The Horace Greeley boys swim team won a close 200 medley relay, the opening event of a dual meet against Suffern Tuesday, and did not look back. The Quakers never relinquished their lead in a 102-84 victory in their home pool at Purchase College.
“We saw that (Suffern) beat Tappan Zee. We’ve known them for all of these last few years as being really good,” Greeley senior Risten Clarke said. “So that came across to us as something we needed to prepare for. We looked at their results and saw what we needed to do to win.”
Despite trailing 92-80 heading into the meet’s final race, the 400 free relay, Mounties had a chance to win the meet if they swept the top three spots. But Greeley’s teams finished first and third, sealing the win.
“It came to be close,” Suffern senior Kevin Araujo said. “It was definitely a fight to the end.”
Araujo was part of the dramatic 200 medley relay that got the meet started. With Greeley and Suffern’s top teams racing next to each other in lanes three and four, respectively, it was the Quakers who won by a split second, 1 minute, 45.45 seconds to 1:45.71.
“It’s a heartbreak when you get tapped out like that, when the smallest thing could have put you on top,” Araujo said. “But you move on from it, you figure out where to make up those points that you lost.”
One of the more impressive showings of the afternoon came from Clarke during the 100 free. He took a commanding lead and held off Suffern’s streaking Josh Southren toward the end.
“It’s definitely a quick race. There’s no real time to slack off,” said Clarke, whose time of 49.66 gave him a comfortable finish. “Right off the start you’ve got to be quick, got to get moving. That was my goal, to get off to a quick lead and then see if I could hold it and get the win.”
Suffern’s Andrew Garcia also turned heads with his performance in the 50 free, finishing with a speedy time of 23.46 despite finding the wall at the Purchase pool unfamiliar.
“I had a good start,” the senior said. “The wall is a little different than our pool. I was kind of focusing on getting my kick right, hitting the wall right and just breaking out. It’s a little shorter than our wall and has a gutter.”
Despite the loss, Garcia noted that swimming against tough competition like defending Section 1 champion Greeley can only help his team as the postseason approaches. He was especially proud of the less experienced swimmers on the Mounties.
“We expected our younger ones to rise up. We don’t have too many older kids. We’ve been relying on the three and four finishes instead of the one and two,” Garcia said. “It was good to see the younger guys step up and take a lot of places because we did graduate a big group last year.”