PITTSFIELD -- Sometimes, the formula for victory is pretty simple.
"I told them you can't win a meet without winning at least one relay," Pittsfield swim coach Jim Harrington said. "It's just mathematically impossible in this pool when it's this close."
The unbeaten Pittsfield boys had their perfect season on the line and were trailing Monument Mountain 43-41 going into the 400 free relay that ends the meet. The PHS relay team cracked the four minute mark, got the six points and came back to beat the Spartans 48-46 Tuesday afternoon at the four-lane Pittsfield Boys and Girls Club pool.
"Going into today, we had no losses this season and we are trying to get an undefeated season," Pittsfield swimmer Ken Black said. "This was probably our biggest obstacle in the way."
There was little suspense in the girls meet. The Spartans won all but two of the individual events and took all three relays en route to a 60-34 victory. Maeve Wilber and Rowan Rice each won twice for Monument.
But the spotlight fell on the boys meet in the final event. The visiting Spartans, with their seven-member team, took the lead after winning the 200 medley relay. Black and Jon Lee came back to finish 1-3 in the 200 freestyle, tying the score at 9.
The score actually remained tied until the Monument foursome of Zach Richardson, Joe Grochmal, Derrek Rueger and Will Palmer won the 200 freestyle relay. Pittsfield finished second and third, but the win untied the score and
Richardson and Rueger won the next two events, the 100 backstroke and 100 breaststroke, respectively. That set the stage for the 400 free relay, and the tension inside the pool was noticeable.
"It's a relief to get [the meet over] but today, butterflies were in my stomach," said Black after the meet.
Black and the Generals were able to release those butterflies right off the bat.
Swimming in Lane 3, Pittsfield's Brian Desrosiers out-touched Monument's Zach Richardson after the first 100. Richardson was swimming in Lane 2, and Black said that first leg was huge.
"Everybody is important on a relay. It's not just one person," said Black. "Everybody has to do their best and try their hardest. Brian and everybody else did that."
Pittsfield's Zach Williams was first into the pool for the second leg. Williams gradually extended the lead for Black, who did the same thing for anchor swimmer Aaron Coty.
And when Coty touched the wall in 3 minutes, 56.03 seconds, the Generals had six big points. Monument finished second and PHS was third, accounting for the 48-46 final. Had the Spartans won the race, they would have won the meet.
"We had to get first and third in the last relay to win and we did it," said Harrington. "The kids came through. They all had great swims."
Black won the only individual races for Pittsfield, taking the 200 and 500 freestyle. Monument's Will Palmer won the 200 individual medley and the 100 freestyle, while Rueger added the 100 butterfly to his 100 breaststroke win. Coty's second place finish in the 100 freestyle in 56.53 qualified him for the Western Massachusetts meet.
"I didn't know if it was going to be close or not. They beat us by a lot when we same against them at home in a six-lane pool. I put in the best lineup I could and hope for the best," said Monument coach Jill Svirida. "It was pretty exciting. I thought my guys did great. Everybody stepped up. You can't be disappointed with that."
The Spartans took control of the girls meet right off the bat as the foursome of Kayla Dillon, Rice, Anna Zdziarski and Lauren Richardson won the 200 medley relay in 2:13.55, almost six seconds faster than Pittsfield's runner-up team.
From there, the Spartans finished 1-3 in the next two events while Rice and Richardson went 1-2 in the 50 freestyle. While Pittsfield's Nicole Belknap stopped the Monument win streak with her victory in the 100 butterfly, Monument dropped only one more event the rest of the day. That came in the 100 backstroke when Belknap edged out Richardson. Belknap's time was 1:17.28, while Richardson's was 1:17.34.
To reach Howard Herman:
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.