NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck girls swim team lacked the depth needed to stay competitive with the top teams in the NVL over the past few seasons. An influx of young talent might be exactly what the Greyhounds need to close the gap.
That talent was on display in the season-opener against Torrington on Sept. 14, as the Greyhounds won seven of the first nine events before finishing with a 93-77 victory.
Sophomore Katelyn Fortney won the 50 free in 26.85 and took second in the 100 fly in 1:07.27. Freshman Jacqueline Uva made a good first impression by winning the 200 free in 2:13.85 and swimming to a third in the 100 fly.
“I was very pleased with how the younger girls swam in their first varsity meet,” Naugatuck head coach Jim McKee said. “It was very encouraging to see that kind of success.”
Naugy has its share of upperclassmen to lead the way.
Junior Meghan Korowotny raced to a pair of second-place finishes in the 50 free (29.58) and the 100 free (1:07.40). Senior Abrianna Hasipi took second in the 200 free in 2:25.85 and third in the 500.
“Fortney and Korowotny put up best times for us,” McKee said. “We got some girls who are competitive and will give us some depth. This is only after three weeks of training.”
Naugatuck got out to big lead to start the meet with the foursome of junior Molly Kennelly, senior Maria Guimaraes, Fortney and Korowotny winning the 200 medley relay in 2:04.85.
The Greyhounds did it again with the team of Guimaraes, sophomore Abby Shugdinis, senior Francesca Spino and Uva swimming to victory in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:58.13. The squad of freshmen Emily Meyer and Kanny Salike and seniors Faith Rawding and Taylor Siefer took third, as Naugy completed its second one-three finish in the relays.
The Greyhounds showed off one of their strengths this year when seniors Katie Brown and Brin Battisti took first and second in diving, respectively.
The solid contributions from the freshmen stood out throughout the meet.
Kelly Brodeur put on a valiant effort at the end of the 500 freestyle to out-touch her opponent at the wall and finish first by 0.28 seconds in 6:33.80. Haley Deller made a successful debut, taking second in the 200 IM in 2:36.85.
Freshman Alena Rotatori was part of the 200 medley relay foursome that took third place and gave Naugy another threat in the 500 freestyle by finishing fourth.
“I thought Uva put up a real competitive time in the 200 and Deller did very well in her first IM,” McKee said. “Brodeur really put on a surge at the end of the IM and the 500 to overtake the Torrington girl, and that was good to see.
“The only way you can come back in a race is if you are in shape. We are going to see a lot more from Kelly this year.”
The Greyhounds improved to 2-0 on the season with a 93.5-84.5 over Sacred Heart on Sept. 18.
Naugatuck was scheduled to face Oxford last Friday. Results from the meet weren’t reported as of this post.
The Greyhounds will host Woodland on Tuesday and St. Paul on Friday.
“We are setting ourselves up for some early season competitive meets,” McKee said. “The teams we are going to face all finished ahead of us at the NVLs last year. So this will be a good indication of where we are at. A lot of the newer girls swam on club teams or in middle school, so they will certainly help our depth and help us to be competitive.”