NEW HAVEN – Avon junior Riley Strassner had hoped his third trip to the State Open would give him the opportunity to win a championship. On Saturday at Yale’s Kiputh Pool, he was on his way.
Swimming in the 200 yard freestyle, Strassner led at the midway point of the race by 0.41 of a second. But Cheshire High junior Karl Bishop took the lead on the third leg of the four-lap race and held off Strassner to win the State Open title in the 200 freestyle by 0.33 of a second.
Bishop won the race in 1:41.44 while Strassner took second in the race for the second straight year with a time of school record time of 1:41.77.
“It was a terrific swim for both of them,” Avon High coach Diana Cesaro said. “Riley was disappointed at first but it was a great race and a great time. Open is fast swimming all around.” Strassner did bring home two medals, taking fifth in the 100 yard freestyle with an another school record time of 47.06 seconds.
His two medal-winning performances helped Avon finish 20th at the State Open with 89 points – their best performances ever at the State Open.
Sophomore Kyle Emery, competing at the Open for the second consecutive year, took 11th in the 100 yard backstroke with a time of 54.98, just 0.2 of a second off his best time in the event. He was 19th a year ago.
Avon’s 400 freestyle relay team came in 16th with a school record time of 3:22.93. The relay team included sophomore Matt Bagley, Stephen Pang, Emery and Strassner. It’s the best finish by an Avon relay team at the State Open.