The joint Westhill/Stamford team put perennial powerhouse Greenwich High on noticeit can compete with the best in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference in swimming. Westhill/Stamford took the Cardinals to the brink as Thursday's meet at the GHS pool came down to the final lap of the final race of the day. Greenwich's Michael Dustin overtook Westhill/Stamford's Igor Sytnyk to grab first place in the 400-freestyle relay and the meet, 95-91.
"I think we showed today that in two months, come FCIAC's, we're going to be tough," Westhill/Stamford coach Rick Lewis said. "We don't have just one guy in a given event. We have two, three or four guys that are going to score in every event. Our depth is really developing well."
Few spectators thought that Westhill/Stamford would have a chance to win entering the final race of the day. Sean Burston, Robbie Katz and Lauren Cunningham finished 2-3-4 in the diving portion to tie the meet at 39 points. Then Kris Bittel (5:07.35), Sam Kitain (5:11.62) and Kurt Bittel (5:13.22) took the top three spots in the 500-yard freestyle, and suddenly Westhill/Stamford had a shot to win.
Andrew Hendrickson (57.16) and Kareem Saleh (58.46) finished first and second in the 100-yard backstroke. Michael Hopkins (1:03.32), Cameron Yick (1:03.60) and Justo Karell (1:06.24) finished 2-3-4 in the 100-yard breaststroke to set up the final dramatics.
"I'm really proud of the [final] relay guys. It's tough to coming here and competing with [Greenwich head coach] Terry Lowe's seniors," Lewis said. "We're more of a distance team, and they're so good at sprinting. That's one thing we're really going to work on."
Westhill/Stamford will have to bounce back quickly as it takes on Wilton at 3:45 p.m. today at the Wilton YMCA.
Do you think Westhill/Stamford can compete for the boys swimming FCIAC title this season? Start the discussion below!
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