MIDDLETOWN >> Middletown High’s swim team bounced back from its disheartening loss to East Lyme on Wednesday with an easy 99-78 win over Rocky Hill at the Baldwin-Parmelee pool at MHS Thursday afternoon.
The Blue Dragons won seven of the 12 events. Two of the wins came in races after the meet was clinched and MHS coach Trevor Charles opted to swim the 100-yard breaststroke and the 400-yard freestyle relay unofficially.
“We did a pretty good job of mixing up things, of putting kids in different events,” said Charles. “This gives us an idea of what things we can do as the season goes on.”
Middletown’s overwhelming depth easily offset winning performances by the Terriers in five events, including two wins by Jack Malespini in the 50-yard freestyle (22.67 seconds) and in the 100-yard freestyle (51.24 seconds).
Middletown’s top performers included Matt Dagenais, who won the 200-yard freestyle (1:48.60) and the 100-yard breaststroke (1:03.43). Dagenais’ time in the breaststroke was a new pool record. Sophomore Jack Doherty easily won the 100-yard backstroke (58.76 seconds) and Michal Ciebielski also easily won the 500-yard freestyle (5:20.97).
“Matt has come back strong,” said Charles of his Class L and State Open champion. “He’s done great training and he is swimming faster now than he was at this point last season. And Jack is going to be a standout swimmer, a real stud for us.”
Two-thirds of the heralded MHS diving trio (Dan Kinney and Adam Gauthier) were given the meet off by Charles and dived unofficially. The third member of the triumvirate, Monica Marcello, easily won with a point total of 192.30 points, a score that wins most dual meets anytime, anywhere. And she did that with a failed dive.
“She doesn’t let a silly mistake get in her way,” said Charles of Marcello, one of two MHS divers who signed National Letters of Intent to dive at UConn. “She went right out and nailed the next dive.”
Middletown’s Austin Marino and Danielle Lau were second and third respectively in diving.
Charles said that he was pleased with the performances of freshman Matt Joy in the individual medley (fourth) and the 500 freestyle (second) and relays, Robert Baran in the 200 IM (second), Evan Dunn in the 100-yard butterfly (first, 1:10.83) and said he thought Rich Wong had “big swims.”
Had Charles not gone unofficial for the last two events, the final score would have been 123-64. But after the 100 backstroke, Charles called off the dogs leading 99-56.
Middletown lost to East Lyme by two points Wednesday and the killer was that Gauthier did a wrong dive during his performance. Because of that, he was charged with a failed dive, which meant that instead of a third place, he finished fourth. That two-point swing prevented the two teams from tying the meet.
“We had a great meet with East Lyme,” said Charles. “I love starting the season with them because they’re always good and it gives us an idea of where we stand. But those things happen and I’ve seen it happen before at meets and especially at state meets we’ve hosted. Kids need to listen and focus and sometimes they don’t.”
Diving coach Matt Quinn said that his divers have been solid in practice, but it hasn’t yet translated into top-level performances in the two meets.
“Today we had Adam and Dan [also going to UConn] go unofficially to work on things,” he said. “Dan did three dives with a degree of difficulty of 3.0 or better. His goal is to win the state open and to do that, he will have to be able to handle those kinds of dives.”
Middletown will host its annual Alumni Meet on Dec. 26, and return to its regular schedule on Jan. 3 with Hall of West Hartford.