BRISTOL - Facing its biggest stage this season, in the Class LL prelims over the weekend, the Bristol boys co-op swim team was hopeful to get some big performances, up against some unfamiliar opponents.
With just two upperclassmen (Keagan Mullan and Michael Bond) competing, it was set to be a good indicator of where Bristol’s inexperienced swimmers were at.
“We do have a really young team,” Bristol head coach Nick Daddabbo said. “I knew there’d be jitters coming into the meet because a lot of the schools we swam against in LL we don’t even see so during the season. So that’s something that I think as a coaching staff we have to look at. Class LL has a lot of schools out of Fairfield County and a lot of them are bigger in terms of size and a lot of them are juniors and seniors.”
Freshman Gabriel Bartolome thrived for Bristol in the moment, topping his seed times in both the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke.
In the 200 IM, Bartolome placed 16th out of 35 swimmers with a time of 2:04.23, exceeding his seed time of 2:09.18. Later on, in the 100 breaststroke event, Bartolome finished 18th of the 36 swimmer competing with a time of 1:03.68, this a two minute improvement on his seed time.
“He had a really awesome state meet,” Daddabbo said. “He hit pretty much every one of his turns in his IM and his breaststroke. Being a freshman you would think he’d have some nerves but he was so calm and relaxed.”
Relays had been a bright spot for Bristol throughout the regular season.
In the prelims, there were both positives and negatives.
Bristol’s 200-medley relay team consisted of Bartolome, Colton Litwinczyk, Ben Stafford and Mullan. The group was disqualified in the event for having a bad relay exchange going from the fly to the freestyle.
“Their time was right on their best time of the season though so when I look at that as a coach yeah we got disqualified but I look at the times rather than them getting disqualified,” Daddabbo said.
The other two relays brought better results. In the 200 freestyle relay, Bond, Joshua Mitchell, Lewis Sinche and Stafford finished in 13th place of the 22 relay teams competing with a time of 1:41.28. Later on, in the final event, the 400 freestyle relay, Stafford, Bond, Bartolome and Litwinczyk finished with a time of 3:35.29, good for 12th place of the 21 competing teams.
For the senior Mullan, it was a tough day in the pool. In his two individual events, the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle, he finished near the bottom.
In the 50 free Mullan was 32nd out of the 36 swimmer competing with a finishing time of 24:34. Later on, he got a shot to redeem himself, this time in the 100 free. It didn’t go any better, as he placed last with a time of 57:12.
Along with Bartolome, another freshman with strong potential going forward is Litwinczyk. He didn’t do his best in his individual events, the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke.
His times in both events weren’t his best, something that every swimmer hopes to have when competing deep in the season at the class championships.
In the 200 IM he finished with a time of 2:09.46 after coming in with a seed time of 2:06.91. Litwinczyk finished 31 seconds behind his teammate Bartolome in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:03.99.
The sophomore duo of Sinche and Stafford also competed in individual events.
Stafford finished in 32nd place of the 36 swimmers competing in the 100 free. He was a few seconds ahead of teammate Mullan in the event, finishing in 54:53.
Sinche finished last in the 500 freestyle. He placed 36th with a time of 5:38.24 but was a second alternate, so wouldn’t have been swimming if others didn’t scratch.
Bristol will hope some of its swimmers qualify for the State Open as they compete in the Class LL championships set for Wednesday.
“It’s really hard to get into that meet but I think both Gabe and Colton have a shot at the State Open if they’re on. Our relay is going to miss it by a little bit I think but it all depends on how they swim. You never know what can happen. Our team is in as good as shape as we can be at this point in the season”
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