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O'Rourke, Martinez love New York

Pair claims title of best in state

Special to The News
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James P. McCoy/Buffalo News
Clarence senior Travis Martinez reacts after winning a state title in the 200-yard freestyle Saturday at the Burt Flickinger Center.


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John Hickey/Buffalo News
Grand Island diver Ian O'Rourke has won back-to-back public school state titles.


Grand Island's Ian O'Rourke and Clarence's Travis Martinez have earned their share of state swimming and diving championship awards during their scholastic careers.

But they hadn't earned the biggest prizes available in the annual concluding meet of the scholastic season until Saturday afternoon in the Burt Flickinger Center Natatorium.

Martinez, a senior participating in his fourth state meet, became the first Clarence swimmer in 20 years to win a championship when he captured the 200-yard freestyle in an Automatic All-American time of 1:41.10. Martinez broke his own school record for the second consecutive day by swimming the fastest back half of the event for his career (52.12 seconds). Martinez took the lead 75 yards into the race and never relinquished it.

"It feels great," said Martinez, who also won the Federation title. "It's something to remember for the rest of my life. It was one of those races where I had a lot left in me and I could go a lot further than I thought I could."

Martinez is the first Red Devil to win a state title since current coach Eric McClaren won the 200 individual medley title.

O'Rourke, a junior, defended his state public schools diving championship, but earned the right to be called the undisputed champion by earning his first Federation crown, edging Mike McDowell of V-Rush-Henrietta by 31.85 points. O'Rourke tallied 530.15 points for 11 dives, amassing 164.75 on his final three attempts of the competition.

"It's just so cool," said O'Rourke, who has placed in each of his five state meets. "I've worked so hard and it finally all came together plus I dove the best I've dove all season so it was a good way to end the season."

Martinez and O'Rourke were the only Western New Yorkers to capture championships. Clarence's 200 free relay team came close to winning but finished second in the state and third in the Federation. The Red Devils had a lead after a slow start but finished .23 behind winner IV-Binghamton. Fordham Prep from the New York City area finished ahead of Clarence by .08.

Martinez also set a school record and earned Automatic All-American honors during his second-place finish in the 100 free to II-Niskayuna's Mike DeRocco. DeRocco set state records in winning the 50- and 100-freestyle events, earning Most Outstanding Swimmer honors. DeRocco won the 50 in 20.65 seconds and the 100 in 45.29 to break the marks set in 1989 by III-Auburn's Tom Simon.

Although Martinez couldn't track down DeRocco, the grand pursuit resulted in Martinez finishing in 46.35 seconds.

"It was so impressive, it helped me to go fast," said Martinez of DeRocco's performance in the 100. "I tried staying with him and I somewhat succeeded for the first portion of the race."

While Martinez enjoyed his individual success Saturday, he had the most fun competing in the 200 relay and enjoyed that awards presentation the most.

"I had my team with me," he said. "It's a lot more fun being on the podium with a group of guys."

O'Rourke had a slightly easier time capturing his title. He hit all three of his dives - a back 11/2 summersault with 11/2 twist, front 21/2 summersault pike and inward 21/2 summersault tuck. The last dive was his hardest of the competition.

O'Rourke's key to success was consistently being able to hit his dives cleanly.

"The judging was really tough so it made for a really close meet," he said.

Western New York divers proved to be most dominant and should continue to make noise in next year's meet. Lancaster junior Nate Geary finished third, while North Tonawanda sophomore Shawn Hoffman placed fourth.

All three are coached on the Wings Diving Club, which operates out of the University at Buffalo, by Carla Helder.

Canisius' 200 medley relay team of Dan Donnarumma, Stephen Dally, Jake Kwapiszeski and Dan Carver finished fourth overall. Williamsville North's Matthew Geiger, Matt Krupp, Stephen Berus and Chris Deptula finished fifth in the state and sixth in the Federation in that event. Krupp, Deptula, Michael Lin and Brandon Beckinghausen helped the Spartans to a fourth-place finish in the 400 free relay. Iroquois' Jeff Moessinger placed eighth in the butterfly.