EAST HARTFORD - The Southington boys swimming team has had a special season. The list of accolades runs long.
The team did not lose a single meet throughout the regular season. The Blue Knights also picked up their first conference title since 2005 and they competed at the Class LL swim trials on Saturday afternoon and had a great day.
Southington had at least one swimmer compete in every event and at least one swimmer move on to the state finals in all but two events (the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke).
Prior to that, on Thursday, the Blue Knights were also well represented at the Class LL diving event. Southington had four divers compete and sophomore Chase Galayda broke the school record by a wide margin and finished 14th overall, barely missing a State Open bid.
To say that this has been a great season for Southington might be quite an understatement.
“This has been a record-breaking season for us,” head coach Evan Tuttle said. “We won our first conference championship in 12 years, ran the table and it just really has been an historic season. The kids have enjoyed every minute of it.
“We always have the same game plan no matter what season or what meet it is. That plan is to get best times and control the things you can.
“If you control your attitude, your character and your integrity, then you are that much more likely to perform well, so we have had that motto throughout the year and it has served us well.”
One of the great things about this Southington team is its diversity in terms of age. The Blue Knights have a big roster that features a bevy of seniors, but there are also a lot of juniors, sophomores and freshmen on the team that round out the roster about as perfectly as a coach could hope.
“We have a bunch of good freshmen that have come in to round out the team and they have given us solid performances up and down the lineup in every event,” Tuttle said.
“There isn’t really that much of a difference between the seniors and the freshmen,” senior captain Zach Blake said. “The seniors help the freshmen and the freshmen help the seniors. Everyone is learning from everyone on the team.”
As good as the team is now, the future may actually be even brighter than its present.
Going 11-0 in the regular season and winning the conference championship are signs of a great team, but the fact that so many young swimmers have contributed to all of that success makes it so that it will be sustainable in the coming years.
“It’s been huge to have so many seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen,” Tuttle said. “The reason why that is so important, not just for this season, but also for the next few seasons, is we know what it takes to succeed. The freshmen see it, the sophomores see it and the juniors and seniors have led the way and set the example in terms of what we need to do with our work ethic.
“One of my friends once told me that graduating a strong senior class every year is the sign of a good program and we are doing that this year. We have 10 seniors graduating, and it looks like we will be able to do that for the next few years.”
Southington’s senior class has certainly paved the way for the team, as it is now better than it has been in recent memory. Blake believes, though, that when he and his fellow seniors leave, the team will only continue to get better.
“Personally, I feel like once I leave and all the other seniors leave, I think this program will be raised up even another level,” Blake said. “It’s amazing what is happening here.”
Before the Blue Knights start to focus on the future, there is still business to take care of this season.
That includes the Class LL finals, which take place tonight. The event was originally scheduled for Tuesday night, but was moved due to an expected major snowstorm.
The change gives the teams competing just one day off before having to swim again, in a huge meet. Freshman Derek Melanson, who swims in the 500 freestyle, was a little bit concerned about only having the one day between meets, but for the most part everybody else viewed it as a positive.
“I think it’s a good thing,” Blake said. “It makes it so that we only focus on the little things when we work with coach. There is still a lot of room for improvement, but we will be good to go.”
“We will be ready,” Tuttle said. “Everyone is in the same boat and you know it is almost better to have it [tonight] rather than possibly missing two days of practice with the snow on Tuesday and Wednesday. So no, I don’t think it being moved up a day is a big deal for us. We will be ready. We love swimming at Weslyan and so we will be just fine.”
Michael Woolfson can be reached at or On Twitter: @Bigwoolf5