NISKAYUNA: Shen swims past competition

Shenendehowa had been the top boys swim team all season.

Saturday, the Plainsmen capped their return to glory by running away with the class A team title at the Section II championships in Niskayuna. Shen finished with 381 points, while defending champion Niskayuna placed second with 330 points.

We set our expectations pretty high, but this is a goal that they (the swimmers) set back before the season began, said first-year Shen coach Chuck Dunham. "They had the drive and the work ethic to do it."

Ryan Brauer and Alex Kalish " who rejoined the team after a year off from high school swimming " led the Plainsmen with some impressive individual performances. Brauer pulled away to win the 200-yard individual medley in a time of 1:57.25, but he had to fend off a challenge from Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake's Jamie Matthews to win the 100 butterfly with a time of 53.35 seconds.

"I knew he was there," Brauer said of Matthews, who placed second in a time of 53.76 seconds. "He was one person I knew who was going to be there (with me) the whole race. I was just happy to pull it out at the end."

Brauer was part of another exciting finish in the 200 freestyle relay. Bethlehem's Larry Gloeckler " who won the 50 and 100 freestyles " swam an anchor leg split of 21.05 seconds to pull nearly even with Brauer at the finish line, but Brauer out-touched Gloeckler to give Shen a three-hundredths of a second victory over Bethlehem. Both teams finished with All-American consideration times " 1:27.78 for Shen, and 1:27.81 for Bethlehem.

"That took a few years off my life expectancy, but it was great to win it with how fast the Section was," said Dunham.

"That relay is the best I've seen in a long time," said Bethlehem coach John Andrews. "It would have been nice to win it, but the object is to do your best, and we did that."

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