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Published: February 25, 2009 11:28 pm  

HS SWIMMING: GI's Carey earns NFL's sole victory

By Nate Beutel
Niagara Gazette

BUFFALO — Calm, cool and collected. There’s just not a better way to describe Evan Carey.

The Grand Island junior turned in eye-popping performance in the 100-yard freestyle to bring home the Niagara Frontier League’s lone title at Wednesday’s Section VI Swimming & Diving Championships at Erie Community College’s Flickinger Center.

Carey’s championship swim came less than hour after coming up just short in the 50 free.

“It didn’t bother me (finishing second in the 50 free) because I was happy with my time,” a smiling Carey said. “In the 100, I just swam my best. It’s pretty cool. I’m feeling great.”

“I’m very proud of both of his swims,” GI coach Rob Collard added. “In the 50, he competed very hard and he completed a race he can feel good about. Then in the 100, he was just great. He had nice power and very good breakouts. He looked extremely comfortable in the water.”

Fellow coaches were also impressed with Carey’s time of 46.89, which earned him all-American consideration. It was the fifth fastest time in the state this year.

“That’s a serious time right there,” Niagara Falls coach Ed Maynard said. “That’s a big-time swim.”

Maynard also had plenty to be impressed with from his own team. Senior Brian Sawma earned all-American consideration in the 100 fly after turning in a 51.72, finishing second to Iroquois standout Matt Schwippert.

“To get down to 51, which was my goal, is great,” said Sawma, who also qualified for Junior Nationals with his time. “I was just concentrating on racing the clock. I already knew I had someone to race with, so it was just a matter of getting the time.”

NFHS junior Sam Cale turned in a 49.33 to finish third in the 100 free, while the Wolverines’ 200 free relay (1:30.39) was also third, missing the state cut by .26 seconds. The quartet of Cale, Sawma, Tom Polka and Nick Miller did set a school and city record with their effort, though.

Falls freshman diver Austin Devlin finished second in Class A and fourth overall earlier in the day. He scored 371.00 points, while Williamsville North senior Chris Arcara was first with a 521.75.

“I knew I didn’t have much of a chance against Arcara, but I thought I did pretty good except for like two dives,” Devlin said. “I want to try to win Class A next year.”

Niagara Frontier League champion North Tonawanda got a fourth-place finish from Scott Farrell in the 100 free, while Braden Kozlowski turned in perhaps the most impressive feat of the entire night in the 200 free. The NT junior swam a 1:47.63 to qualify for the state meet — in the consolation heat.

“I didn’t swim the prelims very smart,” Kozlowski said. “I went out too hard, but today I lengthened out the first 50 and did what I had to do the rest of the way. It felt phenomenal.”

Lockport’s Mark Wallace qualified for states in the 100 back, finishing fourth in 55.83.

“I’m a little disappointed with my finals time, but I’m happy to have qualified for states, where I think I can do a little better,” he said. “I would have loved to top 55 seconds, but there’s always the next meet. I’ll just have to practice more and you never know — it’s still within my reach.”

Zac Toth of Starpoint finished fourth in the 200 IM (2:04.44), edging out his older brother Marc, who was sixth.

“I feel a little bad beating him in one of his last races, but I’ve been ahead of him the whole year, so I think he understands,” the sophomore said. “It was a personal-best time for me.”

The state championships, which can be qualified for throughout the season, are scheduled for March 6 and 7 on Long Island.