Smith, Bornstein lead Ridgefield to fourth at State Open
Kieran Smith and AJ Bornstein went out the way they came in: Winning races.
The two seniors combined for three individual victories, leading the Ridgefield High boys swim team to a fourth-place finish at the season-ending State Open championship Saturday at Yale University in New Haven.
The Tigers scored 373 points to finish behind Greenwich (487.5 points), Fairfield Prep (457), and Staples (408) in the 48-team field.
Smith was the meet's standout, earning the Outstanding Swimmer award for the third straight year. He won two freestyle events — breaking his own meet and state records in each — and swam on a pair of second-place relays.
Smith finished first in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:34.89 that lowered both the state record (1:35.18) he had set three days earlier at the Class LL championship and the previous Open mark (1:37.28), which he established last season.
More domination came in the 500-yard freestyle, as Smith finished first in a sensational time of 4:18.83. That shattered his state record (4:21.37) from this year's Class LL championship and his meet record (4:24.69) from last year's Open.
The most visible signs of Smith's domination came in the distance and time between him and Notre Dame-West Haven's Alfred North Hansen, the second-place finisher in both races. Hansen was nearly six seconds behind Smith in the 200 freestyle and almost 12 seconds slower in the 500 freestyle.
Bornstein came within one hundredth of a second of joining Smith as a double winner.
In his first individual event of the day, Bornstein won the 200 individual medley with a time of 1:52.00, breaking the school record (1:52.77) he had set while placing second at the Class LL meet on Wednesday.
Bornstein nearly added another first-place finish in the 100 breaststroke. His time of 55.19 left him just .01 behind Fairfield Prep's Oliver Rus, who won the event in 55.18. Both Rus and Bornstein broke the previous State Open record of 55.78 that Rus had set last year. Bornstein's time also lowered his own school record.
Freshman Connor Hunt gave notice that he might be Ridgefield's star of the future. Competing in the same two individual events as Smith, Hunt finished third in the 500 freestyle (4:36.38) and fourth in the 200 freestyle (1:42.78). Smith and the other swimmers placing ahead of Hunt in both races were all seniors.
Sophomore Luke Hruska and junior Will Bryant also scored points in two individual events for the Tigers. Hruska tied for ninth in the 100 butterfly (52.46) and finished 17th in the 100 backstroke (54.76), while Bryant was 15th in the 50 freestyle (22.12) and 17th in the 100 freestyle (48.71).
Sophomore Trey O'Malley provided the final individual points for Ridgefield by finishing 23rd in the 100 butterfly (54.29).
Smith, Bornstein, Hruska, and Bryant combined to finish second in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:32.56. Fairfield Prep won the event in 1:31.56, setting new state and meet records. Ridgefield also beat the previous meet record (1:33.06) and lowered the school record it had set at this year's FCIAC championship.
Bryant, Hruska, Hunt, and Smith added a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay with a school-record time of 1:25.90. That lowered the mark of 1:26.15 set by Derrian Duryea, Grayson Smith (Kieran's older brother), Brian Bollerman, and Andrew Klutey during their State Open triumph in 2011.
Freshman Andrew Dong, O'Malley, Bornstein, and Hunt ended the Open with a 10th-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay, posting a season-best time of 3:15.56.
Notes: Smith (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle), Bornstein (100 breaststroke) and the 200 medley relay all had Automatic All-American times.
Junior Caitlin Inall contributed 13 points for Ridgefield by finishing 14th at the Class LL diving championship, which took place Thursday at Bulkeley High School in Hartford. Inall had a total of 395.00 points for her 11 dives.
The top-24 finishers in each event scored points for their teams.
Greenwich won the State Open title for the sixth consecutive season. The Cardinals also finished first at the FCIAC and Class LL meets this year.