Monument Mountain boys wrap up seventh place in Western Mass. swimming


SPRINGFIELD -- It was already a good day for the Monument Mountain swim program. The boys team made it a great day.

The girls had wrapped up an eighth-place finish early in the afternoon. By the end of the evening, the boys had one-upped them with a seventh-place result.

The finish exceeded everyone's expectations.

"I'm really excited," said Will Palmer, citing the team's early-season goal. "We just way outdid what we thought we were going to do. I'm really excited, can't wait for states, too."

At the beginning of the season, the Spartans had estimated a 12th-place finish. After the regular season, coach Jill Svirida said she would be ecstatic if the boys cracked the top 10. They did, and she was.

"Thrilled. So, so, so happy," said Svirida, unable to keep from smiling. "Those boys ... swam their hearts out. I couldn't ask for anything more."

It wasn't one aspect -- individual or relay -- that carried the Spartans. They did it all, and received contributions from everyone.

Assistant coach Alyssa Palmer pointed to Ben Wyatt's 15th-place finish in the breaststroke as a quickly-dismissed two points. At the other end of the spectrum, the Spartans' 200 free relay team grabbed a fourth-place finish with a school record 1:34.54. The previous record, set in 2007, was slightly over 1:37. The team dropped more than three seconds to grab the mark.

"That was a good one, actually," Brandon Louison said. "That was fantastic. Everything went well for us. We just had good starts, good swims good turns all around. It was fantastic."

Other Spartan highlights included Louison's fifth-place result in the 100 backstroke and sixth-place finish in the 100 butterfly, Derrek Rueger's ninth-place result in the 200 individual medley and Will Palmer's fifth-place finish in the 50 free. The Spartans finished their meet finishing seventh in the 400 free relay.

"Our relays, especially, were incredible," Svirida said. "All the individual events, I was totally happy with, but it was nice to see those guys come together in the relays like they did and really support each other and pull those awesome times off."

Taconic's day started off rough with the 200 medley relay getting disqualified for leaving early. Steven DeVila took an extra stroke on his butterfly and that messed up his timing with Jeremy Haven, who was set to finish the relay with the free.

It simply came down to a lack of practice, through no fault of their own.

"Lucas and I weren't here for this week of practice because we had an anti-drug conference in Washington, D.C.," Davila said, noting they've been committed to this for several months.

For their star swimmer, George Sommerville, it was a so-so day by his standards. He finished second in the 50 free, which he has said he'll also swim at states, and placed third in the 100 fly, which he isn't supposed to swim at states (he's likely to swim the 100 breast).

"A little disappointing, but what are you going to do? It's Western Mass.," he said. "I'm out here to have fun.

"I feel a little off today. My 50 [free], I didn't feel like I was on point. Some days feel better than others. You can't force two good days in a row."


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