By Jim Bransfield
MIDDLETOWN >> The city merged its two public high schools into Middletown High in 1984. Much has changed since then, but one thing has remained the same: The MHS boys swim team wins, and wins and wins.
The Blue Dragons have never had a losing season and this season is no exception. MHS blew past the Bristol Eastern/Central/St. Paul co-operative program 92-85 Tuesday afternoon in a Central Connecticut Conference South Division meet at the Baldwin-Parmelee pool at the high school. At first blush, that score seems close, but pay that score no mind.
MHS coach Trevor Charles swam the last three races unofficially — which means only Bristol could score points. Had he not, the final score would have been 120-65.
“We swam great,” said Charles, who saw his team improve to 7-2.
“With the snow day and lost practice time, I worried that the kids might be off their game. Then there didn’t seem to be much energy in the pre-meet practice, which made me more nervous. But I was wrong; they did bring their game.
“I was excited with how they swam.”
Middletown dominated throughout.
After losing the opening 200 yard medley relay — although taking a second and third — the Dragons took the lead at 18-12 with Michal Ciebielski (1:53.88) and freshman Tim Joy giving MHS a 1-2 finish in the 200 yard freestyle.
Middletown poured it on from there.
Matt Dagenais easily won the 200 yard individual medley in a time of 2:00.5, sophomore Jack Doherty won the 50 yard freestyle in 22.65 seconds and Dan Kinney led a 1-2-3 MHS sweep in diving, scoring 217.80 points. After those five events, MHS was cruising 51-26.
“Dan didn’t have his best day,” said diving coach Matt Quinn. “But he still won. I thought Adam [Gauthier, second with 209.10 points] had a really good day. And Danielle [Lau, third with 142.85] had another solid performance.”
Kinney has won every diving competition in which he has competed this season. Diver Monica Marcello missed the meet due to a death in her family.
After diving, the Dragons picked up where they left off, with Doherty and Dagenais winning again. Doherty took the 100 yard butterfly in 53.44 seconds and Dagenais won the 100 yard freestyle in 49.22 seconds to give MHS a 71-38 lead.
Ciebielski then became the third individual double winner when he breezed to a win in the 500 yard freestyle in a time of 5:09.35. That was followed by an easy MHS win in the 200 freestyle relay. The time of 1:32.96 was a new MHS pool record. That’s when Charles called off the dogs with his team ahead 92-47.
Bristol broke the MHS winning streak when Matt Gwozdecke legitimately took the 100 yard backstroke [:58.25].
The Dragons finished the day with the 400 yard freestyle relay team of Robert Baran, Ciebielksi, Doherty and Dagenais romping home by 20 seconds over Bristol, even though the win didn’t translate into points for MHS.
Dagenais’ double wins are merely more dual meet additions to his stunning accomplishments. He is the school record holder in the 200 yard individual medley, the 100 yard butterfly, and as part of the three relays.
“He’ll get the 200 yard freestyle record before the year is over,” said Charles. “He is one of the best swimmers ever to come through Middletown High in any era, under any coach.”
He’s only a junior.
Middletown swims Berlin at Plainville High School Friday at 5:30 p.m. in another CCC South match.