Hawks keep on pushing

Woodland’s Jordan Baer competes in the 100 butterfly versus Naugatuck Jan. 20 in Beacon Falls. Naugatuck won the meet, 92-83. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Woodland’s Jordan Baer competes in the 100 butterfly versus Naugatuck Jan. 20 in Beacon Falls. Naugatuck won the meet, 92-83. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — With the swimming season halfway in the books, the Hawks continue to push themselves, and the results are showing with personal best times.

The Woodland boys swim team fell Tuesday to perennial NVL power Sacred Heart, 94-84, to drop to 2-5 on the year in dual meets.

Jordan Baer picked up a first place for the Hawks in the 100 butterfly in 1:05.76, a personal best. Julie Hinckley added a first-place finish in the 500 freestyle in 5:49.55.

The Hawks’ overall record is more of an indicator of the team’s lack of depth, not the effort in the pool. That effort was exemplified by multiple Hawks achieving personal best times in recent meets.

Hinckley gave her teammates a reason to cheer Jan. 20 versus Naugatuck. Hinckley went neck for neck with Naugatuck’s Martin Lippai in the 500 freestyle, and finished with a personal best time of 5:46.37 — just behind Lippai’s first-place time of 5:45.43.

Though Woodland fell to the Greyhounds, 92-83, Woodland head coach Tom Currier said the Hawks had one of their best days all around.

Donovan White posted a best time of 1:12.44 in the 100 breaststroke versus Naugatuck, just split seconds off of the state-qualifying time.

The personal bests continued to pile up Jan. 22 versus Masuk, a 95-76 loss. Eleven Hawks posted 16 best times in the meet.

James Jensen led the way with first-place finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyle. Jensen, who has already qualified for states in both events, posted personal bests of 23.82 in the 50 freestyle and 53.18 in the 100 freestyle.

Riley Clark won the diving competition versus Masuk with a score of 194.10, his best score of his young career. Clark, a freshman, had already qualified for states in diving before the Masuk meet. An impressive feat, considering he come into the season with no diving experience, according to Currier.

“[Clark] has very good body control and is comfortable with the board,” Currier said.

Woodland’s Julie Hinckley, front, and Naugatuck’s Martin Lippai are neck and neck in the 500 freestyle Jan. 20 in Beacon Falls. Naugatuck won the meet, 92-83. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Woodland’s Julie Hinckley, front, and Naugatuck’s Martin Lippai are neck and neck in the 500 freestyle Jan. 20 in Beacon Falls. Naugatuck won the meet, 92-83. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Baer in the 200 individual medley (2:35.36), Meredith Dyckman in the 100 butterfly (1:19.53) and 100 breaststroke (1:25.84), and Colin Kennelly in the 50 freestyle (26.42) and 100 freestyle (58.44) were among the Hawks that swam best times versus Masuk.

Currier attributed the best times to training and the work ethic of the Hawks.

“I think we’re doing a good training this year; trying different things, seeing what works best for them,” he said. “The attitude and effort of all the kids are spot on.”

Balancing the team and individual aspects of a sport like swimming can be difficult at times when the overall record doesn’t reflect the effort. Currier said that isn’t a problem with his Hawks, who are always striving to get better and racing the clock.

“I might have a losing record but if all my kids do best times that’s a winning record to me,” he said.

Currier said the team aspect comes into play with the cheering on the pool deck, the breakfasts after Saturday practices and the overall comradery of the squad. Over the past several years, he said, that team mentality has really taken root and the Hawks have become more like a family.

“The team is more being with a group of people who are going through the same thing together,” he said. “It is individual racing but the team comes together as a small family, really.”

The Hawks are back in the pool on Friday when they host Wilby. Woodland will travel to Watertown next Tuesday.