There are only three returning swimmers who won Section VI boys titles last season. Two happen to come from perennial Class A contender Hamburg.
Senior Michael Maurer, the defending champ in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke, and classmate Liam O’Connell, last year’s winner in the 500 freestyle, are both headed for Canisius College next year, where they’ll reunite with former Bulldog relay partners Lucas Kennedy and Kyle Griffin.
Despite having won sectional titles, Maurer and O’Connell both face stiff competition from Williamsville East in their efforts to repeat.
O’Connell is currently second in Section VI in the 200 and 500 free, 1.01 and 1.89 seconds behind East freshman Andrew Clough in the respective events. O’Connell recently reclaimed his own pool record in the 500 free, which was broken by Andrew Clough the week prior. O’Connell also broke a 29-year-old pool record at Hamburg in December in the 200 free.
“Liam knows there’s some stiff competition in Andrew Clough from Williamsville East, but he doesn’t back down from challenges,” Hamburg coach Andy Godios said. “He’s going to give it his best shot to win those events.”
Maurer is second behind Andrew Clough in the 200 IM by 1.16 seconds. He’s third in a competitive 100 backstroke field, .42 seconds behind East senior Michael Clough and .17 behind Andrew Clough. Maurer improved on his own school record in the backstroke earlier this season.
While Maurer and O’Connell are qualified for states in those four events, Godios said he’s looking to meet the standard in two more.
The 200 freestyle relay team of Maurer, senior Aydan Stormer, junior Nate McMillen and O’Connell is 1.03 seconds away from the qualifying standard. The 400 free relay of Maurer, Stormer, junior Brandon Kuppel and O’Connell won at ECICs in 3:23.33, which is 2.72 seconds away.