MIDDLETOWN — Middletown swim coach Trevor Charles taught Xavier’s Ronnie Vaughan pretty well.
Vaughan swam for Charles and the Blue Dragons earlier this decade, and although Vaughan made time to salute his mentor after Thursday’s city championship meet, the second-year coach clearly reveled in Xavier’s 108-72 win at the Baldwin-Parmelee pool.
“It’s always a lot of fun going against Trevor, who’s one of my biggest role models and influences in the sport of swimming,” Vaughan said, before playfully adding, “It was nice to stick it to him after last year’s brutal loss. It was nice to give it to my old team.
“I had such great memories here, so it’s always going to be fun, regardless of the outcome, against the guy who coached me for four years.”
Xavier opened up a 36-10 lead after the first three events — the 200-yard medley relay, 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley — and never looked back.
The Falcons — Mitchell Wollen, Dominic Anziano, Yavier Carbo-Colon and Nikita Zuev — won the medley relay in 1 minute, 49 seconds. Sophomore Donald Frost won the 200 free in a personal-best 1:51.79 and Xavier finished 1-2-3 in the IM, with Wollen turning in a winning time of 2:07.48.
“Ronnie’s team is far deeper and has the top-end talent,” Charles said. “That combination … this is the best Xavier team in the last five, six years for sure. They are definitely the strongest they’ve been in that time.”
After winning this meet the last two years, Middletown currently is waist-deep in a rebuilding period. At the same time, Xavier’s program is experiencing a resurgence both in depth of talent and roster size, and it has impact swimmers among a combined 14 freshmen and sophomores.
“We have had a lot of really good meets with Xavier that seem to go in cycles,” Charles said. “We’re rebuilding and they’re on the way up still. Some of their (top) kids are young and they are going to be awesome the next couple of years.
“I’d be pretty excited to be in Ronnie’s position right now.”
Frost, who with Wollen and Andrew Mitchill forms the core of Xavier’s top talent, made it a two-win night by capturing the 100 butterfly in 56.10 seconds. Zuev, a freshman, won the 100 free, sophomore Adam Anziano won the 500 free and junior Ben Howell won the backstroke.
“Donnie should be able to win me two events, Andrew definitely will win me two events and Mitchell Wollen is the most versatile swimmer I have,” Vaughan said. “Between those three and Zuev and the Azianos and Howell, and (Carbo-Colon), the versatility of my top guys is big.”
Michael Flynn won the 50 freestyle for Middletown with a time of 23.91 seconds. The junior was three hundredths of a second faster than Zuev.
Middletown senior Tyler Wenzel won the 1-meter diving easily with 294.30 points. He set the school record in the event last week. Senior Nick Lupacchino finished second in both the 200 free and 500 free.
Charles said the Blue Dragons are “night and day” at this point in time compared to how they were performing at the start of the season.
“After our first meet, we (projected) that we should have won only four or five meets this season, and we’ve won eight already,” he said. “We are light years ahead. Our point swings have been astronomical, we’ve come quite a long way.
“We’ve been (projecting out) the last couple of years to try to motivate the kids, that if we don’t make the commitment to stepping up and improving, (sub-par performance) is what our destiny is. Every day we’re harping on being better than we were yesterday.”
Xavier swims its final regular-season meet Tuesday against Notre Dame of West Haven at Albertus Magnus College. Middletown has CCC meets remaining against the Bristol co-op Tuesday and the Platt/Maloney next Thursday at home.
Xavier 108, Middletown 72
200 medley relay: 1. Xavier, 1:49.00 (Mitchell Wollen, Dominic Anziano, Yavier Carbo-Colon, Nikita Zuev). 2. Xavier. 3. Middletown, 1:55.01. 200 freestyle: 1., 1:54.69; Donald Frost (X), 1:51.79; 2. Nick Lupacchino (M), 1:54.02; 3. Dillon Gallo (X), 2:02.99; 4. Noah San Vicente (X), 2:04.02; 5. Kyle Heidorn (M), 2:14.36. 200 IM: 1. Mitchell Wollen (X), 2:07.48; 2. Adam Anziano (X), 2:13.78; 3. James DeDonato (X), 2:23.13; 4. Cole Lombardo (M), 2:29.11; 5. Jack Higgins (M), 2:29.47. 50 freestyle: 1. Michael Flynn (M), 23.91; 2. Nikita Zuev (X), 23.94; 3. Yavier Carbo-Colon (X), 24.16; 4. Julen Lujambio (X), 25.20; 5. Chris Boller (M), 25.69. 1-meter Diving: 1. Tyler Wenzel (M), 294.30; 2. David Sands (M), 128.15; 3. Matthew Herrera (M), 122.80; 4. Hyun Lee (X), 82.75. 100 butterfly: 1. Donald Frost (X), 56.10; 2. Yavier Carbo-Colon (X); 56.58; 3. Peter Mercugliano (X), 1:03.35; 4. Chris Boller (M), 1:04.23; 5. Matt Lombardo (M), 1:07.18. 100 freestyle: 1. Nikita Zuev (X), 50.84; 2. Ben Howell (X), 52.50; 3. Michael Flynn (M), 53.39; 4. Julen Lujambio (X), 55.47; 5. Jack Higgins (M), 59.01. 500 freestyle: 1. Adam Anziano (X), 5:14.73; 2. Nick Lupacchino (M), 5:18.18; 3. James DeDonato (X), 5:47.50; 4. Shane Kulhay (X), 5:55.33; 5. Cole Lombardo (M), 6:16.92. 200 free relay: 1. Xavier, 1:35.67 (Nikita Zuev, Dominic Anziano; Yavier Carbo-Colon, Donald Frost); 2. Xavier, 1:41.25; 3. Middletown, 1:42.63. 100 backstroke: 1. Ben Howell (X), 59.03; 2. Mitchell Wollen (X), 59.86; 3. Dillon Gallo (X), 1:08.61; 4. Mitchell Herrera (M), 1:11.99; 5. Jacob Collyer (M), 1:12.75. 100 breaststroke (exhibition): 1. Eric Meyer (M), 1:14.63; 2. Trevor Drescher (M), 1:14.89; 3. Andrew Strickland (M), 1:17.68. 400 free relay (exhibition): 1. Middletown, 3:42.27 (Nick Lupacchino, Matt Lombardo, Mitchell Herrera, Michael Flynn; 2. Middletown, 4:06.96.