NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys swim team comes into the season armed and ready to make a splash in the NVL.
The ‘Hounds have finished in the middle of the pack in the league over the past four seasons, including a fifth place finish at NVLs last season.
A 10-5-1 record last year was a positive sign for the Greyhounds, who enter this season with depth, experience and a couple of young swimmers who are ready to take stake their claim.
“It’s been a long time since we returned this many kids who scored in the league championship. We have some new kids who can fill in at some of the odd strokes and as we get ready for the dual meet season we are solid,” head coach Jim McKee said.
McKee, a three-time Connecticut Swim Coach of the Year, is entering his 39th season at the helm. He has over 500 wins and 24 league titles coaching the boys and girls teams, and sees the Greyhounds as one of the contenders this season.
“The expectation is to challenge for a title,” McKee said. “But you need to have everything for that to happen. You need to have four decent swimmers in every event or at least three really good one, two and three kids.”
The ‘Hounds are looking to return to the glory years when Naugatuck owned the league winning four straight NVL titles from 2007 through 2010.
“We certainly have the numbers with 37 kids on the roster,” McKee said. “We picked up about eight or nine kids. We are in a good place in terms of challenging for a league title.”
Naugy will be led by senior captains Nick Ryan, Colby Storm, Martin Lippai and Nick Fox.
Seniors Ivan Glorioso, Matt Jackman, Lucas Pimental and Jensen Mezzio will help provide leadership as Naugy looks to make a run for a title.
What will separate the ‘Hounds from the rest of the field is quality depth in every event.
“I know the teams that finished ahead of us graduated quite a few strong swimmers,” McKee said. “I don’t know what they have coming back, but we not only have the depth we have quality depth.”
Juniors Evan Bomberry and Omari Solomon lead a deep junior class that includes Ben Rossi, Dave Ruela, Pete Morrissey, Grady Beasley, Eric Cruz, Matt Goggin, Robert Spino and Brandon Thomas.
“Evan reminds me of some of the fast kids we have had in the past,” McKee said. “He’s a hard worker and leads us in the pool every day and we are looking for him to have a big season this year.”
Naugatuck is still in the developing stage as far as the young swimmers are concerned. Last season, sophomore Brian Goggin really stepped up and showed what he could do. The ‘Hounds will be looking for a few other young swimmers to take on larger roles.
“Last year the league was just so strong,” McKee said. “We had four guys in every event but we were young. This year with these same guys they are ready to move up and contend for a title.”
What may play out into the Greyhounds’ favor is they face the top four teams from last year — Holy Cross, Sacred Heart, Torrington and Watertown — at the end of the regular season just in time for the postseason meets.
“You still need to go out and win the championship meet,” McKee said. “Having these four teams at the end of our schedule will certainly have us more prepared. We have Seymour, who’s always tough, and we have Pomperaug and Conard in the middle of January, so that will be a good test for us.
“As far as having those top teams so close at the end of the season could be a bit much, especially if the meets are close. But it does allow us time to develop and gain some confidence.”
The Greyhounds will get the season under way Tuesday at 4 p.m. when they visit Kennedy.