuk High School’s swimming and diving team, behind a pair of team-record performances, finished sixth in the South-West Conference championships in early March.

The diving competition took place at Pomperaug High in Southbury on March 1, and the swimming events were held at Masuk High two days later.

Pomperaug, with 586 points, won the championship, and Masuk recorded 195 points.

In the first swimming event, the 200-yard medley relay, the Panthers set the team record as William Briand, Eric DeMace, Kanu Caplash and Zachary Thornton placed third in a time of 1:44.69.

The Panthers not only began the competition on a high note, but ended it that way as well, recording another team-record performance in the last event, the 400 free relay race.

Masuk’s 400 contingent of DeMace, Kyle Collins, Briand and Caplash broke the record it had set only a few weeks ago, coming in fifth with a time of 3:30.31.

“We’ve been putting a lot of hard work into practices. We’ve been working really hard,” Collins said.

The SWC championships were a success for the Masuk squad not only in terms of record-setting success but given the team’s representation alone. Masuk had 16 of 18 swimmers, including four of six freshmen, qualify for the meet.

“That was a major accomplishment,” Masuk coach Tom Harkins said. “They’re all swimming extremely well.”

Collins was 14th in the 200 freestyle event, finishing in 1:59.42. In the 200 individual medley, Matthew Pearson was 17th in 2:22.51, and Riley Bachard came in 18th in 2:23.56.

DeMace was 10th in the 50 free with a time of 23.71, and Thornton was 15th in 23.94.

Caplash came in third in the 100 butterfly, making his final touch in 53.33, Bachard was 12th in 1:00.20, and Donald Wheeler came in 15th in 1:00.86.

William Briand, a freshman, came in ninth in the 100 free with a time of 51.51, Collins was 14th in 53.45 and Thornton came in 16th in a time of 53.67.

Wheeler was 19th in the 500 with a time of 5:36.62.

James O’Shaughnessy, a sophomore who is in only his second year of competitive swimming, finished the 500 in 5:48.36. Anderson, among those brand new to competitive swimming, knocked eight seconds off his 500 time to finish in 6:20.58.

The 200 free relay team of Collins, Bachard, Thornton and Jordan Vaglivelo placed ninth in 1:40.38.

Briand was eighth in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:01.15. DeMace was seventh in the 100 breaststroke, clocking in at 1:06.01. O’Shaughnessy came in 15th in the breaststroke race with a time of 1:11.02.

Masuk divers Hunter Sevc and Omar Al-Hamwy finished 20th and 21st, with scores of 215.70 and 145.95 respectively.

Harkins was pleased with how much that hard work paid off.

“The meet was great. It was a very good meet. I couldn’t have been more satisfied,” the Masuk coach said.

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