WILTON, Conn. – Wilton High School’s Tommy Kealy was the only swimmer to win two individual races at the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference boys swimming championships. The manner in which he did it was even more remarkable.
Kealy, a junior, won the 50-yard freestyle and the 100 butterfly at the league championships. For his achievements, he has been named The Wilton Daily Voice Athlete of the Month.
He won his races with little time to breathe in between. In most meets, diving follows the 50 free. But with diving contested on the previous night, there was no break. Kealy had 15 minutes after his first win to cool down, refocus and re-energize for the 100 fly.
“I was really lucky that I had that 15-minute break,’’ he said. “It would have been troublesome if I hadn’t. I don’t think I would have had time to get my towel in between.”
The 50 free is Kealy’s signature event. He went 19-1 during the regular season, with his only loss to Greenwich’s Edward Moss. Kealy was seeded second behind Moss for the championships but slipped past his rival by 0.07 seconds.
“The key for that race is you have to map out what you want to do before it starts,’’ Kealy said. “You have to know when to breathe, where to breathe. If one thing goes wrong, it’s over.”
He got a huge assist from coach Todd Stevens, a former swim sprinter at Ithaca College. “He’s a great person to have around coaching me for that event,’’ Kealy said. “He told me to work on the turn and work on the finish. He definitely has little insights on the 50 that I can’t get anywhere else.”
In the 100 butterfly, Kealy won in 51.11, followed by Greenwich’s Alex Lewis in 51.94. Even with short rest, Kealy was determined to win. “I saw Alex at the 50, and I knew I had to turn it on,’’ he said. “We have a good rivalry. We’re good friends outside of the pool. It’s always nice to finish in front of the Greenwich swimmers.”
There’s still more to accomplish over the next month. Kealy will swim in the Class L championships and State Open. He is also a member of the Wilton Wahoos national team and will swim for them at the YMCA Nationals next month.
His victories at the league championships make him one of the favorites for the state meets, where FCIAC swimmers have historically fared well.
“It’s a little bit of pressure knowing you’re the FCIAC champion and representing the sprinters in Fairfield County,’’ Kealy said. “It’s an incentive to go fast.”
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