Greyhounds earn personal bests as times drop in the pool
WATERBURY — In the sports of swimming and diving, you can only control your performance. Based on that premise, the Naugatuck boys had plenty of positive results at the Naugatuck Valley League finals last Friday at Kennedy High.
The Greyhounds finished fourth overall with 434 points, behind champion Sacred Heart (569.5), runner-up Watertown (556) and Torrington (466.5). Don’t be fooled by the overall finish — the ‘Hounds delivered numerous best times and pleased their long-time head coach.
“These were some of the best time drops that I’ve ever coached in the NVLs,” said Naugy head coach Jim McKee, who has coached the sport for over 30 years. “About 90 percent of the times we produced were personal bests.”
Naugy produced three swimmers in the top 10 of the 100-yard freestyle: seniors John Dean (seventh, 52.25 seconds), Vinny Thoren (ninth, 53.26) and Marcus Cruz (10th, 53.60). Between the preliminary rounds and finals times, 17 of 19 Naugy swimmers produced best times in the event.
Freshman Evan Bomberry dropped 13 seconds between rounds of the 500 free and finished eighth overall with a time of 5:30.20. In the 200 free, Bomberry also stood out with several of his teammates.
Thoren finished seventh overall in 1:58.52 to earn Naugy 16 points, while Bomberry took 11th in 2:04.24 and teammate Omari Solomon, another freshman, was 12th with a time of 2:05.11. Michael Lauer, a junior, was 16th in a time of 2:06.01.
“The time drops were just incredible,” McKee said of the team’s effort.
The 400 free relay team dropped nearly 4 seconds off their season best. Junior Michael Cocchiola, along with Solomon, Dean and Thoren finished fifth overall in the finals with a time of 3:38.54.
The finals meet started with the 200 medley relay and Naugy’s seniors raced out to an impressive start. The relay team of Mitchell Santos, Adam Branco, Cruz and Jake Morrissey finished fourth overall with a time of 1:47.61 — nearly a 3-second drop from the prelims.
In the 200 free relay, the team of Dean, Morrissey, Cruz and Thoren turned in their best time of the year. Prior to the prelims, they topped out at 1:39, which dropped to 1:37.19 in the qualifying round to 1:34.91 in the NVL finals and a fifth-place finish.
“If you’re coming into this meet vying for the top, it can be intimidating,” McKee said. “You have to deliver in the situation, and that’s what we did.”
The day after the NVL finals, Naugy had an optional invitational meet at Pomperaug. McKee said the turnout for the meet was tremendous due to the success at the NVLs.
“Everyone feels good about they did,” McKee said.
The Greyhounds will now prepare for the Class L championships. The diving competition is set for March 13 at Middletown High, while swim trials are March 15 in West Hartford. Swim finals will be March 19 at Wesleyan University.