Darien caps great swimming and diving season at State Open

The Darien Blue Wave boys swimming and diving team put the finishing touches on its best postseason in well over a decade with a sixth-place finish in the CIAC State Open championships last week.
The Wave had nine athletes — seven swimmers and two divers — qualify for the Open, and that group collected 281 points to finish just ahead of rival New Canaan, which was seventh with 264 points. Darien lost to its rival in this season’s dual meet, but finished ahead of New Canaan at the FCIAC, Class L and Open meets.
The strong showing at the Open capped a terrific postseason for the Blue Wave, which finished fourth in the FCIAC before capturing its first state championship in 17 years when it won the Class L title last Wednesday.
As was the case in Class L, Darien received big points from its two senior divers, Owen Stevens and Wiley Schmidt, who collected 52 points last Thursday at Bulkeley High School.
Stevens, who won the Class L title by breaking the 500-point barrier for the first time in his career, went past that number again in Open competition, scoring 505.35 to finish in second place. He was fewer than 10 points behind Norwalk/McMahon’s Kevin Bradley, the FCIAC and Class LL champ, who scored 515.15 at the Open.
Devon Satir of Greenwich was third at 504.70, and Schmidt fell just short of 500 points, finishing fourth with a score of 499.80.
The Open swim competition was held Saturday at Yale, and Darien earned five top-five finishes.
The top showing came from sophomore Connor Martin, who was second in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 51.07. Ben Feldman of the Westhill/Stamford co-op won the event in 50.08, less than a second faster than Martin.
In the opening race, the 200-yard medley relay, junior Spencer Erickson, sophomore Nico Clark, Martin, and senior co-captain Chris Zhang finished fifth in 1:37.51.
Erickson was quickly back in the pool for the next race and took fifth place in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:43.14. Junior Karl Wadleigh was 15th in 1:46.09.
Sophomore Conway Zhou finished 23rd in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:02.17, and Martin was 14th in the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.07 seconds.
In the 500 freestyle, Zhang took 16th place in 4:49.64.
Erickson was strong in the 100 backstroke, finishing third in 52.10 seconds, with senior Connor Henry 21st in 55.40. Liam Colleran of Fairfield Prep was first (50.90), and Colin Mackellar was second (51.91).
Clark clocked in at 1:00.23 and finished in 15th place in the 100 breaststroke.
Darien then ended the meet with a fourth-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay, as Erickson, Zhang, Wadleigh, and Martin delivered a time of 3:11.77.
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The Wave’s Nico Clark competes in a freestyle race during a dual meet this winter. — Dave Stewart photo

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