Macauley Kolonko let Joey Angotti know what to expect.
Kolonko, a Weedsport senior who is making his fourth trip to states, trained with the Southern Cayuga sophomore last week in preparation for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association boys swim meet at the Nassau County Aquatic Center on Long Island. The preliminaries are Friday, while the finals will be Saturday.
“He says it’s unlike any other meet I’ve been to,” said Angotti, who is a first-time qualifier. “I’ve been to like YMCA Nationals and he says it’s even better than that. It’s a great meet to go to and I’m looking forward to meeting people and swimming.”
Angotti will compete in the 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle, while Kolonko is set to swim in the 200 and 500 freestyles. Kolonko advanced to the second day and placed 16th in the 500 free and 17th in the 200 free last year.
“You get used to it,” Kolonko said. “It’s my fourth trip, you’d expect me at this point to know what I’m doing and I do. It’s not like any other swim meet. … When you’re young, you’re on this whole new stage and think ‘Oh my god, do I belong here? How did I get here and how am I going to compete against these guys?’ After time, you realize you fit in and you just get more accustomed to that feeling and it helps you swim faster.
“You need confidence to swim at these types of meets. It helps a lot.”
Kolonko crushed the qualifying times at the Section III, Class C meet. He recorded a 1:45.43 in the 200 and a 4:45.01 in the 500 — seven seconds better than the state standard.
Kolonko is seeded 15th in both events Friday.
“I did rest for that meet and I know what I’m capable of,” Kolonko said. “I’ve been doing this for so long and I know what I can do in practice and how things will work out, especially in the 200. It shocked me where I was in my training. That’s a good sign coming into this meet.”
Angotti earned a berth into the state meet at the Section IV, Class C meet. He altered his stroke in the butterfly and shaved enough time off to record a 53.88, and had a split time of 48.66 in the 400 freestyle relay to qualify for the 100 free.
Angotti said he was surprised he earned a spot at states, but Southern Cayuga coach Cathy Murray was not.
“I knew as soon as he went off the blocks,” Murray said. “We had talked a lot about how he had to approach the race, and we came to an agreement about how he had to view the race from the beginning to the end and mentally prepare for it. I could tell from the moment he left the blocks that he was going for that time. After the first 50 and we saw the split, I knew that he was going to get it.”
While Kolonko is focused on bettering his times and placing as high as he can, Angotti is soaking in the experience and preparing himself for future trips to the state meet.
“I’m there to have fun,” Angotti said. “I have two more years of high school. I’ll be a little more serious about it then. This year I just want to have fun and get the experience.”
Kolonko is proud that swimmers from small schools in Cayuga County will be represented in a meet against some of the biggest schools in the state.
“It’s really great to see — for someone who grew up in a small school like Weedsport — small schools being successful,” Kolonko said. “Southern Cayuga went 12-2 and had an awesome season. … It’s nice to see the small schools coming up and doing well in this sport.”