Jake Johnson reasserted himself as one of the great Section II swimmers of all time.
The Georgia Tech-bound senior won an individual title and anchored Shenendehowa’s winning 400-yard freestyle relay team at last weekend’s New York State High School Boys Swimming and Diving Championships at Erie Community College in Buffalo.
The two wins raised Johnson’s career total of state championships to eight and helped the Plainsmen capture the team title for the third consecutive year.
It’s probably one of the most amazing accomplishments not only for a Shen swimmer or a Section II swimmer, but for any swimmer, said Shen coach Chuck Dunham. `He’s certainly left his mark on the Shen and Section II record books.`
Johnson swam an All-American time of 45.75 seconds to take the public school division title in the 100-yard freestyle. The only swimmer faster than Johnson was Trinity’s Jack Wagner from the Catholic School division, who won the Federation title with a time of 44.82 seconds. Ballston Spa’s Michael Barno was seventh among public school division swimmers with a time of 47.34 seconds.
Johnson wouldn’t be denied a Federation title in the 400-yard freestyle, though. He swam an anchor leg time of 45.47 seconds to help Shen edge Section I’s Horace Greeley High School for first place. The Shen team of Johnson, Taylor Nichols, Shayne Buckley and Troy Nichols finished with a time of 3:10.82, .17 seconds ahead of Horace Greeley.
`It was the perfect ending for those guys,` said Dunham.
Shen’s performances in the 100-yard freestyle and the 400-yard freestyle relay comprised only 40 percent of Section II’s title haul at the state meet. Shaker’s Frankie Dyer won the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races, and Mohonasen-Schalmont’s Michael Dugan took first place in the 100-yard butterfly.
`I think it’s far and away the most talent that we’ve ever taken to states [as a region],` said Dunham. `I couldn’t be happier for the way things turned out for everyone.`
Johnson swam another All-American time in the 50-yard freestyle, but his time of 21.15 seconds was only good enough for fifth place in a highly-competitive field. Orchard Park’s Phil Aronica won with a time of 20.85 seconds, four-hundredths of a second ahead of Tappan Zee’s Stanley Wong. The top five swimmers were separated by three-tenths of a second.
Troy Nichols was third in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:41.03 ` less than three seconds behind Dyer, who won the event with an All-American time of 1:38.31. The senior also placed eighth in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:48.70.
Buckley concluded his Shen career with a third-place finish among public school division swimmers in the 200-yard individual medley. His All-American consideration time of 1:54.68 placed him fifth in the Federation standings.
Buckley and Johnson also teamed up with Taylor Nichols and Adam Goodcoff for a sixth-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay. Shen’s team finished with a time of 1:38.26.