MIDDLETOWN >> Some high school swim teams have a handful of top end swimmers, while others have depth. But it’s not common for most teams to have premier swimmers and depth.
Middletown High has both.
The Blue Dragons demonstrated that Thursday night by overwhelming city rival Xavier, 94-84, at Wesleyan University’s Freeman Center. Had Middletown coach Trevor Charles not swum the last event — the 400-yard freestyle relay– unofficially, Middletown would have won 106-76.
Another unusual aspect of the meet was that both coaches said their teams performed at the top of their game.
“I thought my team swam really well,” Xavier coach Chris Haines said. “I was impressed. We rebounded very well after a poor meet against Cheshire. But Middletown swam really, really well. They have both top-end kids and depth.”
There is no question that the top end of the top end for Middletown is William and Mary bound Jack Doherty.
Doherty, who hasn’t lost an individual race this season, easily won both the 50-yard freestyle in a time of 21.14 seconds and the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 50.27 seconds, a couple of tenths off the MHS school record. But his best performance came when he swam the anchor leg of the 200-yard freestyle relay.
Doherty hit the water a good five body lengths behind. He made that up in the first 25 yards of the race, then won going away.
“That was an awesome anchor leg,” Middletown High coach Trevor Charles said. “But the funny thing is, he’s swum faster legs. Even though we were behind, with Jack swimming that anchor leg, I had a good feeling.”
Assistant/diving coach Matt Quinn was to the point: “He was a torpedo.”
As Haines said, Middletown (11-2) is anything but a one-swimmer show.
“We swam amazingly well tonight,” Charles said. “No question this is the fastest we have swum all season.”
Among the top performers for the Dragons were Tim Joy, who came from behind to win the 200-yard freestyle (1:51.65) and also won the 500-yard freestyle (5:07.52), and Evan Dunn, who won the 100-yard freestyle (52.87 seconds). Joy also swam a leg of the winning 200-yard freestyle relay and the winning 400-yard freestyle. Dunn swam a leg of the 200-free relay.
“Tim was amazing; he had best times in everything he swam,” said Charles. “And Evan swam really well.”
Mike Galati was a double winner for Xavier, taking first in the 200 individual medley (2:09.65) and the 100-yard breaststroke (1:03.82). Galati also swam a leg in the winning 200-yard medley relay. Andrew Reagan won the 100-yard backstroke (58.42 seconds).
But in both the breaststroke and backstroke, Middletown’s depth enabled it to take second, third and fourth, so despite not taking first, MHS was able to out-point the Falcons in both events.
Xavier took an 8-6 lead to open the meet when the team of Reagan, Dom Nazzaro, Galati and Mike Dziatko took first. But even in that race, Middletown’s depth paid off as the Dragons took second and third.
“I thought Reagan and Galati were very good tonight,” said Haines.
Joy’s win in the 200-freestyle and a third and fifth enabled MHS to take a 16-14 lead. Galati’s win along with a third in the 200 IM enabled Xavier to tie the meet 23-23. But when Doherty won the 50-yard freestyle, MHS took a 32-30 lead it never gave back.
MHS freshman Tyler Wenzel won the diving with a personal best score of 201.20 points.
The Blue Dragons won eight of the 12 events, and its depth piled on secondary points up and down the lineup. The relay team of Anthony Grenier, Peter Flynn, Tim Joy and Doherty in the 200-freestyle relay, and the team of Doherty, Tim Joy, Matt Joy and Dunn in the 400 demonstrated both the top-end and depth of the team.
“I love this pool,” said Charles. “It breeds adrenaline. It has deep water, wide lanes, good lane lines and a great gutter system. All that translates into less wake and fewer things that could slow you down. It’s conducive to excellent times.”
Middletown is home this afternoon with Plainville at 4. Xavier (3-5) is home with Notre Dame Tuesday at 7 p.m.