As in seasons past, a top swimmer from Skaneateles has to go elsewhere to get a full dose of competition, but still makes his own school proud through winning championships.
Matt Leverich was twice victorious in Thursday’s Section III Class C championship meet at New Hartford, rolling to first place in both the 200 and 500-yard freestyle events.
During the regular season, Leverich trains and competes with Auburn, but they had to part ways for the sectionals.
Years of having the event at Nottingham High School’s Max Newman Pool changed when Section III officials, concerned with injuries caused by loose bulkheads in the girls sectional meet last fall, moved the boys championships to various venues - Class C to New Hartford, Class A and B to Rome Free Academy.
Thus, Leverich was by himself on Thursday for the sectional meet, in more ways than one, given the way he dominated both of the races.
First, in the 200 freestyle Leverich steadily got away from Holland Patent’s Barrett Celecki, finishing in one minute, 48.94 seconds, and beating Celecki by 3.57 seconds. It was the third-fastest time in Section III this winter.
But that paled next to the longer race, the 500 freestyle, where Leverich left everyone in his wake, roaring well under the five-minute mark as he finished in 4:54.59, leaving HP’s Chris Celecki (5:12.54) nearly 18 seconds behind in second place.
This mark was the second-quickest sectional time in the 500 free behind West Genesee’s Collin Zapisek (4:54.59), but now Leverich would get his chance against the large-school powers when the overall sectional meet took place Saturday at Hamilton College.
In the 500 freestyle, Leverich improved to 4:53.90, and held off two other swimmers, Watertown's Andrew Marilley and Jamesville-DeWitt/CBA's Cory Knapp, who tied for third with 4:54.38, and only trailed Zapisek, who won in 4:46.76.
Earlier, in the 200 freestyle final, Leverich went half a second faster than in the Class C meet for a time of 1:48.40, and found himself in fourth place. Again, it was Zapisek prevailing in 1:44.38, with Knapp (1:47.35) and J-D/CBA teammate Cole Speidel (1:48.39) second and third, respectively.