Broncos Shine at States: New-Bro Swimmers Babyak, Cushman, Lawson, and Seibold Win Gold Medals and Rizzo Twins Finish in Top 5 in the Indoor 1000m
By S. Quinn DeJoy and J. Murrer
Mar. 7, 2018: The Broncos made a name for themselves at the New York State Championships this past weekend. Members of the New Rochelle-Bronxville swim team and members of the Bronxville indoor track teams had standout performances.
Senior Andrew Babyak won two gold medals at states last year and capped off his high school career with four gold medals this season. He won the state championship in the 200 free (1:39.07) and repeated his 2017 performance in the 500 free, winning both state and federation titles. His time in the 500 free, 4:28.26, earned him All-American honors.
The 500 free and 200 free relay were back-to-back events, so Babyak had just five minutes after winning the 500 to regroup and join teammates Michael Lawson, Tim Cushman, and Finn Seibold in the relay. The quick turnaround did not seem to hinder Babyak’s performance. The team won a state gold in 1:25.15, a new Section 1 record.
“The 200 free relay was incredible,” said Cushman. “I don’t think any of us thought we would win. Winning was a great surprise for us. We put in hard work and trained every day, and it was awesome to see the results.”
The New-Bro foursome had one more race to win. They won state and federation gold medals in the 400 free relay, setting a New York public high school record of 3:06.61.
“We were definitely excited for the 400 and pretty confident going in,” said Babyak. “I was the anchor for our relay and when I dove in, Ward Melville was one second ahead of us. I was able to chase them down, and we won by three-hundredths of a second.”
Video of the 400 free relay race at the NYS Swimming Championships. Video by C. Cushman.
Cushman and Lawson also competed in individual races. Cushman placed 7th in the 100 back and 8th in the 100 free. Lawson placed 10th in the 50 free and 7th in the 100 free.
Both the swimming and indoor state championships were in the metropolitan area this year. While the swimmers were competing out on Long Island, the Bronco runners, Alex and Matt Rizzo, were competing in the 1000m at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on Staten Island.
In a very competitive race, Alex placed 3rd in a time of 2:29.30, and Matt placed 5th in 2:29.67. Both boys finished on the podium, but it was a tough fight, as less than one second separated the six boys finishing 3rd through 8th.
“Going into the race, I was hoping to repeat or break my 1000m PR of 2:27.81,” noted Matt. “As the race unfolded, I found myself unable to pass the guys in front of me. I didn’t anticipate the jockeying that went on during the second lap. I was disappointed when I finished because I knew I had more energy left in me, but the race taught me a lot about strategy and staying aggressive.”
Video of the 1000m race at the NYS Indoor Track and Field Championships. Video by C. Rizzo.
Matt and Alex are currently the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked high school juniors in the country and will race at nationals this weekend at The Armory.
Also racing at states was sophomore Eve Balseiro. She finished 12th in the 300m in a time of 41.26.
It was a great ending to the winter season at the state championships. The spring teams are out practicing this week, and the season will be in full swing after the holiday break.
Pictured here (rotating): Swimming state champions (L to R) Finn Seibold, Michael Lawson, Coach Kip Fierro, Andrew Babyak, and Tim Cushman (photo by T. Cushman); awards given to the top six finishers in the 1000m with Alex Rizzo placing 3rd and Matt Rizzo, 5th (photo by C. Rizzo).