The final day of Mike Klugo’s high school swimming career couldn’t have gone much better.
The Horseheads senior posted career-best times in the 100-yard freestyle and 200 freestyle Saturday at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association boys swimming and diving championships at the Webster Aquatic Center.
He finished ninth overall in the 100 in 47.09 seconds and 11th in the 200 in 1:42.87.
The 100 was the final high school race for Klugo, who let the moment sink in.
“It was really exhilarating and I just remember looking up at the crowd at my parents and some friends that came along to support me, and the music from the finals heat was coming up and playing,” he said. “It was just a really exciting time and I was overwhelmingly excited.”
In the 200 freestyle consolation finals, Klugo finished nearly a full second ahead of the career best of 1:43.84 he set in prelims. The time was especially significant for Klugo, who set a personal best of 1:46.03 last year at states and had a top time of 1:44.43 this season heading into the weekend.
“In the beginning of the season I knew I wanted to go out with a bang,” he said. “I could have never dreamed that I’d get down in the 1:42 range. If somebody told me that I would do that this year, I would have said they were crazy.
“Last year I had a very low 1:46 and was hoping for 1:45. I think I kind of used that as motivation over the summer. For the first time I really worked out and got stronger.”
Klugo’s time in the 100 was also far faster than Friday’s personal best, which was 47.55. He finished first in the consolation race, which included spots 9-16 from the prelims.
“Right when I jumped in it felt so weird because I knew that this would be the last swim for varsity that I’d ever be swimming,” he said. “I still can’t believe it. I think it pushed me, to be honest.”
Klugo plans to attend Monroe Community College, where he will continue his swim career.
“It was really nice to watch,” Horseheads coach Jared Zembek of Klugo’s farewell meet. “He’s been with me for six years and to have him step up for the last two years of his high school career and generate those types of times … The fact that he was able to step up and perform like that was pretty impressive. He’s very excited and I’m excited too.”
Elsewhere, Corning junior Peter Behan placed 15th in the 50 freestyle in 21.99 seconds and 21st in the 100 freestyle in 47.98.
Devin Li, another Corning junior, placed 23rd in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:00.75 in the bonus finals.
Ithaca junior Ryan Nicholson broke the state record with his winning time of 48s.30 seconds in the 100 butterfly. The old mark of 48.37 was set in 2009 by Thomas Luchsinger of Mt. Sinai.
Nicholson’s day also included a runner-up finish in the 200 individual medley in 1:51.99. Ryan Gordon of Shenendehowa won in 1:49.89. Gordon later earned the title in the 100 backstroke (49.40).
After his butterfly victory, Nicholson helped the Little Red finish second in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:25.93. His leadoff time of 20.49 broke his day-old Section 4 50 freestyle mark of 20.50.
He closed the meet by helping Ithaca take fifth in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:11.18.