BEACON FALLS — There are two ways to look at the 2-5 first-half record of the Woodland boys’ swimming and diving team: A disappointing mark similar to the last few seasons or a record not indicative of the team’s improvement thus far and its potential heading into the home stretch.
The Hawks choose the latter.
Sure, the Black and Gold have lost five of their first seven meets, but considering four of those came at the hands of Sacred Heart, Amity, Naugatuck, and Pomperaug—considered by Woodland to be among the best in the state—the Hawks aren’t too concerned by their overall position (2-3) in the Naugatuck Valley League.
“We had a rough start, but we definitely have potential,” junior Tim Korzinski said. “I think we can come back and surprise some people.”
“I think we’re doing well,” head coach Tom Currie noted. “We’re right where I thought we’d be at this point. Besides Sacred Heart and Naugatuck, everything’s pretty even in the league, and we have a chance.”
Currie acknowledges there are weak spots in the team’s lineup, namely freestyle sprints, but he can arrange the relay teams and some individual medley swimmers to work around the less competitive races and earn the most points during meets.
“We’re definitely a stroke team,” Currie said. “It’s nice to have good IMers that we can move around. I try to manipulate the lineups to get the most points out of each race in our meets.”
Most individual swimmers’ roles are set, Currie says, so the biggest challenge is configuring the relay teams in the best way possible, trying to secure the most points in competition while also giving individual swimmers enough rest between events.
“The biggest thing is trying to figure out our relay competition,” Currie explained. “The way the meet schedule is arranged, two of the individual odd stroke events are sandwiched by freestyle relays. I’d love to have those individuals racing in their events and the relays, but it’s a challenge trying to rest them enough.”
One of the most active and fastest swimmers on the team, sophomore Patrick O’Dell, is looking to improve upon the all-NVL second team honors that he earned last season. Woodland looks for him to earn much-needed individual and relay points, and although he has enjoyed a solid season thus far, he isn’t completely satisfied by his performance in the first half.
“I would like to be faster than where I am right now,” O’Dell said. “I’m pretty happy overall, though. I think I can shave off a few seconds after we get into our taper [short sprint] practices.”
The Hawks also feature one of the best divers in team history, junior Lindsay Boland. She competes in the boys’ season because of her commitment to volleyball in the fall, but that didn’t stopped her from breaking the boys’ six-dive record, with a score of 197.27 last month.
“I’ve been working really hard to break the record since last season,” Boland said. “I’m trying to break the 11-dive record at NVLs and states. I think I can do that if I have a good meet.”
Woodland has already qualified four swimmers for state competition and looks to qualify a few more before the end of the year. Before states, the Hawks will compete at the NVL meet March 5, and they’ve set a high goal—one which would be a school record.
“You know what? Let’s shoot for third at NVLs,” Currie proclaimed. “That third place spot is definitely gonna be a battle. But I think we can get it done.”