The Mohonasen/Schalmont boys swim team targeted 2009 as its breakthrough year.
Two individuals and one relay team won their events to help Mohonasen/Schalmont place second at last Saturday's Section II, Division I (large school) championships at Niskayuna High School. The Rotterdam-based team finished with 266.5 points, it's highest total in its six-year history.
I think this is great because this is the best team I've been part of, said senior Nate Resila. "The progress we've made, and this being the biggest team (in terms of number of swimmers) " I'm so proud of what we've accomplished."
"This is nice. It's a culmination," said Mohonasen/Schalmont coach Bill Mottola.
The first breakthrough came in the 100-yard butterfly when junior Michael Dugan pulled away for a three-second victory over Shenendehowa's Shayne Buckley, making Dugan the first Mohonasen/Schalmont boy to win a Sectional swimming title.
The second breakthrough came in the 200 freestyle relay. Mohonasen/Schalmont waged a battle with Shen for first place that wasn't decided until Dugan out-touched Troy Nichols to give Mohonasen/Schalmont its first relay title. The team of Dugan, Resila, Devin Hallam and Robbie Briskie finished with a time of 1:29.14, less than one second ahead of Shen.
"I knew Troy (Nichols), and I knew he could go fast," said Dugan. "I just gave it all I had."
"He'll do anything to win. He's a competitor," said Mottola.
Resila sealed Mohonasen/Schalmont's second-place finish by winning the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:01.36, a half-second ahead of Shen's Michael Bidwell.
As happy as Resila was to win the race, he was happier to see Briskie also secure a top-five finish. Briskie placed fourth in a time of 1:05.11.
"There was a bunch of Shen kids (in the top five), but Robbie was in there, too," said Resila. "I was happy to see him finish up there."