Fulton Swimmers Send Off Seniors With Personal Bests

Fulton sent its senior swimmers off with cookies baked by their coach, and a 104-65 loss to league champ Mexico on Wednesday.

There are four seniors on the small Red Raider team, including the team’s best all-around swimmer, Ben Davis, who has been a member of the varsity since 7th grade.  The other three are all in their rookie seasons with the team: first-line freestyler and diver Richard Walter, swimmer Dominic LeBron and German exchange student Richard Reeschke.

Each received a flower to give to their mothers, or, in Reeschke’s case, to his host mother, Kelly Niccoli.  They also received their choice of home-baked cookies from diving coach Raina Hinman.

Davis will attend RIT or Clarkson for engineering; Walter plans to begin a criminal justice career at Cayuga Community College; LeBron will attend CCC for engineering; and Reeschke will return to Germany for two more years of schooling before going to college.

“They are a fantastic group of boys,” said Raina Hinman.

As for the meet, Mexico showed its usual dominance, winning 10 of 12 events.  Fulton’s Ben Davis broke through with a win in the 50 yard freestyle sprint, posting a time of 24.14 seconds.  He was a fraction of a second from another first place finish, as he was outtouched to end the 100 freestyle by Mexico’s Zach Earl.

Fulton’s Ryan Knopp, Justin Bowering, Neil Devendorf, Steven Hanczyk won the closing 400 yard freestyle relay, as Mexico, with the meet decided, swam its relay teams for exhibition only.

Mexico star Mike Hartwell posted three wins, in the 200 freestyle, 100 yard breaststroke and as part of the 200 yard free relay team.

Head coach Dexter Hinman pointed to close finishes and personal bests as signs of team growth during the season.

The 200 yard free relay team of Davis, Walter, Scott Bullard and Josh Strauss posted a personal best time, finishing third by less than the length of an arm.

In the 100 yard backstroke, Bullard, swimming with an injured elbow, was outtouched for second place in the 100 yard backstroke and posted a personal best time in the 100 yard butterfly.

Knopp posted a personal best in the 200 yard freestyle.

The match of the night, however, belonged to two of the best divers in Section III.

Mexico’s Nick Rodriguez, a junior, showed a tight form in posting one of the highest scores seen in the Fulton pool in a long time, 248.60 for his advanced six dive program.  Fulton freshman Steven Hanczyk posted his best score of the season, 198.80, to take second place.  Each made dives with a fairly high degree of difficulty.

“Overall it was a good meet for us.  We had some really great times and as a team we performed well,” said Hinman.

The Red Raiders finish the season at 2-8, an improvement over a winless season last year.  Mexico, 10-0 in the league, takes the conference championship.

Next up:  the Section III meet, which begins Wednesday at Nottingham High School.

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