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Saturday, March 24 Sports

Ludlowe's Whiteside 3rd in State Open backstroke

With a mere two full days of rest between meets, Fairfield Ludlowe's John Whiteside, a sophomore, was unable to lower his time in the 100-yard backstroke at the CIAC State Open in boys swimming and diving on March 22 at Yale's Kiphuth Pool. But he did not fall any on the medal stand.

After placing third in the backstroke on March 19 at Wesleyan University in Middletown at the Class L championships with a time of 50.57 seconds, Whiteside touched the wall third in 50.76 at the State Open. In 2013, as a member of the Fairfield co-op team, along with swimmers from Fairfield Warde High School, Whiteside finished 11th in the backstroke at the State Open with a time of 53.51.

Whiteside had missed the FCIAC Championship meet on Feb. 27 because of illness. His recovery since then has impressed coach Alan Marcel.

"He was diagnosed with mono just before the FCIACs, so he was held out of the meet," Marcel said.

"He's been a great swimmer for us this year. His goal (at the State Open) was to cut place (from last year), and that's what he did. He wanted top six. He was seeded third, and he wanted to keep that. His goal (for the year) was to do well at the FCIACs and push through in Class L and the State Open."

Whiteside's first time of the season, in December, was just under 54 seconds.

His 50.57 surpassed the previous Class L meet record of 52.09. Whiteside's 50.57 is within a half-second of the standard for automatic All-America qualification. Typically, swimmers with the top 100 times in the country get named All-America later in the spring. It is likely that Whiteside's 50.57 will fall within the top 100 nationwide.

The Falcons placed 21st of 53 teams at the State Open from Whiteside's swim, along with senior Corbinian Wanner in the 100-yard breaststroke and 500 freestyle, as well as the 200-yard medley relay and 200 freestyle relay.

Wanner finished 17th in the breaststroke in 1:01.49 and 20th in the 500 free in 4:55.1. He was seeded 19th in the breaststroke and 23rd in the freestyle.

The medley relay placed seventh in 1:39.34 with Whiteside, Wanner, junior Peter Berens and senior Eric Ahlberg. The freestyle relay was 20th in 1:32.89 with Wanner, Berens, Ahlberg and senior Charles Haviland.