Westhampton's Max Buchen competes in the 200-yard IM at the...

Westhampton's Max Buchen competes in the 200-yard IM at the NYSPHSAA Federation Swimming Championships in Ithaca, N.Y., on Saturday. Credit: /Heather Ainsworth

ITHACA  —  Max Buchen finished his high school swimming career the best way possible -- as a state champion.

The Westhampton senior won the 100-yard breaststroke in public school and federation competition with an All-American time of 54.28 seconds at Saturday's state high school championship meet at Ithaca College.

“This feels great,” Buchen said. “There’s no better time to get a championship than your last season.”

Buchen also finished third in the 200 individual medley, clocking 1:51.56.

“I didn’t do my best yesterday [in prelims], so I was definitely lacking confidence going into today,” Buchen said. “But after I did well in my 200 IM, I felt a lot better going into my next event.”

Buchen was not the only Long Island swimmer to end his last season on a high note. After three years of competing in the state meet, Smithtown-Hauppauge senior Dylan Gallub finally brought home a medal. He finished fourth in public schools and in the federation in the 50 freestyle in 20.92.

“It feels amazing,” Gallub said. “I didn’t know what I was capable of going into this year, so to be able to do this just feels really great.”

Last season, he was 18th in the same event in 21.85.

“Coming off of last season, there’s no way I would’ve thought I’d be up here getting fourth place,” Gallub said. “This year has been a big stepping stone of trying to find out who I am as a swimmer and what I’m able to do.”

How did his standing in the event improve so much in just a year? He said focusing solely on swimming is what contributed to his improvement.

"I put down soccer to fully commit to swimming,” he said. “I knew I could either be mediocre at both sports or be really great at one of them. Once I did that I think I was able to take myself more seriously as a swimmer.”

Gallub was also a member of Smithtown-Hauppauge’s 200 medley relay (fifth in NYSPHSAA and federation in 1:35.36) and the 200 free relay (third in  NYSPHSAA and federation in 1:24.97). Smithtown-Hauppauge finished ninth in the team standings.

“We had a great meet,” coach Sean Montalvo said. “These guys had some tough times at this meet last season, so we made it a point to be consistent in everything we’ve done, and it’s worked out pretty well for us.”

The 200 free relay (Gallub, his younger brother Tyler, Christopher Sweeney and Alex Trzaskowski) broke the Suffolk County record of 1:25.13 the group set at the Section XI championships last month.

“I’m so happy,” Dylan Gallub said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to do this with anyone else, and end with anyone else.”

Connetquot senior Tristan Weingarten also had a good day. He finished second in NYPHSAA and the federation in the 100 free with a time of 45.47. He was also fifth in the 50 free, and was a member of Connetquot’s fifth-place 400 free relay (3:08.45).

Vinny Vinciguerra of Ward Melville was second in public schools and the federation in the 200 free (1:40.36) and third in NYPHSAA, fourth in the federation in the 100 free (45.92).

“Overall, I’m happy with my performance today,” Vinciguerra said. “I felt very prepared going into all of my races, and I was more locked in than I was yesterday.”

The senior says despite his accomplishments, the meet was bittersweet. “I was sitting in the pool on Wednesday before we came up here thinking about how this was my last high school meet,” he said. “I couldn’t be more thankful for my teammates, my coaches, and everyone who’s supported me over the last four years.”

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months