By ADAM SHINDER
Recorder Sports Staff
Victory against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake wasn't in the cards for the Amsterdam High School boys swim team Thursday afternoon at Lynch Literacy Academy, but AHS coach Nancy Spagnola wasn't fretting about the result.
Though the Rams fell 100-77 to a deep, strong Spartans team that posted 1-2 finishes in six different events, Spagnola was able to pinpoint a number of positives from Thursday's meet -- season-best efforts from Patrick Purtell and Forrest Lee along with the continued stellar diving of Kristian Santos and Connor Liverio among them.
"We were pretty happy with how the kids performed," Spagnola said. "Patrick Purtell got his best time in the breastroke, Forrest tied his best time in the 100 butterfly."
The Rams won two of 12 events Thursday, with Lee capturing the 100-yard butterfly in 1:00.01, equaling his best effort of the season, and Santos winning the diving competition in a 1-2 finish with Liverio. Purtell posted a season-best time of 1:12.66 in finishing third behind BH-BL's Michael Baumgarten and Zach Bixler in the 100-yard breastroke -- though Purtell earned first-place points for Amsterdam with both Spartans' swimmers racing as an exhibition.
"We know they're usually a strong team," Spagnola said of BH-BL. "But, we did our best."
Perhaps the most impressive performance belonged to Santos, who -- minutes after finishing a desperately close second behind BH-BL's Michael Lyden in the 50-yard freestyle -- won the diving competition despite completely missing on one of his six dives and earning no points for his total score. Liverio came in second in his first meet back after his injury during diving warmups caused the postponement of a Dec. 12 meet at Canajoharie-Fort Plain.
Santos and Liverio both easily outdistanced Burnt Hills' Ben Engle to sweep the top two diving spots, something that's become quite routine for the pair. Entering Thursday, the two juniors had the second -- Santos' school-record score of 266.70 last week against Albany Academy -- and fourth-best -- Liverio's 227.05 Dec. 6 against Albany High -- diving totals in all of Section II this season.
"Even with Kristian getting the one failed dive, he still came in first place," Spagnola said. "They don't disappoint."
After Thursday's loss, Amsterdam now has a lengthy break before returning to competition Jan. 8 against Gloversville in the Lynch Literacy Academy pool. That break gives Spagnola a chance to evaluate where her swimmers are heading into the stretch run of the season, while continuing to hope for bigger and better things from the Rams' pair of standout divers.
"Even though we have limited numbers, we have quite a few young kids," Spagnola said. "We've got three freshmen, but we've still got four seniors. Everybody seems to be solid swimmers, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season -- especially with high hopes with Connor and Kristian."