The Bristol Press – Bristol boys swimming and diving take second place at CCC South Meet

The Bristol Co-op boys swim and dive team wrapped up their regular season at the Central Connecticut Conference – South Meet Friday night in Meriden. The team edged out Middletown for a second place behind Meriden.

The team achieved 27 personal bests, six first-place finishes, three new team records, and four CCC competition records, while adding to the roster for Class L competition.

“It was a phenomenal meeting and experience,” said head coach Adrienne Bentley. “We’ve just come out of injuries and illnesses, so to see the team pull together and fill the gaps, it’s really humbling to see their faces of joy and success.”

Bristol started the competition with a first place finish and a meet record, from there the energy continued with senior Mikel Palaj setting another CCC South meet record and a team record in the 200m fours individual strokes. Palaj was not finished at this point, he won the 500m freestyle, setting a new team record and helped his teammates set another CCC South encounter and a team record in the 400m freestyle relay.

“I think the team went above and beyond, everyone was there for everyone no matter what. As for my last season, I never thought it would happen, I wouldn’t have never thought four years would pass so quickly. I’m so glad everyone made it a meet I’ll never forget, from teammates to coaches to fellow swimmers from other teams. Just want to say thank you to everything the world for these four great years,” says Palaj.

Senior Nathan Stellmach used the energy he generated in the record medley relay victory to win the 50 freestyle, claim the CCC South meet record in the 100 breaststroke and once again help his team set records in the 400 freestyle relay. Stellmach’s start time in the 100 breaststroke was faster than the previous record, so it was only a matter of time to see if he would claim the crown.

“Our performance really showed the result of a lot of hard work and dedication. Everyone on the team came into the season with a purpose and a plan. As well as genuine support for each other, we we were all able to give our best and break records. It was a great way for the seniors to leave their mark. I want to thank everyone for making my transition to another swimming program, welcoming and incredibly easy,” says Captain Nathan Stellmach.

Sophomore Aidan Collins secured another berth in the Class L competition with a third-place finish and the fastest time in the 50-m freestyle. Collins played a valuable role in the 200 medley relay, which had the best times in the relay and in her 100m backstroke.

Junior Davis Kroll scored second fastest in the 100 freestyle and third in the 100 backstroke. In the 200m medley and 400m freestyle relays, Kroll posted the best split times to help her team set records in both events.

Senior skip Noah Taylor scored third with season-best times in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly, as well as swimming a strong leg in the record-breaking 400 freestyle relay.

Junior Jedric Sutula qualified for the Class L competition in diving and achieved a personal best in the 100m backstroke.

Published in The Bristol Press, Bristol Central, Bristol Eastern, St. Paul on Thursday, March 10, 2022 3:36 PM. Updated: Thursday, March 10, 2022 3:39 p.m.

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