Berkshire County boys swimmers tackle Western/Central Mass. championship meet
SPRINGFIELD — Just rest, breathe a ton and then go for it.
Dealing with the atmosphere of the Western/Central Massachusetts swim meet isn't easy, but that is how Monument Mountain's Sam Cybulski dealt with the change of scenery at Springfield College for the sectional meet.
"I was super nervous, but talking to my friends kept me going and I reminded myself I could do it," the Spartan sophomore said after scoring 12 points individually for his team. "My teammates, and the girls, are so important. We're all so supportive of one another, where it really helps us in the end.
"You go faster when you have your whole team around you."
The Spartans finished the Berkshire County season with a perfect record and took their talents to the Art Linkletter Natatorium on Sunday afternoon for the 3-hour meet.
Cybulski beat out teammate Harry Albert for the best time in the 200-yard freestyle, coming in at 1 minute, 57.02 seconds. That placed him 12th overall for five points.
Senior Ethan Dean had Berkshires' best time in the 50 freestyle at 23.44, but Wahconah's Fred Sears eked him out by less than a second in the 100 freestyle, coming in at 52.65.
"You have to find the right head space and feed off of other people's energy [during a meet like this]," Sears said. "There is a lot of pressure with all the people there, but when you're swimming against great competition, it pushes you really hard."
Taconic sophomore Stevie Zuccalo was sandwiched between them with a time of 53.50 and also swam a 24.46 in the 50 freestyle.
"It is an honor to be here," Zuccalo said. "There are a lot of upperclassmen, so to be here as a sophomore is pretty cool. I was thinking of all the texts from people rooting me on because it is an awesome motivation. Hopefully I'll use this year as motivation to make states next year."
Pittsfield's Connor Mooney was money in the 100 butterfly, beating out Wahconah's Jacob Kunzmann for the best local time, clocking in at 1:00.78.
"We've been working with Connor on going underwater and working with walls," Pittsfield coach Jim Harrington said. "He had a really nice butterfly today. We were missing a couple swimmers and all-and-all, this is a hard meet, it always is. A lot of these kids will be back next year and this is always a good experience."
Mooney edged out fellow junior Connor Hayford by 3/10ths of a second in the 100 backstroke, but Cybulski, who finished 10th overall for seven more points, had the best local time at 59.98.
Monument's Colin Thorp won his heat in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:08.89. Thorp hopped back in to swim the third leg of the 400 freestyle relay with Albert, Cybulski and Dean. That foursome put their heads together and closed the meet with a time of 3:41.02, good for 12th place, and 10 more points. Thorp, Albert, Cybulski and Zachariah Annand swam to a 14th-place finish in the 200 medley relay, carding a time of 1:52.66 for another five points. Albert also picked up points for placing 14th in the 500 freestyle in 5:29.31.
That gave Monument a total of 31 points and the 19th slot in the overall rankings.
With the state swim meet scheduled for next Sunday at Boston University, Sunday's meet gave some of the senior swimmers some time to reflect on their high school career.
"When I was a freshman, I hated swim meets and they made me nervous," Sears said. "Now, I realized how to be comfortable on the block and once you're in the water it is just muscle memory and feels natural. I am proud I stuck with it, I wasn't sure if I would keep swimming, but it developed into something I really love."
The Division II boys meet begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, with the D-I meet beginning at 7 p.m.
"We've had a lot of new swimmers this year so it's been pretty cool teaching them how to do things," Sears added. " It is a unique sport and is a lot of fun with the right group of people on your team.
Results — 1. Minnechaug 286; 2. Belchertown 231.50; 3. Nashoba 228; 4. Longmeadow 219.50; 5. Westfield 175... 19. Monument Mountain 31.
200 medley relay — 1. Belchertown (Chumbley, Dragon, Endress, Stelmokas), 1:38.87; 2. Minnechaug (Gravanda, Richard, Konstantakos, Douglass), 1:39.38; 3. Westfield (Russell, Bonacci, Beaulieu, Morash), 1:40.70.
200 freestyle — 1. Eastham (West Springfield), 1:42.65; 2. Dragon (Belchertown), 1:46.82; 3. Stelmokas (Belchertown), 1:52.25.
200 medley — 1. Labich (Amherst), 1:51.92; 2. Nawricki (Chicopee Comp), 2:01.02; 3. Douglass (Minnechaug), 2:10.79.
50 freestyle — 1. Konstantakos (Minnechaug), 21.35; 2. Russell (Westfield), 21.47; 3. Schalet (Northampton), 21.81.
100 butterfly — 1. Labich (Amherst), 51.22; 2. Papagelis (Westborough), 51.23; 3. Chumbley (Belchertown), 54.22.
100 freestyle — 1. Eastham (West Springfield), 46.60; 2. Priedenyuk (Agawam), 48.35; 3. Richard (Minnechaug), 48.64.
500 freestyle — 1. Konstantakos (Minnechaug), 4:36.48; 2. Dragon (Belchertown), 4:36.63; 3. Stelmokas (Belchertown), 4:45.78.
200 free relay — 1. Minnechaug (Kumiega, Douglass, Richard, Konstantakos), 1:28.90; 2. Nashoba (Kalber, Pyatt, Eastman, Le), 1:29.30; 3. Longmeadow (Blazy, Molden, Erofeyev, Pechulis), 1:31.81.
100 backstroke — 1. Russell (Westfield), 51.95; 2. Chumbley (Belchertown), 53:30, Pechulis (Longmeadow), 54.38.
100 breaststroke — 1. Schalet (Northampton), 59.20; 2. Papagelis (Westborough), 1:00.56; 3. Richard (Minnechaug), 1:01.05.
400 free relay — 1. Belchertown (Chumbley, Endress, Stelmokas, Dragon), 3:13.79; 2. Nashoba (Pyatt, Kalber, Eastman, Le), 3:19.69; 3. Westfield (Morash, Beaaulieu, Noel, Russell), 3:21.45.
Jake Mendel can be reached at email@example.com, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.
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