Darien swimmers star at CIAC Class L preliminaries

The Darien Blue Wave swimmers earned 16 places in the fast heats, including five tops seeds, during a fine performance, at the CIAC Class L preliminaries Saturday at East Hartford High School.
The Wave’s efforts, combined with a strong showing from divers Owen Stevens and Wiley Schmidt, who took the top two spots at the diving finals on Friday, sets up Darien for a strong finish at the swim finals, which will be held at 6 p.m., Wednesday, at Wesleyan University.
Darien was exceptional in the relay races at Saturday’s prelims, finishing as the No. 1 seed in both the 200- and 400-yard freestyles, and the No. 2 seed in the 200-yard medley.
The 200 freestyle team, which featured juniors Matthew Freeman and Connor Zielinski, sophomore Conway Zhou, and senior Kevin Grune, won its race in 1:31.94; while the 400 freestyle team, which featured junior Spencer Erickson, senior Chris Zhang, junior Karl Wadleigh, and sophomore Connor Martin, won in 3:14.86.
The 200 medley team of Erickson, sophomore Nico Clark, Martin and Grune was second in 1:38.69, just a second off the pace of 1:37.67, set by Amity.
The Wave has three individual No. 1 seeds, including Wadleigh in the 200 freestyle (1:44.46), Martin in the 100 butterfly (52.00), and Erickson in the 100 backstroke (53.63).
At the state meets, the top eight spots from the preliminaries will race in the fast heat at the finals, and swimmers in that race can finish no lower than eighth place, even if a swimmer in a slower heat delivers a faster time.
Darien should pick up a lot of points in the 200 freestyle, with three swimmers competing in the fast heat. New Canaan has two swimmers in that fast heat, while Amity, Pomperaug and Sputh Windsor have one each.
The Wave’s 200 freestyle trio is led by Wadleigh with the top seed, followed by Erickson in fourth (1:46.48) and Zhang in eighth (1:49.35).
Darien also has two swimmers in the fast heats of the 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke, and 100 breaststroke. In the 100 fly, Martin is first and Zhou is fifth (54.47); in the 100 back, Erickson is first and senior Connor Henry is eighth (56.28); and in the 100 breast, Clark is third (1:01.08), and senior Alexander Dehmel is sixth (1:02.03).
Other Wave swimmers in the fast heats are Martin in the 50 freestyle (4th, 22.23); Zhou in the 200 IM (5th, 2:01.38); Zhang in the 500 freestyle (5th, 4:52.50); and Wadleigh in the 100 freestyle (6th, 49.06).
Here are the complete results for Darien swimmers at Saturday’s Class L preliminary meet.
200 Medley Relay: 2 – Darien (Spencer Erickson, Nico Clark, Connor Martin, Kevin Grune), 1:38.69
200 Freestyle: 1 – Karl Wadleigh, 1:44.46; 4 – Spencer Erickson, 1:46.48; 8 – Chris Zhang, 1:49.35; 16 – Pragun Sharma, 1:54.07
200 Individual Medley: 5 – Conway Zhou, 2:01.38; 9 – Anthony Barsanti, 2:04.30; 10 – Frederick Tuck, 2:04.40; 25 – Jack Stobbie, 2:12.05
50 Freestyle: 4 – Connor Martin, 22.23; 9 – Matthew Freeman, 22.85; 21 – Connor Zielinski, 23.50; 28 – Connor Henry, 23.80
100 Butterfly: 1 – Connor Martin, 52.00; 5 – Conway Zhou, 54.47; 14 – Alexander Dehmel, 56.01; 16 – Harris Fitzpatrick, 56.65
100 Freestyle: 6 – Karl Wadleigh, 49.06; 9 – Nico Clark, 50.26; 10 – Connor Zielinski, 50.34; 29 – Nicholas Giotis, 52.82
500 Freestyle: 5 – Chris Zhang, 4:52.50; 9 – Hayden Puff, 4:58.53; 12 – Pragun Sharma, 5:00.05; 15 – Tobias Trygg, 5:06.76
200 Freestyle Relay: 1 – Darien (Matthew Freeman, Connor Zielinski, Conway Zhou, Kevin Grune), 1:31.94
100 Backstroke: 1 – Spencer Erickson, 53.63; 8 – Connor Henry, 56.28; 15 – Nicholas Giotis, 58.33;16 – Frederick Tuck, 58.36
100 Breaststroke: 3 – Nico Clark, 1:01.08; 6 – Alexander Dehmel, 1:02.03; 10 – Anthony Barsanti, 1:03.47; 17 – Cormac Brown, 1:05.07
400 Freestyle Relay: 1 – Darien (Spencer Erickson, Chris Zhang, Karl Wadleigh, Connor Martin), 3:14.86
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Darien junior Spencer Erickson earned the No. 1 seed in the 100 backstroke during the CIAC Class L swim preliminary meet Saturday in East Hartford. — Dave Stewart photo

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