Horace Greeley Boys Win Swimming Title With Dramatic Finish

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The Horace Gtreeley 400 freestyle relay team of, from left, Chris Koster, River Elms, Alex Smith and Risten Clarke won in the final event Wednesday. The victory gave Greeley the Section 1 Boys Swimming Championship. Photo Credit: Courtesy Aaron Blacker

WEST NYACK, N.Y. – The Horace Greeley High School boys 400-yard freestyle team of Chris Koster, River Elms, Alex Smith and Risten Clarke calmly prepared for the final event of the Section 1 Boys Swimming Championship on Wednesday – even with the title on the line. 

For the Quakers to repeat as champions, the relay team had to win and hope that Scarsdale did not finish among the top three. Greeley accomplished its goal and watched as Scarsdale finished fourth.

The victory propelled the Quakers to a second consecutive title as they leapfrogged the Raiders at Felix Festa Middle School on Wednesday. Greeley finished with 218 points to Scarsdale’s 214.

“We knew what the point total was, so we said to each other, we each knew what we needed to do,” said Clake, a senior and captain. “We wanted Chris and River to get out quick and give us the lead, and Alex and I would do what we needed to do, get us the victory.”

The quartet was calm and remained poised, despite the pressure, Clarke said. 

“When we saw the 49 from Chris for his 100, that gave us a great start,” he said. “River is a freshman, and I give him a lot of credit. We told him to do the best he can, and he did.”

Greeley was a close second through the first 200, behind North Rockland, when Smith dove in and put the Quakers in the lead.

“Alex gave us that little boost we needed, and that was huge,” Clarke said. “I knew I was going to be swimming the anchor leg against Jack Carey from Tappan Zee. When I dove in, I just wanted to keep it a safe start and then keep the lead and get us the victory.

“When you’re a captain, senior and leader, this is what you need to do. I wanted to do it for our team and our school.”

Winning last year was nice, Clarke said. But adding a second win, the way the Quakers did, made it even more special, he said.

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