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Hall Swimmers and Divers Notch Perfect Season

Carson Raisner won the 100 backstroke. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Hall’s perfect record for the season was on the line headed into the annual competition between West Hartford’s high school swimming and diving teams Tuesday at Cornerstone Aquatics Center.

By Paul Palmer. Photos by Ronni Newton

It came down to one meet against in-town rival Conard as the Hall boys swimming and diving team looked to complete an undefeated season.

Thanks to an abundance of the depth, the Warriors wrapped up their unbeaten CCC season Tuesday with a 98-83 victory.  “They worked hard all season,” longtime Hall coach John McClure said of his squad. “We have good depth in most places and our divers are a help,” he added.

It was that very depth that made the difference in the meet held at Cornerstone Tuesday afternoon. Through the first three events, Conard held its own against a team that carried twice as many swimmers. Led by the 1-2 finish in the 200-yard freestyle by senior Liam Switzer and freshman Alexander Petit, Conard trailed by just 2 points after the two events – but that was as close as they would come.

Justice Seymour. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Hall seniors Andrew Sun and Mitch Baboff took the top two spots in the 200-yard individual medley to help push the lead to 6. One event later it was senor Kobe Dominguez leading the sweep by winning the 50-yard freestyle followed by fellow senior Chris Liddell and junior Aidan Dorian.

Hall senior swimmers. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

After the meet, Hall’s McClure praised the four-year commitment of his senior swimmers. “The seniors are invested in this team. They’ve been very, very enthusiastic and it doesn’t hurt that they all are pretty good swimmers.”

Hall’s Jonah Genser broke his own school diving record. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Heading into the diving event, Hall led by 16 and then it was sophomore Jonah Genser breaking his own school record by 7 points, earning a score of 236 points en route to winning the event.

The Warriors would use their depth to then take two of the top three spots in the next four events, outscoring the Chieftains 40-21.

Dominguez – who will swim for Southern Connecticut State next year – and Conard’s Switzer chased each other to the wall in the 100-yard freestyle.

Sophomore Carson Raisner would won the first of his two events in the 100-yard butterfly and Hunter Keena, Liam Hosey, and Dominic Roussous finished 2-3-4 behind Conard’s Petit in the 500-freestyle.

Liam Hosey. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Conard’s first-year head coach Amy Poulton knew her outmanned club would not go quietly. “The boys had some personal best times today and fought as hard as they could,” she said.

One of Conard’s highlights came from Switzer in the 200-yard freestyle relay. With Hall holding the first three places as the anchor legs entered the water, Switzer – who’ll be attending college in Canada next year – gutted out an amazing 50-yard sprint to move the Chieftains into a second place finish.

One event later, it was Raisner taking his win in the backstroke, followed by Conard senior Charles Krajc and freshman Nick Hall. The Warriors’ Liddell and Patrick Sullivan would take the final two spots, and Hall had an insurmountable lead and the undefeated season secured.

Justice Seymour checks his time after winning the 100-yard breaststroke. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Both coaches praised the perseverance and season-long focus and effort by their teams in a season that was impacted by the COVID-19 virus. The two teams will face each other in one week in a “State’s Experience Meet” – an un-scored meet where the times achieved in the pool will go towards state championship status. The meet will replace the cancelled State Open normally held at Yale University featuring the fastest swimmers in Connecticut.

“I’m excited all the swimmers will be in that meet,” said Conard’s Poulton. “It’s maybe the one blessing [COVID] has given us.”

McClure expressed similar sentiments and pointed to at least one goal on his swimmer’s radar. “The 200-yard freestyle relay team is shooting to break the school record. They haven’t swum as a relay unit yet this season,” he said. “But their individual times are close when you combine them.”

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Hall team gathers before the meet. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Justice Seymour. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Daniel Kaman. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Jonah Genser. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Ryan Mendoza. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Max Langweil. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Jonah Genser. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Patrick Sullivan. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Carson Raisner, 100-yard butterfly. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Aidan Dorian, 100-yard free. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Michael Neff, 100-yard free. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Ben Hammond, 500-ayrd free. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Connor Bankoff, 500-yard free. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Alexander Pettit wins the 500-yard free. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

200-yard freestyle relay. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Hall team. Hall vs. Conard boys swimming and diving. March 16, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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