Masuk swimmers fifth at SWC championship

Host Masuk High had a strong team performance in Saturday’s South-West Conference boys swimming championships, which were postponed a day due to Friday’s inclement weather.

Going up against the best the SWC has to offer, the Panthers placed fifth with 250.5 points.

Masuk moved up a spot from last year and finished behind only a trio of state powerhouses and Class LL representative Newtown.

Pomperaug of Southbury was first with 546 points, winning the conference title for a sixth consecutive year. Weston placed second with 452 points, followed by Newtown (346 points) and Brookfield (320.5 points).

“You’re seeing the best swimmers all in the pool at the same time,” said Masuk head coach Tom Harkins.

Given the high level of competition, Harkins was happy with how his team performed.

“Lots of best times,” he said. “How can you do any better than that?”

Masuk had several top-five and top-10 finishes, beginning with the first race of the day. The Panthers’ 200-yard medley relay team of Will Briand, James O’Shaughnessy, Michael Aiello, and Matthew Hull placed third in a time of 1:44.81.

In the first individual event, Masuk’s Joey Nizzardo placed 11th in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:56.35. Teammate Donald Wheeler added a 17th-place finish in 2:01.58.

Aiello was eighth in the 200 individual medley, making his final touch in 2:12.00. O’Shaughnessy finished 13th (2:19.01), followed by Riley Bachard (16th, 2:21.26) and Aiden Lein (18th, 2:21.74).

Hull placed fifth in the 50 free, sprinting to the finish in 23.53 seconds. Teammate Zachary Thornton tied for 14th place with a time of 24.12.

In the 100 butterfly, Masuk claimed spots 13, 14 and 15, as Wheeler, Bachard, and Lein logged times of 1:01.45, 1:01.60 and 1:01.62, respectively.

Briand was fifth in the 100 free, making his final touch in 51.20, and Hull cracked the top 10, placing ninth in 51.95. Ryan Cammarano also scored for the Panthers, finishing 18th in 54.85.

After Nizzardo finished fifth in the 500 freestyle (4:59.73), Masuk’s 200 freestyle relay team of Hull, O’Shaughnessy, Bachard, and Zachary Thornton placed fourth in 1:35.40.

Briand then finished fourth in the 100 backstroke (59.36), and O’Shaughnessy was 13th in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.23).

In the final event of the day, Masuk’s 400 freestyle relay of Briand, Nizzardo, Wheeler, and Aiello was sixth in 3:38.53.

Many of the races were close. Only about a second separated the top-two finishers in the 500 freestyle, and in some of the shorter distance races only hundredths of a second were between the top finishers.

“It’s that way across the board,” said Harkins. “The guys are seeing it and they’re not backing down from it, they’re responding to it, and doing what they need to do.”

Notes: Masuk’s Omar Al-Hamwy came in 18th with a score of 266.60.points in the diving portion of the meet, which took place at Weston High last Wednesday.

Pomperaug junior Billy Regan was named the meet’s Outstanding Swimmer. Regan won the 200 freestyle (1:43.54) and finished second in the 100 breaststroke (58.83).

The top-18 finishers in each event scored points.

Will Briand had a pair of top-five finishes for Masuk at the SWC championship meet. - Andy Hutchison photo

Will Briand had a pair of top-five finishes for Masuk at the SWC championship meet. – Andy Hutchison photo

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