Niagara Gazette — A rich volume of garnet populated Clarence High School’s pool Thursday. It will today, too.
The Section VI Boys Swimming and Diving Championships opened there Thursday with the diving events and swimming trials. The meet will conclude today with the swimming finals, and the field is littered with competitors from the Starpoint boys swimming team.
Of Starpoint’s 20 swimmers, 11 are competing at sectionals by virtue of qualifying throughout the season. It’s a fact that would provide credence to making the shade of deep red — Starpoint’s identifying hue — a secondary school color of Clarence’s for two days.
Given the recent trend of Starpoint’s program, having a pronounced presence at sectionals comes as no surprise. On Feb. 8 the Spartans captured their third consecutive Class B title at the Section VI Class Championships at Maryvale. It was the icing on an unblemished season, as Starpoint finished 10-0 (9-0 ECIC II).
“My first priority is always to swim for a team championship,” Spartans coach Tim Menges said. “It’s great to swim for a goal, for a team and to win a team championship, never mind winning it three years in a row.”
With Starpoint maintaining its high team standard as king of Class B, three seniors, three juniors and five sophomores now look to today as a gauge of how they stack up individually against Western New York’s best.
Thursday’s trials began with 24 athletes competing in each event and ended with the top 16 times advancing to today’s finals.
The meet also serves as the last chance to swim a state-qualifying time. Senior Alec Toth already punched his ticket to the state championships for the second straight year during the season, making the grade for the 200 and 500 free.
He is the Class B champion in both events, but will not compete in either during sectionals. There is a two-individual event limit and Toth instead chose to swim the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke. Menges said Toth has a good chance to flex his versatility and become a sectional champ in the two races.