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Lockport relays let the good times roll Ken West's Dressel swims All-American times in 200, 500

The notion that only year-round swimmers can excel in high school was blown out of the water on Saturday by Lockport.

The Lady Lions won two relays, had a double winner and ran away in the team scoring at the Section VI Swimming and Diving Championships at Erie Community College.

Lockport coach Ron Zugelder made reference to Marissa Dressel of Kenmore West, Courtney Otto of West Seneca West and Paige Gutkowski of Sweet Home among the many high school swimmers who train year round.

"We don't have that luxury. Emily Scott won four events today and she doesn't even belong to a club," he said. "We really have to compact a lot into the 12-week season. Every day is planned out. We do 30 minutes of dry land and I think that builds a lot of strength in a short amount of time. It's a nice little family and they've bought into what we're selling."

Scott won the 50 free in 24:55 and the 100 free in a 53.83, both school records. She teamed with Rachel Chapman, Lacy McKenna and Caroline Tolli to swim a season best 1:40.49 to win the 200 free relay. The foursome of Scott, Chapman, Tolli and Laura Bohneberg set a school record in winning the 400 free relay (3:39.74).

"We've had some really good relays the last 10 years," said Zugelder. "And Orchard Park -- we were up against the No. 1 relay in the state every year. It was very rewarding to actually get on top of the [awards] podium."

As a team, Lockport scored 285 points to run away from the 31-team field. Runnerup Jamestown totaled 173. The sectional meet was also a qualifier for the New York State Championships Nov. 16-17 at the Nassau County Aquatic Center (Section VIII).

Dressel advances to states as the Section VI record holder in the 200 free. Her time of 1:50.22 in the sectional final not only broke her own section record of 1:51.92, it also earned her automatic All-American status.

"When I dove in I kind of knew I was going to have a good swim," said Dressel. "I knew it was going to turn out good somehow, but I didn't think I was going to go that fast."

Dressel had plenty left over from the 200 free to win the 500 free in another automatic All-American time of 4:57.46.

Olean made its bus ride home a more enjoyable one after its 200 medley relay of Beth Leroy, Grace Williamson, Rachel Bantelman and Emilee Close won in a school record 1:52.19. They entered sectionals with a seed time of 1:56.15. It had been 21 years since Olean won a relay at sectionals.

Gutkowski won a close battle with rivals Victoria Jacumski of Clarence and Madi Sherry of Orchard Park in the 100 breast. Gutkowski went 1:06.52 to out-touch defending champion Jacumski (1:06.58) and Sherry (1:06.81). "My last 50 is usually strong," said Gutkowski. "This is the one race I really wanted to win and I knew I had to do it."

A pair of freshmen made statements at sectionals. Otto led from the start in the 200 individual medley, finishing in a personal record 2:08.79. "I race them a lot and I look up to them, but it's nice to be able to beat everyone," said Otto. "I'm not as good as I want to be yet. I'm just going to keep working to get better."

Jamestown freshman Lauren Caldwell went 59.72 in the 100 butterfly to edge Janelle Munroe of Williamsville East (59.83). Caldwell said she could sense Munroe and Frewsburg's Juliana Walker were near. "There were two girls next to me who were really close," said Caldwell. "There was a lot of competition and that's what got me pumped up. I felt like I had a lot of adrenaline."

Munroe made up for her disappointment in the fly and won the 100 backstroke in 1:01.45. She was pushed by Frontier freshman Rachel Haferle, who touched in 1:01.64.

Bob Walsh Sr., 80, was honored before the meet for his contributions to swimming. Walsh was presented a plaque by Section VI officials recognizing his 51 years of service as a official. He was also Frontier's coach from 1958-1968.

Casey Matthews of Williamsville North is one of five divers who qualified for states on Thursday. Her score of 550.15 broke the Section VI record. Matthews will be going after the state record of 561.8 at states.


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