NAUGATUCK — There’s one thing for sure about this year’s Naugatuck girls swim team—they’re young.
Naugatuck head coach Jim McKee lost a lot of experience from last season’s roster, but this year’s team has promise with numerous up-and-coming swimmers and divers.
“This year is definitely a rebuilding phase,” McKee said. “We have a very young and inexperienced team.”
Only seven of the 26 swimmers that produced points in last year’s league championship return. McKee has some parts to work with as he develops this season’s group.
Senior Amanda Miller has been tasked to be the team’s captain. McKee said she might be the most energetic athlete he has.
“She just doesn’t stop,” McKee said of Miller. “She’s also a pretty good swimmer, too.”
Expect Miller to compete in the butterfly, freestyle sprints and relays.
Emily Krueger, also a senior, is another versatile swimmer for Naugy. Krueger will take turns in the breaststroke and backstroke with league finalist experience.
Cristina Costa and Morgan Fonseca, two more seniors, return for their final year with Naugy. Corbett specializes in the breaststroke and free style events, while Fonseca may pick up potential points in the 1-meter dive.
Naugy also welcomes several first-year swimmers from the senior class—Bianca Antrum, Amanda Bennett, and Shannon Corbett.
Among the juniors, Rebecca Doback might be one of Naugy’s most talented swimmers. Doback has qualified for the states in several events and specializes in the distance events and the individual medley.
Rachel Goggin will look to score points in the freestyle events and the breaststroke, while fellow juniors Brittany Allen (free and back), Mariah Somohano (butterfly and free) and Kimberly O’Brien (back and free) will also provide some much needed experience and depth.
Newcomers Alyssa Cassin and Abbey Johnson, along with returner Trisha Reynolds, will also look to contribute immediately. McKee said the next several weeks will be important for development.
“The first two weeks are critical for newcomers,” McKee said.
He stressed the importance of getting down routines in the pool before fine-tuning the swimmers for individual events.
The sophomore class has a lot of potential. This group of swimmers could be the backbone of the team by season’s end.
Rachel Fox (free, back, fly), Barbara Martins (all disciplines), Martina Niebrzydowski (breast), Daisy Walsh (distance, butterfly, back and IM) and Madison Wilson (fly and IM) can all expect to be four-event swimmers—the maximum allowed in a meet.
Sophomores Ashley Burkman, Michelle Wright, and Kennedy High transfer Maria Carranza all expect to put points on the board for Naugy.
McKee even has two freshmen who he expects to provide an immediate impact: Tattiana Serrrano and Erica Spino. Both have the ability to compete at the varsity level and will have the opportunity to do so.
The Naugy head coach stopped short of making any grand preseason predictions. With a youthful roster and lots of teaching still to come, McKee said his goals are less about wins and losses.
It’s about lessons learned.
“My job is to teach, make them feel like they’re successful, have them look back at the end of the season and have them say, ‘I’m glad I swam,’” McKee said.
The Greyhounds host their first meet of the season Sept. 16 against Kennedy before hitting the road for four-straight away contests at Watertown, Seymour, Woodland, and Sacred Heart.