WATERBURY — Northwestern won its eighth straight Berkshire Swimming and Diving Championship Saturday afternoon at Waterbury’s Kennedy High School.
“It doesn’t get old,” said Highlander coach Mary DiMauro. “We have a different group each time. We all work together.”
The spread between Northwestern, traditionally the biggest team in the league, and its competition keeps getting wider.
This year, more than 200 points (962.5-743.5) separated the Highlanders from second-place Litchfield.
“It’s a good environment,” said Highlander junior Alex Beauchene, the boys high point winner with firsts in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle races, along with teammate Kelly Stotler for the girls. “Everybody knows we have fun but we also work hard. And when kids join the team, they usually stay on it.”
In fact, whole families do. Cassidy Stotler was the girls high point winner for the past three years while setting a girls record in the 100-yard butterfly. Cassidy was sick last week, so twin sister Kelly stepped in to take her place Saturday.
Two older sisters also swam for Northwestern, including Kiley, who set still-standing girls records in the 200-yard individual medley and 500-yard freestyle before moving on to a four-year swimming career at UConn.
Saturday, Kelly was second overall in the 100-yard backstroke and fourth in the 200-yard freestyle.
Beauchene, a junior, won the 50 and 100 freestyle races while anchoring Northwestern wins in the 200 and 400-yard relays for his second straight year as the boys high point winner.
Senior Colin Urmaza, Northwestern’s third double winner took first place in the 200-yard individual medley and the100-yard breaststroke.
“We just worked hard for all four of my years,” he said.
Northwestern diver John Courtemanche is off to an early. Last year, as a freshman, he set the league diving record at 422.70 points. This year, he added more than 40 points with a 466.10.
Northwestern swimmers established their grip on the meet with wins in the first seven events and all three relays, but second-place Litchfield, with new coach Todd Dyer on board, has thoughts of a serious challenge in years to come.
“Litchfield has a good team, too,” Highlander coach DiMauro acknowledged Saturday.
Senior Dan O’Leary was Saturday’s best example, with wins in the 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke. He also raised the best voice for the Cowboys’ future, despite moving on to Catholic University next year.
“Our new coach sets a great tone,” said O’Leary.
Coach Dyer’s coaching history set that tone. Before taking a break from coaching, his teams at Shepaug set a 10-year championship bar for the Highlanders.
“Northwestern loses 15 good swimmers this year. We only lose six,” he said. “And we’ve got lots more coming up from middle school.”
This year, the championship wasn’t much of a horse race. Next year, if Dyer has his way, that could change.
Berkshire League Swimming and Diving Championships
At Kennedy High School
Team Scores: 1. Northwestern 962.5; Litchfield 743.5; 3. Wamogo 387; Nonnewaug 361; Shepaug 347; Housatonic 21; Gilbert 1.
200-yard medley relay: 1. Northwestern (Noah Green, Colin Urmaza, Forest Russo, Antonio Covelli), 1:47.47; 2. Litchfield, 1:47.50; 3. Wamogo, 1:47.77. 200 freestyle: 1. Ashton Morrell, Northwestern, 1:49.68; 2. Sage Sobek, Litchfield; 3. Collin Bootsma, Nonnewaug. 200 IM: 1. Colin Urmazza, Northwestern, 2:08.33; 2. Joseph Sylvester, Wamogo; 3. Cassidy Stotler, Northwestern. 50 free: 1. Alex Beauchene, Northwestern, :22.30; 2. Samuel McDonald, Nonnewaug; 3. Ethan Cook, Wamogo. Diving: 1. John Courtemanche, Northwestern, 466.10 (Meet Record); 2. Ryan Malloy, Northwestern; 3. Mark Desrocher, Shepaug. 100 butterfly: 1. Noah Green, Northwestern, :56.69; 2. Kenyon Prenoveau, Litchfield; 3. Bootsma, Nonnewaug. 100 free: 1. Alex Beauchene, Northwestern, :48.44; 2. McDonald, Nonnewaug; 3 Sobek, Litchfield. 500 free: 1. Daniel O’Leary, Litchfield, 4:58.12; 2. Morrell, Northwestern; 3. Sylvester, Wamogo. 200 free relay: 1. Northwestern (Courtemanche, Covelli, Morrell, Beauchene), 1:34.93; 2. Litchfield; 3. Nonnewaug. 100 backstroke: 1. O’Leary, Litchfield, :57.85; 2. Kelly Stotler, Northwestern; 3. Green, Northwestern. 100 breaststroke: 1. Urmaza, Northwestern, 1:05.41; 2. Joseph Reilly, Nonnewaug; 3. Connor Mulligan, Northwestern. 400 free relay: 1. Northwestern (Green, Umaza, Morrell, Beauchene), 3:26.29; 2. Litchfield; 3. Wamogo.
High Point Winners
Boys: Alex Beauchene, Northwestern
Girls: Kelly Stotler, Northwestern