NAUGATUCK — With one week remaining before the Naugatuck Valley League swimming championships, Naugy finds itself in good position thanks to a key victory last Friday against Watertown.
The Greyhounds posted 20 best times against the Indians in a 99-85 win. More importantly, Naugy’s win meant it remained in the hunt for the league title behind Sacred Heart.
Naugatuck was scheduled to finish its regular-season schedule on Wednesday against Kennedy. Once the Greyhounds complete the meet against the Eagles, Naugy coach Jim McKee will begin the process of focusing squarely on the NVLs.
“Everything is a push to prepare for the league championships,” McKee said.
The ‘Hounds have at least two things going for them less than one week before the league meet—depth and experience. Naugy boasts 14 seniors who have already won league titles.
Senior Kyle Conrad (50-yard freestyle and 100 fly) won two events against Watertown, while junior Harald Hersted also captured two events. Hersted moved up the all-time best list in the 500 free in a time of 5 minutes, 1.44 seconds.
Perhaps the most impressive performances against Watertown came in the diving portion of the meet. Naugy’s Joe Caputo won the diving with a lifetime best score of 181.
Diving has been a recent bright spot for Naugy. During Monday’s 85-62 victory over Crosby, Kaitlin Carter (198.15) shattered her lifetime best score by about 30 points, while Caputo (177.30) and Nakeem Robinson (163.73) also put together impressive dives.
Robinson qualified for the states with his performance, and Ryan Lewis added a score of 143.78. McKee said Sacred Heart probably has the best set of divers in the league, but Naugatuck’s group outnumbers them.
“If we dive well, we may have a good shot of having four divers finish in the top eight (at the NVLs),” McKee said.
That result would be a huge lift for the Greyhounds.
Between now and next week, McKee will have to figure out the game plan for the NVL championships. McKee said the last week or two has focused on all the missed practices and rescheduled meets due to snow storms.
While the snow disrupted the season and rhythm of development, recent results have shown Naugatuck has made great strides to get back on track. Naugatuck had 23 best time individual results on Monday against Crosby.
“We’ve definitely had to adjust and recover that time we missed,” McKee said.
Luckily for the Greyhounds, they have a head coach and many seasoned swimmers who have prepared for and won league titles.
“They know what’s in front of them, and they know they have a shot,” McKee said.
Naugatuck is 6-1 in the NVL and can win the league by beating Sacred Heart at the league meet. The NVL trials are scheduled for March 1 before the diving finals on March 2. The NVL finals are on March 4. All three events will be at Kennedy High.