Greyhound swimmers pick up the pace

If you take one passing glance at the results of last Friday’s Naugatuck-Watertown girls’ swim meet, you’ll notice that the Greyhounds won five events, but lost by six points. Analyze Naugatuck’s times a little more closely, and you’ll see the Greyhounds are improving — a lot.

Despite the loss to the Indians on Sept. 25, Naugatuck swimmers posted 61 best times and showed their coaches that their hard work in practice is paying off.

“To get a number like that, you have to have a lot of kids doing multiple best times,” Naugy head coach Jim McKee said.  “That confirms the work we’re doing in practice, and to me that’s everything.”

The 94-88 loss to Watertown proved to a barometer of sorts for Naugatuck, which entered the season with six senior swimmers and many others still learning the ins and outs of the varsity level. In recent years, Naugy has struggled against teams like Watertown, who is 3-0 to start the season and considered one of the top teams in the NVL this season.

Last week, Naugatuck made the meet more than interesting.

“There were a bunch of races that could have made the outcome different,” McKee said of Watertown meet.

Nicole Javins and Sarah Konops, both senior captains, each won multiple events against the Indians for Naugatuck, which stands at 1-1 overall entering this Friday’s home meet against Seymour. Javins took the 200 free (2:11.65), 500 free (6:00.13) and was a part of the first-place 200 free relay (team time of 1:52.26) — all best times.

Javins, one of the Greyhounds’ most versatile swimmers, helps the team in many different ways.

“Nicole can swim where I need her,” McKee said.

Konops won the 100 breast (1:21.23), was a part of the 200 free relay and finished second in the 200 IM (2:35.10) by less than a second against Watertown.

“Sarah has developed into a real standout swimmer,” McKee said.

Claudia Brennan, who swam best times in the 200 free, 500 free and the 400 free relay, also serves as a senior team captain and shows a tireless work ethic in practice, McKee said.  Veronica Young, Jocelyn Brantly and Diana Silva, all seniors, give the team valuable options in different races with their experience.

Melissa Kirschbaum and Amanda Miller were the other half of the 200 free relay for the Hounds.  Miller displayed impressive times for the Greyhounds against Watertown.

Miller joined with Kirschbaum, Rebecca Doback and Elizabeth Walsh to win the 400 free relay, and placed second in the 100 free and the 200 medley relay. Perhaps the best illustration of the team’s improvement is the work of Miller, who joined the Greyhounds after playing soccer last year for Naugy.

Miller posted her best time in the 100 free in a time of 1:01.99 and improved by almost 4 seconds from her time against Kennedy a week before. Thanks to that dramatic improvement, Miller beat out two Watertown swimmers who finished in third and fourth places with times of 1:02.05 and 1:02.08 respectively.

“Amanda battled to finish second in that race,” McKee said of Miller. “She may wind up being one of the best swimmers on the team by the end of the season.”

The Greyhounds have a chance to demonstrate more progress when they host Seymour on Friday night.  Naugy has not beaten the Wildcats since the 2005-06 season.