Hawks eager to work

BEACON FALLS — The start of the season hasn’t gone exactly has planned for the Woodland boys swim team, at least as far as the schedule is concerned.

The Hawks’ first meet of the year — a victory over Crosby Dec. 30 — was pushed back a week from its original date. Then, Woodland closed for two days last week due to a malfunction with the water main. The school’s closure postponed the second scheduled meet of the year and turned a home meet versus Seymour last Friday into a road contest. Not to mention a lost day of practice.

The Hawks finally held their home-opener Wednesday versus Northwestern — a meet that was originally scheduled for Tuesday but postponed due to the forecast of snow in the afternoon. Northwestern topped Woodland, 95-80.

Woodland head coach Tom Currier said the Hawks are taking all the changes in their schedule in stride.

“You can’t change some things that are happening, and just keep going forward,” he said. “Would the time help? Absolutely, but you can’t change the past.”

After missing two days due to the water issues at the school, the Hawks fell to Seymour, one of the hotter teams in the NVL, 90-75 last Friday.

James Jensen, who qualified for states in the 50 and 100 freestyle in the Crosby meet, improved on his times versus Seymour, and won the 50 freestyle in 24.16.

“He’s looking very strong. He’s looking very good this year. His freestyle looks smooth,” Currier said of Jensen.

Woodland’s Donovan White added a first-place finish in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:14.31. The 400 freestyle relay team of Zachary Bellavance, Julie Hinckley, Zack Arisian and Jeffery Varesio notched another victory for the Hawks (1-1) taking first in 4:17.63.

Early on this season, Currier is seeing exactly what he wants from his team: hard work, great attitudes and team comradery.

“They’re actually eager to work hard and a lot of underclassmen are eager and buying into the system, that will bode well for the future,” Currier said.

The underclassmen are getting their opportunities in the pool on a squad that is bigger than in previous years with about 20 swimmers, but still small enough for everyone to swim a few events. Currier said the freshmen, especially Greg Aldrich and Zach Arision, are making the most of the opportunities and showing they belong by posting competitive times.

“The freshmen are getting their chances,” he said.

After spending the first month or so working on technique and getting in shape, it’s time for the Hawks to move on to what Currier called “phase two.” The expectations, training and intensity will all be ratcheted up as the Hawks prepare for the rest of the season.

“Now we make them stronger swimmers, faster swimmers; stronger mentally,” Currier said.

The Hawks will be back in the pool Friday at Kennedy before hosting Naugatuck Jan. 20.