Matt Tanchick earns swimmer of the meet for the Panthers, who score 471 points to hold off second place Fairport. Patrick Ransford also record two first-place finishes for Pittsford.
Despite having the top seed in several events, and a nine-year streak as sectional champion, Pittsford boys swimming head coach Mark Morris came into the Section 5 Class A finals with plenty of anxiety.
“I wasn’t sure we were going to get to number 10,” Morris said.
The team who was causing the long-time Panther coach sleepless nights? Fairport, who handed Pittsford their only loss in a dual meet this winter.
The Red Raiders dished out everything they could to the Panthers but in the end, the Section 5 trophy was heading back to Pittsford for another year.
The Panthers scored 471 points to take first at Saturday’s finals at the Webster Aquatic Center. Pittsford was lead by junior Matt Tanchick, who earned swimmer of the meet after winning the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke and was part of two second-place relays.
“Sectionals is something we always try to get up for,” Morris said. “The kids swam well, good prelims and fantastic today. I am real proud of the relays, and all of the kids efforts today.”
The Panthers have used their depth to build their reputation as the best program in Section 5. This was on display Saturday as Pittsford had at least one athlete finish in the top-five in each race.
After narrowly losing to Fairport in the opening 200 medley relay, Patirck Ransford won the 200 free. Ransford later won the 500 free in dominating fashion taking first by over 15 seconds and earning All-American consideration after finishing in 4:35.97.
“Our team really pulled together,” Tanchick said. “It was a great thing to win my races, but it was even better to have someone pushing me hard in both my races. They really helped me get to where I needed to be today.”
The Red Raiders pushed the Panthers the entire afternoon as Charlie Morales, John Holden, Alex LaPoint and David Howard edged Pittsford’s relay by six tenths of a second in the opening race. Senior Evan Zheng punched his ticket to states by winning the 100 free (46.99).
Morales came back to overtake the field and win the 100 back in 53.53. Morales, Zheng, LaPoint and Richard Waterhouse closed out the meet by winning the 400 free relay (3:13.47).
“I was really nervous, I was really scared because I didn’t think we were going to win,” Morales said about the relay. “We went out as hard as we could and it was great to win. We were very happy.”
Penfield’s Jason Gerlach gave Tanchick a run for swimmer of the meet as the senior earned the 100 fly title and teamed with Joe Mulvehill, Jeff Doser and Chris Gnam to win the 200 free relay. Brockport freshman Nick Olson held off Howard to win the 50 free in 21.83.
“It felt good to know that I could put a great time out there and win today,” Gerlach said about his performance in the 100 fly. “Winning the 200 free relay was nuts. We went in just hoping to get a best time, and to win is a consolation.”