By Amy Shen and Marie Saba
Jamesville-DeWitt High School and Christian Brothers Academy Varsity Boys Swimming team sent four accomplished swimmers and two divers to states at Ithaca College on Feb 28. J-DHS swimmers senior Kevin Potocki, junior Casey Sawyer, sophomore Jeff Gabriel, senior diver Alex Dieroff, and CBA swimmers senior Cory Knapp and senior diver Matt Wanamaker placed J-D/CBA ninth out of 68 schools at states.
The 200 freestyle relay team of Potocki, Sawyer, Gabriel, and Knapp swam a time of 1:27.08 at sectionals, shooting by the state qualifying time of 1:30. The boys ranked 11th in this relay coming in to states, but swam fast enough to come in fourth in the public-school portion. The four beat J-DHS’s 34-year school record of 1:27.39 at states, accomplishing one of the goals they had entering the competition.
The four boys, Potocki, Sawyer, Gabriel, and Knapp, also swam in the 400 freestyle relay. They entered the competition ranked 24th, but exceeded those expectations, coming in eighth in the public-school portion at states, with a time of 3:15.66. They improved their best time by two seconds, despite not breaking any school records.
“It’s always a good feeling,” Potocki said, regarding the three years he’s made it to states. This year Potocki swam an individual 100 yard freestyle along with being in the two relays. After swimming for nine years and suffering through an injured shoulder and some sickness this year, he was looking forward to competing at states. Potocki managed to get a time of 48.48 seconds on his 100 yard freestyle, 14 spots higher than he was ranked, placing 33rd. “It was really fun, it closed up my high school career for swimming,” Potocki said.
Sawyer has been swimming competitively since the age of six and was part of the Varsity Boy’s Swimming team since eigth grade. In his freshman year, Sawyer went through a major hip injury and underwent surgery, putting him out for the season. “I’ve been able to come back from that,” Sawyer said, finally making it to states for an individual event in his junior year. Coming into states for the 100 yard butterfly, he was ranked 35th, but finished 16th with a time of 52.53 seconds, which was an improvement of a whole second from his previous personal record.
Though Gabriel did not compete in an individual event this year, “all the hard work paid off,” he said, in his first year at states. After swimming for five years, Gabriel learned that “swimming’s a pretty demanding sport, and if you stop swimming for a month, you have to work hard to get to where you were before.”
In his senior year, after winning sectionals, Dieroff made it to states for the first time. With a total of 473.50 points after 11 dives, Dieroff placed 38th out of 54 divers. After diving for six years, Dieroff learned, “diving is kind of a scary sport because of the fact that you have to push yourself and meet expectations and different limits.” This proved to be true when Dieroff hit his head on the diving board the day before states, leaving him with a few staples.
After a long season, freshman Cameron Howe, member of J-D Varsity Swimming team, said, “they did a great job for our team, and beat our Liverpool rivals.” The J-DHS and CBA boys worked hard to achieve their ninth place standing. As freshman Ryan Evans, member of J-D Varsity Swimming team, said, “you all worked hard this season and you deserve it,” speaking to his fellow teammates.