The Shenendehowa boys swim team never had a doubt it was going to have a good effort in its home pool at last weekend's Section II Championships.
Still, the way the Plainsmen pulled away from the rest of the pack was impressive.
Shen used its depth of talent to ease to the large school division title for the seventh time in the last eight years. The Plainsmen finished with 536 points, well ahead of second-place Bethlehem (279 points) and third-place Mohonasen/Schalmont (237 points).
What we look at is where we're seeded going into the meet and what we need to do to put ourselves in the best possible position, said Shen coach Chuck Dunham. "If the kids do what they need to do, then the points kind of take care of themselves."
Last Saturday's finals didn't start the way Shen intended it to. Mohonasen/Schalmont's 200-yard medley relay team of Jae Segatto, Nate Resila, Michael Dugan and Matthew Reiss edged the Plainsmen by .17 seconds to claim the title with an All-American consideration time of 1:38.19. Shen's team of Taylor Nichols, Adam Goodcoff, Shayne Buckley and Jake Johnson swam an All-American consideration time of 1:38.36.
Johnson came back strong after the relay loss. The Georgia Tech-bound senior out-touched Dugan at the finish line to win the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.31 seconds, two-hundredths of a second ahead of Dugan.
"Jake said before the finals that he thought it would come down to a hand touch, and he was right," said Dunham.
Johnson had less trouble winning the 100-yard freestyle. After an early challenge by Ballston Spa's Michael Barno, Johnson pulled away in the final 25 yards to take the title with a time of 46.52 seconds. Barno was second with a time of 47.22 seconds.
While Johnson's individual efforts were impressive, it was Shaker's Frankie Dyer who stole the show. The Notre Dame-bound senior earned the most outstanding swimmer award for the second consecutive year after posting All-American times in the 200- and 500-yard freestyles.