Hawks piling up personal bests

Woodland’s Aiden Music does the butterfly stroke during the 200 IM Jan. 31 in a meet versus Holy Cross in Beacon Falls. Music won the event with a time of 2:14:12. Holy Cross won the meet, 90-79. Despite a 2-5 start to the year, the Hawks continue to swim to individual best times. –LUKE MARSHALL

Woodland’s Aidan Music does the butterfly stroke during the 200 IM Jan. 31 in a meet versus Holy Cross in Beacon Falls. Music won the event with a time of 2:14:12. Holy Cross won the meet, 90-79. Despite a 2-5 start to the year, the Hawks continue to swim to individual best times. –LUKE MARSHALL

BEACON FALLS — Woodland boys swimming coach Tom Currier makes no secret that January is the toughest month for his team in practice. Now that the Hawks have made it to February, it’s all about postseason conditioning.

“It’s all about race pace from here on out,” Currier said. “We take more rests because recovery is a big thing. That’s how you maintain speed.”

Woodland (2-5) won consecutive meets last month against Crosby and Seymour before dropping its last three. The most recent loss came last Friday against Holy Cross in a 90-79 decision.

The Hawks won five events in that meet. Aidan Music led the way by winning the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, 14.12 seconds) and the 100 breaststroke (1:10.46) while Andy O’Dell took the 500 freestyle (5:17.07) and Brian Smith won the 100 backstroke (1:16.57).

The 400 free relay team of O’Dell, Alan Katrenya, JD Dyckman and Jimmy Jensen also won the final event in 3:51.41.

Despite the loss, Currier was happy with the individual performances by his 13-member team.

“We lost to Holy Cross, but everyone did best times,” Currier said. “That’s all you can ask for. Against other teams, we’ll win first place but they pick up the next three spots and beat us. We usually do pretty well at states because our good swimmers are good and numbers don’t matter as much.”

Music and O’Dell lead the pack of swimmers that could challenge for victories at the Naugatuck Valley League and Class S state meets. O’Dell, a senior, is the leader of the squad and has his name in several spots on the record board.

“As a swimmer, he’s great. As a leader, he’s even better,” Currier said of O’Dell. “He really brings the team together. In practice during our fun time, you’ll see kids jumping between lanes and horsing with one another. He keeps it fun. I’m going to miss him.”

Currier said he feels a special connection to his small squad, and especially to his four seniors—O’Dell, Katrenya, Smith and Lauren Tompkins.

Woodland’s Andrew O’Dell competes in the 200 freestyle Jan. 31 in a meet versus Holy Cross in Beacon Falls. O’Dell came in second in the event with a time of 1:55:93. Holy Cross won the meet, 90-79. –LUKE MARSHALL

Woodland’s Andrew O’Dell competes in the 200 freestyle Jan. 31 in a meet versus Holy Cross in Beacon Falls. O’Dell came in second in the event with a time of 1:55:93. Holy Cross won the meet, 90-79. –LUKE MARSHALL

“This is my fifth year here. The first year was about finding my way, so these last four years have been about these (seniors) coming through,” Currier said. “This is my first group that really knows my way and only my way, and it’s nice. In the past we’ve had to do attitude adjustment drills, but we haven’t had to do any this year. They know what to do and when to do it.”

Other swimmers on the team include Jordan Baer, Patrick Conway, Meredith Dyckman, Julie Hinckley, Thomas Landry-Mickett and Donovan White. Together, the whole group makes Currier excited for every practice and meet.

“I’ve already won this season,” Currier said. “I look forward every day to coming to practice because everyone is smiling. Everyone is posting best times and I’m happy.”

Woodland will close out this week with consecutive meets against Northwestern (Thursday at home) and Wilby (Friday on the road). The Hawks will be back at home Feb. 13 to face Kennedy, and postseason competition begins the first week of March.

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