MIDDLETOWN, March 11 – A week ago, Avon High’s 200-yard freestyle relay team set a new school record while finishing second in the Class M boys swimming trials.
The team of senior Justin Arroyo, senior Chris Chute, junior Rahul Kumar and senior Andre Richard finished second behind Wethersfield, just 0.11 of a second behind the Eagles.
On Monday night, Richard passed two swimmers in the final 50 yards to lift Avon to a stunning victory and a state championship win in the 200 freestyle relay. It was the first relay team in school history to win a state title in swimming.
It wasn’t the only gold medal for the Falcons. Senior Maksymilian Jaremko led from start to finish to capture the 200 yard freestyle race to help Avon finish seventh at Monday’s Class M championship meet at Wesleyan University.
Jaremko also took second in the 500 freestyle while Avon’s 400 freestyle relay team finished second to earn All-State honors. The top two finishers in each event are named All-State.
Avon was in third place in the 200 freestyle relay and trailed Wethersfield and Pomperaug after the first leg of the race, second leg and third leg. When Richard dove into the water for the anchor leg, he trailed Pomperaug’s final swimmer by a full second and Wetherfield’s fourth swimmer by 0.4 of a second.
Richard swam a time of 21.79 to help Avon turn in a new school-record time of 1:30.34 to win the state championship. Wethersfield was second (1:30.48), 0.14 of a second behind the Falcons with Pomperaug third with a time of 1:30.87.
“The field was fast but Rahul and Andre knew they had to pull us back to the finish,” Avon High coach Diana Cesaro said. Rahul swam a 21.87 leg to keep the Falcons in contention.
In the individual 200 freestyle race, it wasn’t so dramatic but it was close. Jarmeko led from start to finish with a winning time of 1:46.27. Hand’s William Porter finished second with a time of 1:46.39, 0.12 of a second behind. Masuk sophomore Joseph Nizzado was third in 1:46.90.
“(Maksymilian) had a good swim in the 200,” Cesaro said. “We talked about strategy and where he needed to push. He will swim faster at (State) Open.”
In the 500 freestyle, it was Nizzado with a decisive victory in 4:44.86. Jaremko was second with a time of 4:51.48.
Avon’s 400 yard freestyle relay team (Richard, Chute, Kumar, Jaremko) set a new school record with a time of 3:19.56 but it wasn’t fast enough to beat Pomperaug, which won the race with a time of 3:15.94.
Richard finished seventh in the 50 freestyle, which was hampered with timing issues. Some of the timing equipment wasn’t working properly so meet officials used hand watches for timing. One heat of the 50 free was re-swum after the entire meet was complete. Richard finished seventh with a time of 22.54 seconds.
Arroyo also brought home a top 10 finish, taking eighth in the 100 breast stroke with a time of 1:03.11.
Pomperaug won the Class M championship with a dominant performance. The Panthers scored 810 points, nearly doubling the amount of points scored by Hand (435) in second place. Mausk (420) was third. Avon (305) finished seventh for their sixth straight top 10 finish.
Jaremko will be swimming two events – the 200 free and 500 free – at Thursday night’s State Open championship meet at Yale’s historic Kiphuth Exhibition Pool. Avon’s 400 freestyle and 200 freestyle relay teams are also competing. Action begins at 7 p.m.
NOTABLE: Jaremko is just the third Avon boys swimmer to win an individual state championship. Riley Strassner won the 200 free in 2014 and 2015 in Class M while Jon Feldman won the Class S title in diving in 2007. … Avon finished 5-6-1 this season with a 4-1 record in the CCC North, second behind league champion Wethersfield (14-2, 5-0).