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SEAY THIS ABOUT MCKINLEY STAR: HE'S A WINNER

His coach called him "the best swimmer in Western New York," and after Saturday's performance that didn't seem like a stretch.

McKinley's Tommy Seay was the only double winner at the 43rd annual Section VI Swimming and Diving Championships at the Erie Community College Burt Flickinger Aquatic Center.

The meet also was a qualifier for the 41st annual New York State Championships, which return to Buffalo for the second consecutive year March 2-3.

"The reason he's the best swimmer in Western New York is because he can do everything," said McKinley coach Marty Gregory. "Not many kids can swim in the states in a multitude of events. Usually, you're a breaststroker or a backstroker and you stick with that. He can swim in any event."

Seay's choice of events at sectionals (he could only swim in two) were the 50 freestyle, which he won in a blazing 21.22 (just off the sectional record of 21.17), and the 100 freestyle, which he took in 47.17. Seay has a realistic chance of winning both events at states.

He will have plenty of company in his chase for state titles. Section VI, benefiting from the state lowering its qualifying time to increase participation, qualified seven swimmers each in the 50 and 100, and five in the 100 butterfly.

Clarence, the fastest-rising program in Western New York, qualified all three of its relay teams, while winning the 200 medley and 200 freestyle. A pair of freshmen, Steve Inacker and Dan Glauber, were on all three relays for the Red Devils. Inacker, Glauber, Duncan Carranza and Matt Guay took the 200 free relay in a season-best 1:29.40.

Orchard Park also established the season best in the 400 free relay as Matt Szrama, Dave Newberry, Mark Bender and Jeff Organisciak finished in 3:13.87. The Quakers also dominated the 200 freestyle, taking the top three places, all in state-qualifying times. Szrama won in 1:44.26, followed by Organisciak (1:46.63) and Bender (1:48.84). Szrama broke the school record of 1:44.68 held by recent Michigan graduate Keith Fuhrhop.

Jamestown's Dave Leibers won the 200 individual medley for the third year in a row. He said his strongest stroke was the butterfly, which he swam in 23.9.

Junior Pat Lee of North Tonawanda won the diving with a school-record 519.05 points. He held a slim eight-point lead after the preliminaries Friday, and nailed his three remaining dives in the final to win. He scored eights from the judges on his front 1 1/2 with two twists. Sophomore Josh Olson of Williamsville North, who set the ECIC and Sectional VI records at the ECIC meet, finished second with 494.10 points.

Senior Brian Calandra of Frontier didn't let the pressure of being the defending champion in the 100 butterfly affect him. He wrapped up another title in 52.86, bettering his 53.75 from last year. "I just go out and swim like an animal," he said.

Also defending his title was East Aurora's D.J. Hogenkamp, who won the 100 backstroke in a career-best 52.60, bettering last year's winning effort of 53.41.

Junior Jamie Miller of Frontier swam a WNY-leading 4:48.91 to win the 500 freestyle. Szrama, the defending champion, was second in 4:55.34.

Sophomore Mark Tedeschi said hit was his preparation that helped him win the 100 breaststroke for Orchard Park in a career-best 1:02.28.

The meet was held in memory Richard M. Keeney, 68, a popular educator at Sweet Home and swimming and diving coach who died of a heart attack May 8, 2000 in his Town of Tonawanda home. Keeney founded the Sweet Home swimming program and coached his teams to more than 300 wins.

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