The preliminary rounds of this year’s New York State Boys Swimming and Diving Championships have come and gone, and Jamestown’s Matt Marsh is in contention to add not one, but two more state titles to his resume.
Last year, Marsh came into states as the top seed in the 100-yard freestyle and swam an automatic All-America time of 45.40 seconds on his way to a state crown. He was also runner-up in the 50 freestyle with another automatic All-America time of 20.70 after coming into the race seeded third.
This year, the circumstances are a little different.
The senior comes into Saturday’s finals at the Flickinger Center seeded second in the 100 freestyle after swimming a 46.20 in the preliminary round on Friday. Marsh is also the second seed in the 50 freestyle after a time of 20.86.
Jamestown coach Matt Moore is not the least bit worried, though. He knows it’s nothing Marsh hasn’t been through before.
“We’re definitely where we want to be with Matt,” Moore said. “Going into tomorrow seeded second in both events is perfect for him. ... This isn’t his first rodeo. This isn’t even the biggest meet he’s ever swam in. He knows what he needs to do tomorrow, so right now he’s calm and he’ll be ready to go.”
Marsh, who competed at the Speedo Winter Junior Championships in Atlanta early in December, echoed his coach’s statement.
“Those were solid prelim swims,” the West Virginia commit said. “I have goals. Hopefully I’ll be able to pull off the wins. That’s the goal for tomorrow, so we’ll see where it takes me.”
Hamburg’s relay teams also had solid showings in the preliminary rounds Friday.
Its 200 medley relay team of sophomore Michael Maurer, junior Luke Kennedy and seniors Cody Wittmeyer and Kyle Griffin took fifth place with a 1:36.26. The 200 freestyle relay team, consisting of the same four swimmers, was sixth with a 1:28.12.
“We had our best time in the medley, so any time you get your best time you’re happy with that,” Hamburg coach Andy Godios said. “I would love it if they could drop another second in our medley relay and if we do that, we’ll be right there with Half Hollow Hills for a possible state championship.
“We’re a little bit slower than we wanted to be in the 200 free,” Godios added, “but we started sixth and we’re still sixth so hopefully we can bust out a good time tomorrow.”
Individually for the Bulldogs, Griffin swam the 11th best times in both the 50 and 100 freestyle. And in an unfortunate turn of events, Kennedy was disqualified in the 100 breaststroke for a false start. He was slated eighth heading into the state meet.
“It’s a bad break, but he’s a junior and he’ll be back again next year,” Godios said. “And I’m sure he’ll be ranked even higher than he is this year.”
Williamsville East junior Timothy Finley finished 11th in the one-meter diving finals, posting a score of 432.05.
“I dove OK,” said Finley, who finished 12th as a sophomore. “I was aiming for top 10 but I only missed it by two points, so I’m not that mad about it. ... I definitely need to learn harder dives next year and I’m hoping that it’ll be better next year, hopefully a top five.”
Canisius High School’s best finish from Friday was 13th place in the 400 freestyle relay by sophomore Jake Ruffolo and seniors Sam Sawyer, Nick Herzog and John Quinlan.