NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys swim team heads into the NVL championship meet looking to take it to the next level after finishing runner-up the past two years to three-time defending champion Holy Cross.
Last year, it came down to the final event — the 400 relay — and Holy Cross held off Naugatuck, 844-827, to win the championship. The Greyhounds come into the fray at 9-3 this season, and whether that puts them in a position to challenge the Crusaders again remains to be seen.
The swim trials are set for Feb. 27, with the diving finals Feb. 28 and the swim finals March 2.
Naugatuck has a stable of swimmers who have had success over the past few years.
Brian Goggin won the 50 freestyle title and finished second in the 100 freestyle last year. The senior captain was also a member of the winning 200 freestyle team and the runner-up 400 freestyle relay squad.
“First and foremost my goal going in is to defend my 50 free title,” Goggin said. “It doesn’t mean I have to win it but I do want to put up my best time. It’s an event that can go a hundred different ways because there is so much talent in the league.”
The Greyhounds have a few more swimmers up to the task.
Spencer Maher finished sixth in the 500 and seventh in the 200 IM last year. Alex Manasoiu placed fifth in the 100 backstroke.
The Greyhounds are led by senior captains Zach Alves, who finished sixth in the 100 breaststroke last year, Elliott Dupont, Sammy Ayash and Goggin.
Seniors Cameron Litwinka, James DeBisschop, Austin Bartlett and Donilo Asis lend experience to the relay squads.
Dale Wakeley, who placed seventh in the 200 free and eighth in the butterfly last year, can make a difference along with junior Austin Herb, who has seen significant improvement in the long-distance swims.
“Dale and Austin have really stepped up this season,” Goggin said. “Spencer has been phenomenal. He’s just at another level. Another young swimmer who wouldn’t surprise me if he medaled is Bailey (Ceryak).”
Ceryak and Joe Rafala have stepped up their game and have the opportunity to score points.
The diving team will provide added points as well with Logan Martin, Ethan Phaneuf, Tsering Dhondup and William Brown.
The last few years Naugy has seen its young talent contribute to the team’s success at NVLs. This year’s group of up-and-comers include freshmen Jacob Hall, Michael Hill and Ryan Vincent.