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In Good Position

Frewsburg/Falconer/Jamestown/Southwestern 1,600-Meter Relay Team Earns Top Seed In State Finals

Aidan McCleery

ITHACA — If there was ever a time and place to swim your best race it would be at the state championships.

The Frewsburg/Falconer/Jamestown/Southwestern boys swimming and diving team knew this on Friday when the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Aidan McCleery, Conner Dean, Grady Moore and Miles Moore swam the top time at 1:24.58, jumping from the No. 4 seed to No. 1 in today’s finals at the Kelsey Partridge Bird Natatorium in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association swimming and diving championships.

“It’s pretty exciting, we had to come from behind to win that one,” Frewsburg/Falconer/Jamestown/Southwestern head coach Bruce Johnson said about the relay. “It’s the time of year you want to swim your fastest.”

McCleery got things started with a split of 21.6 and Dean followed with 21.54, but it was with the Moore twins when the Bears really stole the race. Grady swam a 20.95, then Miles finished strong at 20.43 to grab top position and All-American consideration.

The Bears cleared Pittsford in second position at 1:25.02 and Orchard Park in third with a time of 1:25.58. The Frewsburg/Falconer/Jamestown/Southwestern time was just below the state record of 1:24.36 set by Corning in 2021 and the Federation record of 1:23.84 by Fordham Prep in 2014 is in reach, considering the quartet swam nearly a second faster than their qualifying time of 1:25.44.

Conner Dean

Dedication to the relays continued to pay off with a pair of second-place finishes in the 400 freestyle relay and the 200 medley relay.

The Horace Greeley team narrowly finished ahead of the Bears’ swimmers in order of McCleery, Grady Moore, Dean and Miles Moore in the 400 freestyle relay, setting up for an exciting final today.

Horace Greeley swam a time of 3:07.54, compared to the Bears’ 3:07.91, and once again it was a late finish that brought Frewsburg/Falconer/Jamestown/Southwestern within striking distance.

“It worked out well today,” Johnson said about the 400 freestyle relay. “It broke our Section VI record we set last week. If that race today had been about five yards longer we would have won, we were coming in the last 25.”

The top two squads were nearly three seconds ahead of the rest of the competition as Pittsford’s time of 3:10.27 earned third in the prelims.

Grady Moore

“Miles Moore split was unbelievable,” Johnson added about the 400 freestyle relay. “He swam 45.68 which is pretty darn quick to almost come from behind and win. Dean swam a 46.9 right before that.”

Once again it was Horace Greeley to finish ahead of Frewsburg/Falconer/Jamestown/Southwestern in the 200-yard medley relay, this time comfortably, but Orchard Park was not far off the Bears in third place.

The top time is 1:33.0, while the Bears swam 1:35.15 to barely beat out the Quakers 1:35.17.

“The guys decided they wanted to shoot for all three relays,” Johnson said about the team. “They made the decision to go for all three relays and it paid off.”

Individually, Conner Dean had a personal best in the 200 individual medley as he earned the six seed in today’s final. The junior swam a 1:53.49 to put himself in a good position for the podium.

Miles Moore

“All four of his competitive strokes are great,” Johnson said about Dean. “He’s made perfectly for the IM, he doesn’t have a weak stroke. He’s really strong in all four strokes, could easily move up to fourth and fifth.”

The top time in the 200 individual medley was swam by Erik Nadecki of Horace Greeley at 1:50.14.

Sophomore Miles Moore also swam to a sixth seed, sprinting to a 21.24 finish in the 50 freestyle as the only underclassmen in the top 10 times.

“He’s got a tremendous feel for the water,” Johnson said about Miles Moore’s ability. “It’s a God-given talent, it’s not something you can teach how he can grab ahold of the water and push himself through. He’s a hard worker too.”

McCleery raced to a tie for 21st in the 50 freestyle, finishing at a pace of 21.68 with Hauppauge-Smithtown’s Alex Trzaskowski. The pair went again in a swim-off in which Trzaskowski finished ahead of McCleery, but McCleery improved his time to 21.51.

The top seed belongs to Valerii Pidhoretskyy of James Madison after he raced to a 20.75 finish.

McCleery also swam to the No. 23 in the 100 freestyle at a time of 47.55, while Grady Moore took 26th in the 100 butterfly with a time of 52.51.

“Depending on the event we’re shooting for a championship or automatic All-American time,” Johnson said about his swimmers. “Try to improve their times and their seeds, just try to go faster and place a little bit better. Those records are in the back of their minds as well.”

Away from the races, Alexander Pitts made all the cuts for the Bears in the 1-meter diving and claimed 13th with a score of 394.70.

“Last year he was about 38th,” Johnson said about Pitts. “He was cut after five dives, but he made it through all 11 rounds this year.”

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