Bristol Co-op wins final relay, meet vs. Meriden

The Bristol Co-op boys swimming and diving team trailed the Meriden Co-op (Platt-Maloney) by seven points entering the 400-yard freestyle relay of Tuesday’s meet at Platt High School.

Bristol needed not just a first place finish, but a second place finish, to win the meet. The combination of Rams, Lancers and Falcons got just that, outscoring the home team by 10 points in the final relay to secure a 94-91 comeback victory. Bristol improved to 4-0 with the thrilling victory.

“As a team, every one was up cheering and pushing themselves to the max,” said Bristol captain Mikel Palaj.

“Everyone did their part perfectly,” added captain Nathan Stellmach.

Palaj and Stellmach were part of the winning 400 freestyle relay. Palaj and Stellmach were the bookmarks of the relay, which was also made up of Davis Kroll and Aidan Collins. The relay finished the race in 3:30.94. The second place relay of Krzystof Popielarz, Ryleigh Dionne, Luke Losacano and Noah Taylor hit the wall in 3:58.49. The relay battled but trailed until the final leg, where Taylor snapped up the lead and never gave it up.

“This was the best meet we’ve had so far, with a lot of energy and personal bests,” Taylor said. “I am proud of myself and the team.”

Kroll, Stellmach, Palaj and Collins also won the meet-opening 200 medley relay in 1:44.45. Kroll (200 freestyle, 100 freestyle), Palaj (200 IM, 100 butterfly) and Stellmach (50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke) were all double winners individually.

Meriden took its first lead of the meet, 73-66, after finishing first and second in the 200 freestyle relay (12-2). Meriden also won the next event, the 100 backstroke (9-7), to build the lead to 82-73.

Bristol’s comeback began in the 100 breaststroke. Stellmach was first, followed by Jacob Wilson in fourth and Tyler Wilson in fifth. Bristol won the event (9-7) and decreased its deficit to 89-82. The home team was still ahead, but the visitors did what they had to do to complete their comeback victory.