Not only did it come down to the very last event for the Nordonia boys swim team, it came down to the very last split second in its season opener Dec. 1 at home against Suburban League National Conference rival Wadsworth.
The Knights’ 400-yard freestyle relay team of seniors Matt Crawford, Alex Gruszka and Jared Toaz and junior Timmy Tomkovicz finished in first place with a time of 3 minutes, 49.08 seconds, barely edging out the Grizzlies’ second-place squad, which clocked in at 3:49.21.
The thrilling finish gave Nordonia a 91-90 victory.
"We didn’t really say anything to the boys before the event," said Nordonia head coach Claudio Costanzo. "We didn’t want to psyche them out or anything. We just left it up to them, and they went out and got the job done."
On Saturday, Nordonia won the Bedford Relays with 68 points. Aurora finished second with 58 points and Brush was third with 54 points.
Against Wadsworth, Toaz and Tomkovicz teamed with senior Jared Schneider and junior Dominic Dasher to win the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:45.44.
Toaz also won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:02.61 and the 200 individual medley with a clocking of 2:02.39.
"Jared is swimming with great confidence," said Costanzo.
Crawford also won the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:04.10 and the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:32.57.
He also combined with Schneider, Gruszka and Dasher to claim the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:39.06.
Dasher also won the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.70 and the 100 freestyle with a clocking of 53.58. Schneider placed second (24.05) in the 50 freestyle.
Tomkovicz finished second (58.21) in the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke (57.87). Schneider was third (1:04.39) in the 100 butterfly.
"Even our youngest swimmer who hasn’t had a lot of experience, freshman Robert Wright, didn’t make any mistakes and scored 3 points, and those points were crucial," Costanzo said.
In the 1-meter diving junior Jason Lewicki finished runner-up (121.27) and senior Matthew Gerhart placed third (120.22).
"Our divers played a big part in scoring points," said the coach. "If you don’t get first place, getting second and third is key."
At the Bedford Relays, Nordonia won despite not even being entered in three events because the team did not have enough swimmers.
"The boys did very well," Costanzo said.
Tomkovicz, Toaz, Schneider and Dasher teamed to win the 200-yard medley with a time of 1:46.00.
Winning the 400 medley with a time of 4:18.48 was the team of Tomkovicz, Gruszka, Crawford and Toaz.
Wright, Dasher, Schneider and Tomkovicz teamed to win the 300 backstroke with a clocking of 1:58.81.
Crawford, Gruszka, Schneider and Toaz combined to claim the 200 breaststroke title with a time of 2:12.78.
Lewicki and Gerhart teamed to win the 1-meter diving with a score of 118.70.
Teaming to finish second in the 400 freestyle were Wright, Crawford, Gruszka and Dasher with a time of 4:05.97.
The Nordonia girls team lost to Wadsworth 108.5-77.5.
"We’ve got a lot of young kids, so there were a lot of nerves and jitters and those sort of things," said Costanzo. "They swam well considering it was their first varsity meet.
"Our older girls swam well, too … seniors Christina McFarland, Amanda Westbrooks and Stephanie Schueren.
"We had juniors Melanie Laviano and Taylor Coppedge who had to swim in some relays, which is something they’re not used to, but they did well."
On Saturday, Nordonia finished second with 52 points at the Bedford Relays. Aurora finished first with 70 points and Bedford was third with 48 points.
McFarland won the 200 IM with a time of 2:15.59 and the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:00.65. Freshman Jessica Dasher finished third (3:12.35) in the 200 IM.
Westbrooks won the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:08.25. She also teamed with Coppedge, Laviano and junior Emma Kleismit to claim the 200 freestyle relay, clocking in at 1:57.10.
Schueren finished second (1:03.01) in the 100 freestyle and in the 50 freestyle (28.21).
Kleismit placed third (29.39) in the 50 freestyle and tied for third (1:07.55) with a Wadsworth swimmer in the 100 freestyle.
Westbrooks finished runner-up (2:15.61) in the 200 freestyle.
In the 1-meter diving junior Harlequinn Bodziony placed second (145.65) and freshman Grace Weber was third (138.45).
Coppedge finished third (1:29.85) in the 100 breaststroke.
She also teamed with McFarland, Schueren and Kleismit to place second in the 200 medley relay with a clocking of 1:58.20.
Westbrooks, Laviano, Schueren and McFarland combined to finished runner-up (4:09.66) in the 400 freestyle relay.
Placing third (5:01.84) in the 400 freestyle relay was the team of Dasher, juniors Karli Konicek and Tina Fatica and freshman Caroline Orzechowski.
At the Bedford Relays Nordonia finished second despite getting disqualified in three events.
Freshman Autumn Westbrooks, Amanda’s sister, Fatica, Orzechowski and Konicek won the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:06.91.
In the 400 freestyle Kleismit, Laviano, Schueren and Amanda Westbrooks won with a time of 4:21.16.
Placing second in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:16.40 was the team of Kleismit, Laviano, junior Renee Schlueter and McFarland.
Freshman Gwen Putz, junior Shannon Harvey, Coppedge and Fatica combined to finish runner-up in the 200 breaststroke, clocking in at 2:45.29.
Bodziony and Weber teamed to finish second in the 1-meter diving with a score of 110.95.
Both the boys and girls teams are scheduled to travel to National Conference rival Hudson Friday at 6 p.m.
The Knights are set to compete in the Viking Invitational at Cleveland State University Sunday at 9 a.m.