Smith powers Ridgefield at Class LL swim meet

Behind another record-breaking effort from Kieran Smith, the Ridgefield High boys swim team finished fourth at the Class LL state championship meet Monday night at Wesleyan University in Middletown.

Ridgefield, which scored 470.5 points, nearly cracked the top three; the Tigers were just 3.5 points behind third-place Cheshire (474 points).

Greenwich won the Class LL title with 789.5 points, 123 more than runner-up Fairfield Prep (666).

Smith, a junior, won two individual events for Ridgefield, lowering his own previous best times and setting records in both. He finished first in the 500-yard freestyle in a time of 4:25.56, breaking his own state record of 4:26.77, which he set at last year's State Open. His time easily smashed the previous Class LL meet record of 4:27.08, established last season by Cheshire's Karl Bishop.

Smith's other victory came in the 200-yard freestyle, where his time of 1:38.33 broke the previous meet record of 1:39.25 — set by Smith while winning the event at last year's Class LL finals.

Smith crushed the competition in both races. He won the 200 freestyle by nearly three seconds over Branford/Guilford's Corey Gambardella (1:41.28); and he won the 500 freestyle by almost 16 seconds over Staples' Nicolas Ortega (4:41.24).

Fellow junior AJ Bornstein contributed a pair of runner-up finishes for Ridgefield. Bornstein was second to Fairfield Prep's Oliver Rus (55.27) in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 56.75 seconds, and he finished a close second to Greenwich's Aedan Lewis (1:54.12) in the 200 individual medley with a time of 1:54.51.

Senior Liam Riebling added two top-five individual finishes for the Tigers, placing fourth in the 100 butterfly (52.18) and fifth in the 500 freestyle (4:49.46).

Also qualifying for championship heats and earning top-eight finishes were senior Jared Nussbaum (seventh, 4:52.49) in the 500 freestyle; sophomore Will Bryant (eighth, 22.54) in the 50 freestyle; and senior Luke Wang (eighth, 1:00.77) in the 100 breaststroke.

Ridgefield was second in two of the meet's three relays. Smith, Bornstein, Riebling and Bryant, combined to finish second in the 200 freestyle relay (1:34.31), while Riebling, Wang, Alex Burns and Smith teamed to place second in the 400 freestyle relay (3:11.51).

Wang, Burns, Nussbaum and Bryant added a sixth-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:31.58.

Providing points with top-24 individual finishes for the Tigers were Nussbaum (11th, 1:48.08) and Trent O'Malley (19th, 1:53.33) in the 200 freestyle; Wang (10th, 22.59) in the 50 freestyle; Caitlin Inall (15th, 333.75 points) in the diving competition; O'Malley (16th, 57.22) in the 100 butterfly; Burns (13th, 50.12) and Bryant (20th, 51.18) in the 100 freestyle; and Burns (17th, 1:02.04) in the 100 breaststroke.

Notes: Smith's time in the 200 freestyle got him closer to the state record of 1:38.04, set by Greenwich's Andrew Trepp at the State Open in 2005.

Besides Smith, Rus (a junior at Fairfield Prep) was the only other double-winner at the Class LL meet. In addition to his triumph in the 100 breaststroke, Rus also prevailed in the 100 freestyle.

Ridgefield was fifth at last year's Class LL championship with 396.5 points.

The Tigers will end their season at the State Open meet this Saturday at Yale University in New Haven.