LAKEVILLE >> Northwestern High School’s swimming and diving team swamped the rest of the Berkshire League for its second straight title Saturday afternoon at The Hotchkiss School.
The Highlanders did it with their traditional depth — large numbers of point-scoring swimmers and divers, but also with speed at the top.
In a meet that scores the top 12 places, numbers of quality swimmers count huge.
For instance, in the first event, the 200-yard medley relay, perennial power Shepaug won. The Highlanders took three of the next four places.
Northwestern also won with pure wins, six to five over Shepaug. Gilbert’s Luke Snyder took the only other first place, in diving, earlier this week.
“It’s a whole team effort,” said Highlander coach Mary DiMauro. “I have great assistant coaches and we try to get as much as we can out of our limited practice time with structure and high expectations.”
“We can’t compete with Northwestern’s depth,” said Shepaug coach Todd Dyer. “We just don’t have the bodies.”
Still, nobody takes the Spartans for granted. They’re the only team in the league with an in-school pool. Their tradition calls for Berkshire League titles. Northwestern’s two-year run, preceded by a Litchfield title, is the first time the Spartans have ever gone three years without the crown.
“We all know it’s an individual sport, but when we found out we couldn’t win the title, because Northwestern beat us in both dual meets, we were pretty low,” said Shepaug’s Colin Decker. “But we came in pumped to do the best we can.”
That made it a two-way contest between the Highlanders and the Spartans. Shepaug could still claim the BL Meet title without a league crown.
The 200-yard medley relay highlighted Shepaug speed versus Highlander depth. Freddie Pitcher, David Geyer, Decker and Nathan Ong won the event. Northwestern teams were second, third and fifth.
Northwestern junior Peter Kamianowski batted down the “depth-only” tag with the first of his two wins in the 200-yard freestyle.
Decker and Northwestern’s Kiley Stotler highlighted the quality of both programs, finishing one-two in the next event, the 200 individual medley. Decker set a new league record with his 2:01.54; Stotler, at 2:11.93, broke a girls record set in 1995.
With one more individual win apiece — Decker in the 100-yard freestyle, Stotler in the 100-yard breaststroke — the pair earned male and female high-point-swimmer awards.
Each of them had stiff challenges.
Kamianowski took his second win in the 500-yard freestyle. Shepaug senior Clara Wolfe, with girls wins in the 200 and 500 freestyles, ended with the same point total as Stotler. Stotler’s record was the tie-breaker.
All of them represented the excellence, effort and spirit that ran up and down the meet.
“Everyone’s doing their best times,” said Kamianowski, who proved his point in both wins.
“My goal is the 500 was to get under five minutes,” he said. “My coach told me to slow down, but I just kept going.”
Kamianowski touched in at 4:58.90.
Glory? “If people know, they know,” said Kamianowski, “but there’s always room for improvement.”
Shepaug’s Wolfe is a cross-country and outdoor track star as well as a top girls swimmer.
“They’re individual sports, but, with all of them, there’s a strong team spirit because we’re a small school.”
Decker and Stotler stand for the effort and excellence involved. In addition to his league record in the 200 IM, Decker’s 100 freestyle win set a school record.
Stotler just missed a second league girls record in the breaststroke.
“I like the competition (of co-ed swimming),” Stotler said. “It’s more fun as a team, but it’s hard because of the higher qualifying times for the boys events.”
She’s already qualified in the 200 IM, breaststroke and 500 freestyle.
Northwestern and Shepaug fought it out at the top. Nobody at the meet let obstacles like hard qualifying times or bigger programs get them down.
Berkshire League Swimming and Diving Championships
At The Hotchkiss School
Team scores: 1. Northwestern 626.5; 2. Shepaug 456; 3. Wamogo 114; 4. Gilbert 102; 5. Litchfield 72; 6. Lewis Mills 18; 7. Housatonic 5.5.
Events: 200-yard medley relay: 1. Shepaug (Freddie Pitcher, David Geyer, Colin Decker, Nathan Ong), 1:44.05; 2. Northwestern; 3. Northwestern. 200-yard freestyle: 1. Peter Kamianowski, Northwestern, 1:52.38; 2. Mithcell Gryniuk, Northwestern; 3. Daniel Ong, Shepaug. 200-yard individual medley: 1. Decker, Shepaug, 2:01.54 BERKSHIRE LEAGUE RECORD; 2. Kiley Stotler, Northwestern, 2:11.93 BERKSHIRE LEAGUE RECORD; 3. Nate Cunningham, Northwestern. 50-yard freestyle: 1. Braden Frey, Northwestern :22.83; 2. Ong, Shepaug; 3. Alec Royer, Northwestern. Diving: 1. Luke Snyder, Gilbert, 342.10; Mackenna Stanley, Litchfield; Mairead Roso, Shepaug. 100-yard butterfly: 1. Pitcher, Shepaug, :58.9; 2. Ken Buell, Shepaug; 3. Clayton Firmender, Shepaug. 100-yard freestyle: 1. Decker, Shepaug, :48.94; 2. Royer, Northwestern; 3. Barrett Langendoerfer, Northwestern. 500-yard freestyle: Kamianowski, Northwestern, 4:58.90; 2. Ed Wolfe, Shepaug; 3. Clara Wolfe, Shepaug. 200-yard freestyle: 1. Northwestern (Tony Puccino, Rickie Traub, Kamianowski, Frey), 1:35.33; Shepaug; Northwestern. 100-yard backstroke: 1. Langendoerfer, Northwestern, :57.65; 2. Pitcher, Shepaug; Buell, Shepaug. 100-yard breaststroke: 1. Royer, Northwestern, 1:04.76; 2. Frey, Northwestern; 3. John King, Northwestern. 400-yard freestyle relay: 1. Shepaug (Buell, Firmender, Pitcher, Decker), 3:27.77; 2. Northwestern; 3. Northwestern.