Potter wins title as New Canaan swims to fourth in State Open
Updated 6:37 pm, Wednesday, March 23, 2011
NEW HAVEN -- Led by Jason Potter's 100-yard freestyle championship, the New Canaan High School boys' swimming and diving team placed fourth among 53 schools to earn points at the State Open this past week. The Rams, with 306 points, easily beat out fifth-place Pomperaug of Southbury (239.5). Greenwich, with 388 points, won the title and Darien (321) and Ridgefield (312) placed second and third. The swimming events were held on March 19 at Yale's Kiphuth Pool, two days after the diving competition at Hamden High.
Potter captured the 100 free championship in a time of 46.66, beating out Greenwich's Andrew Dillinger (46.70) for the title.
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"It feels great. It feels absolutely great," the senior said of his triumph.
"He's worked really hard all year," New Canaan coach Jason Paige said. "I'm glad he had the success that he had as a senior to win his event."
Potter was second in the 200 yard freestyle, finishing in 1:41.16, dropping more than a second from his seeding time. Ridgefield's Andrew Klutey won the event in 1:40.69.
New Canaan's Austin Wolff came in third in the 100 butterfly with a time of 52.04. Teammate Patrick Sweeney was 17th in the backstroke in 53.95. Wolff had been seeded fifth and was pleased to move up on the results sheet when it counted most.
"Just to be able to hop up a few places, that's a really nice feeling," Wolff said.
Two of New Canaan's relay teams placed second. The Rams were runner-up in the 200-yard medley relay event as Ian Robert, Gabe Lane, Wolff and Sweeney combined to finish in 1:36.80. The winning team, from Brookfield, finished in 1:36.70. New Canaan's 400 free relay team of Wolff, Robert, John Santoro and Potter placed second in a time of 3:10.33. New Canaan's 200 free relay team of Potter, Santoro, Karl Reinhardt and Sweeney came in third in 1:27.05.
Santoro came in 11th in the 200 individual medley, making his final touch in 1:58.07. Lane was 16th in the IM, in 2:00.15. Santoro also had a 10th-place finish in the 100 breaststroke, finishing the race in 1:00.75 and Lane was 17th in the breaststroke in 1:01.71. Robert finished in 15th in the 50 free, in 22.12 and 13th in the 100 backstroke in 54.72, and Sweeney was edged out by Greenwich's Robert Peterson 22.16 to 22.30 in a swim-off to qualify.
"Everybody loves coming here to swim because of the setting. It's a good pool to swim in -- it's all deep water," said Paige, noting that the water backlashes more in shallow pools. "Everybody works hard all year to get here," Paige said.
The meet features all of the top swimmers from all four class sizes, and the stakes are high in the final chance to compete -- some for the last time in competitive swimming. The pool complex features high-rising stands full of fans on all four sides of the water, creating an energy-filled atmosphere for a championship meet.
"Everybody's going their hardest and going for their best time all season -- and trying to beat the guy next to them to get points for his team. It's really intense," Potter said.
"It's a pretty unique experience," added Wolff, a junior, noting that swimmers on the deck look up and see nothing but rows of fans cheering from all four sides of the pool.