BEACON FALLS — The Naugatuck boys swim team knew Tuesday’s final dual meet of the season against Woodland was an important last chance to swim competitively before the championship season.
But longtime Naugy coach Jim McKee pointed to that meet against the Hawks as being critical for another reason.
“Whenever you swim a Valley opponent, you want to swim well,” McKee said after the Greyhounds claimed a 95-85 victory. “It felt like we had a little more than them going into the meet, but you have to go and execute. We swam well in the relays. It’s always a competitive meet with Woodland. They’re feisty. It’s a budding rivalry. I told our team in the locker room that we couldn’t take them lightly. They have a nice team. With the nice middle school program they have, it can fill up quickly.”
Naugatuck won the two relays that were officially scored, the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay. The Greyhounds also had two swimmers win multiple individual events. Spencer Maher claimed the 200 individual medley (2:08.75) and the 100 free (52.77 seconds), and Brian Goggin won the 50 free (23.12 seconds) and the 100 butterfly (57.04 seconds).
Dale Wakeley also earned a win for Naugy in the 200 free (2:02.98), and Alex Manasoiu touched first in the 100 backstroke (1:04.44).
One thing McKee wanted to see from the Greyhounds in their final meet was continued progress from his long-distance swimmers.
“I have some new kids who are learning how to swim long distances, the 200 free and the IM and the 500 free, and they make progress every meet,” McKee said. “This meet, they dropped some more time.”
Woodland also had three individual winners. Riley Clark took the diving event with 226.05 points in his last competition before attempting to defend his Naugatuck Valley League championship. Zack Arisian claimed the 500 free (5:53.52) and Greg Aldrich won the 100 breaststroke (1:08.12).
Now, both teams’ efforts will be focused on preparing for the NVL championships. The swim trials are set for Feb. 27, with the diving finals Feb. 28 and the swim finals March 2. One part of the prep for coaches is figuring out who will swim in which events.
“Right now, I’m trying to figure out for the league championships who our four individuals be in each event,” McKee said. “I have to know who they are and they have to know who they are.”
During the two-week layoff, swimmers can expect a whole lot of work before tapering in the days leading up to the championships.
“We do a lot of yards every day,” McKee said. “I have our calendar on the board so they know which days are going to be hard and which days are going to be just for getting loose. It’s a mixture. When you taper, you just have to rest people back. When you do that, you gain more speed. Right now, it’s time to tune everyone’s strokes and go from there.”