Weekly Feature

2009-12-23 / Sports

Determined Tigers’ swim team off to fast start

The Amherst Central boys swim team’s impressive start to the season faced a roadblock with Eden Friday at Amherst Middle School.

Facing a larger opponent did not deter the determination of the veteran Amherst squad, and through many tough swims and top performances, the Tigers edged the Raiders, 49-45, improving to 3-1.

The meet got off to a fast start as Jacob Hofmar-Glennon, Paul Timmel, Nathan Chau and Justin Jenkins won the 200 medley event in 1:50.23, while the second relay of Ben Swiatek, Sean Johnson, Kevin Bardack and Ian Blochwitz finished third. The strong medley teams helped the Tigers get out to a fast 7-3 lead.

Other swims that helped seal a victory for the Tigers included Hofmar-Glennon in the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley, Chau in the 100 butterfly, and Swiatek in the 100 freestyle.

The event that had the most impact on the outcome of the meet turned out to be the 500 free. One hundred yards into the race, the Eden swimmer had a 10-yard lead on Amherst’s Paul Fanara and Allen Dengler.

Refusing to give up, the duo slowly gained on the Eden swimmer, passing him at the 400 mark of the event. Refusing to settle for a close finish, the pair turned up the intensity for the final four lengths of the race, which ended with Fanara winning in 5:52.93 (a personal best by 15 seconds) and Dengler a close second behind. Securing seven of eight points in the event, Fanara and Dengler elevated the Tigers to a commanding 35-23 meet lead.

Although the Amherst swimmers won their share of events, it was the strong second- and third-place finishes that determined the outcome of the meet.

Eighth-grader Dimitri Lippe showed that youth should not be underrated, touching out an Eden swimmer for third in the 200 free. Jenkins took second in the 50 free by an eyelash. Bardack continued to improve in the 100 fly, dropping a second off his personal best on his way to a third-place finish.

With the score 42-34, Amherst found itself with a narrow lead entering the strong events of the Eden lineup. An event that Eden was capable of getting first and second in was the 100 breaststroke, but Timmel had a comeback performance and finished second.

With one event remaining, Amherst’s lead had diminished to 45-39. In order to win, Eden needed a 1-2 finish in the 400 free relay. Showing their strength in the event, the Amherst relay teams finished second and third.

Amherst overcame a 10-point deficit because of diving to open the week with a 94-86 road win Dec. 15 at Cleveland Hill. Amherst had been 0-7 in the past seven years against Cleveland Hill.

It was put on the shoulders of the swimmers to make up the difference, and they delivered.

The relay strength of the team helped secure many necessary points needed for the win. The relay team of Hofmar-Glennon, Timmel, Chau and Jenkins improved on their best time from last year’s ECIC championship meet, swimming 1:49.37 and earning first. The second medley relay of Lippe, Johnson, Bardak and Blochwitz finished third.

The 200 free relay teams repeated the medley’s performance and finished with another 1-3 punch, and the 400 free relay teams finished second and third. The battle for points from the relay events was won by Amherst, securing 26 out of a possible 46.

The 200 IM was the first individual event that helped Amherst. The sophomore trio of Hofmar-Glennon, Fanara and Bardack finished the event with first-, third- and fourth-place times, acquiring 11 of a possible 16 points.

This was not the first event that Amherst would show its dominance. The senior duo of Chau and Dengler finished 1-2 in the 100 fly, and Bardak took two seconds off his best time to place fourth, helping the Tigers take 12 of a possible 16 points in the event.

Other notable swims from the meet included Swiatek (second in 200 free), Jenkins and Blochwitz (50 free), Lippe and Fanara (500 free), Swiatek and Timmel (100 free), Hofmar-Glennon and Chau (100 back), and Timmel and Johnson (100 breast).

Amherst began the season with a 55-38 home win Dec. 8 over Pioneer.

Setting the intensity for the whole meet, the relay team of Hofmar-Glennon, Johnson, Chau and Blochwitz won the 200 medley relay in 1:53.37, more than 10 seconds faster then Pioneer.

Following the strong performance of their peers, the senior duo of Dengler and Swiatek showed their teams’ distance superiority with a 1-2 finish in the 200 free.

The trio of Fanara, Chau and Hofmar Glennon took 1-2-3 in the 200 IM.

Blochwitz and Jenkins swam impressive races in the 50 free to prevent Pioneer’s two best swimmers from gaining ground.

Other winning swims included Chau (100 fy), Dengler (500 free), Hofmar-Glennon (100 back) and Johnson (100 breast).

The 200 relay of Blochwitz, Swiatek, Timmel and Jenkins and the 400 free relay of Dengler, Swiatek, Blochwitz and Hofmar Glennon also swam races in winning times.

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