Lugo of the Cougars continues his undefeated season | Journal-news
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Talk about keeping your head above water: Nick Lugo maintained his unbeaten streak in the pool by virtual inches on Saturday.
Swimming the breaststroke for the first time this season, the all-around sophomore from Jefferson used a late push to defeat Washington’s Eshan Hatti with a single lift at the Shepherd University Wellness Center pool.
Lugo finished the 100-yard breaststroke in 1 minute, 7.03 seconds and Hatti in 1:07.23, the best time of the season for Washington juniors, in a triangle encounter that also featured Musselman during his senior day.
It was the best race of the night as the Cougar boys and girls both prevailed in the team standings.
“I was surprised that I was able to keep up,” Lugo said.
Lugo held a tiny advantage in a pair of splits, leading by 0.08 seconds and 0.14 seconds, but Hatti continued to advance down the home straight.
“I can see his whitewater and his arm a bit,” Lugo said. “I was happy to be able to see it and reach the end.”
Being able to see is important to Lugo, who wears glasses and puts on prescription glasses during competitions in the pool.
He also won the 100m butterfly – his favorite event – and anchored Jefferson’s winning 200 and 400m freestyle relays. Hatti also finished second in the butterfly.
“Because it’s one of the hardest shots,” Lugo said of the butterfly, “and not many people can do it.”
It looks like Lugo can do it all.
He holds two Jefferson records he set this year – the 200m individual medley and the 500m freestyle – and has a long-term goal of qualifying for state competition.
He missed last year for state competition in a weird season in which the Cougars never competed until regionals and won the boys’ championship despite it.
The coronavirus pandemic had closed Shepherd’s pool and athletes were expected to train however they could.
Lugo began his work with the swim team in Winchester, Virginia.
Three of his teammates from the club’s swim team showed up to watch him run on Saturday.
“I improved all my times this year,” said Lugo.
The next step for him, he hopes, will come to meet the state.
There are a few other regular season fixtures, including the Eastern Panhandle Athletic Conference meeting on Saturday, before Jefferson hosts the Region II Championship on Feb. 5. Two weeks later, it’s the state swim in Morgantown.
In Saturday’s men’s team competition, Jefferson beat Washington 53-40 and Musselman 62-31. Washington picked up a 55-35 win over Musselman.
On the girls’ side, Jefferson won 55-39 over Washington and 80-14 over Musselman. Washington won 72-22 over Musselman.
Lugo wasn’t the only double winner.
Spencer LeFebvre of Washington won both the 50 and 100 free runs.
Other boy winners were Richardo Valentine and Logan Stewart of Musselman in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle, respectively; Jefferson’s Logan Schiever in the 200 IM; and Washington’s Jordyn Hess in the 100 backstroke.
Annabella Cerasoli of Washington and Emily Perrotte of Jefferson won two events each in girls.
Cerasoli was first in the 50 and 100 freestyles, and Perrotte dominated the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke.
Kaylyn Wallace gave Washington a victory in the 200 freestyle, while the rest of the individual victories belonged to Jefferson.
Shae Goldsmith won the 100m butterfly, Sydney Coderre the 500m freestyle and Elisabeth Gottlieb the 100m backstroke for the Cougars.