Red Devils fare well at swimming sectionals
Clarence’s contingent turned in some solid performances in what would be the final home “meet” of the season this past Friday and Saturday, as the Red Devils hosted the annual Section VI Championships.
The top 24 swimmers — in nine individual events and three relays — all vied for a sectional title over the weekend, and all three of Clarence’s relays did just that. The Red Devils’ 200 medley foursome of Nick Hook (backstroke, 25.48 seconds), Kevin Kreher (breaststroke, 26.05), Mike Le (butterfly, 25.36) and Ryan Saenger (freestyle, 21.58) finished in 1:48.47 to lock down a seventh-place spot on the most recent state rankings.
The 400 free relay of Phil Nanula (51.80), Saenger (47.97), Hook (47.49) and Kreher (47.73), meanwhile, also finished in a time (3:14.99) to earn a seventh-place spot on the most recent state rankings. Clarence’s 200 free foursome of Hook (22.09), Kreher (21.75), Saenger (21.64) and Le (22.52), which is currently ranked eighth in the state, won its race in 1:28.05.
“The medley foursome will not swim together at the state meet in two weeks; Ryan will be taken off so that he can swim the 200 freestyle,” coach Eric McClaren said. “We will spend the next two weeks trying to determine the next best option, which could include moving Mike Le from the butterfly and putting him in the free, adding Joe Lawrence into the fly spot — or maybe trying Nate Kreher in the free and either Mike or Joe in the fly.”
Kevin Kreher had the team’s best individual finish for the meet, placing second in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 58.65 — which has him currently seeded sixth for the state meet. He posted a time of 58.62 in the preliminary round, which at the time was good for both the pool (previously 59.59) and school records (previously 59.33). The school record had belonged to McClaren since 1986, though Kevin Kreher only held the pool record until Starpoint’s Matt Schutt went 57.99 in the finals to claim it.
Teammates Le (sixth, 1:03.24), Adam Hoff (15th, 1:07.41) and Jake Milbrath (23rd, 1:10.20) also competed in the breaststroke for Clarence.
Hook took third in the 50 free (22.09), while Saenger took third in the 100 free (49.19). Emmanual Rockwell (10th, 57.65) had the team’s only other top-10 finish with his effort in the 100 backstroke.
Other individual efforts included those by Nanula (200 free, 11th, 1:53.78; 100 free, 22nd, 52.97), Le (100 butterfly, 15th, 58.46), and Andrew Cahalane (200 IM, 13th, 2:14.37; 500 free, 18th, 5:18.33).
Clarence will now focus on preparing for the state meet, which will be held March 2-3 at ECC’s Burt Flickinger Center in downtown Buffalo. The Red Devils will have participants in seven events at states: all three relays, the 50 (Hook), 200 (Saenger) and 500 frees (Saenger), and the 100 breaststroke (Kevin Kreher).