Greyhounds dive back in after break

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NAUGATUCK — After a more-than-two-week break between meets for the holidays, the Naugatuck boys swim team got back at it to start the new year.

The Greyhounds came up on the short end of a 98-82 final against SWC powerhouse Masuk on Jan. 4 before picking up dual-meet wins over Kennedy, 99-73, last Tuesday and Wilby-Kaynor, 98-78, last Friday to improve to 3-2 on the season.

The Greyhounds put up some encouraging numbers against Masuk. William Brown won the diving event with a score of 164.70. Spencer Maher finished second in the 200 IM (2:06.57) and the 100 butterfly (56.35). Alex Manasoiu took second in the 50 freestyle (24.72), and Dale Wakeley finished second in the 200 freestyle (2:03.16) and a third in the 100 freestyle (56.31).

The 200 medley foursome of Manasoiu, Rafala, Maher and Wakeley finished second in 1:52.42. Joe Rafala took third in the 50 freestyle (26.21), and Austin Herb placed third in the 500 freestyle (5:51.36).

“Masuk is a tough team and they have a strong group of freshmen,” Naugatuck head coach Dan Knepple said. “I thought we would have a little better times but it was our first meet back after almost two weeks. We trained hard over that time and hopefully all that hard work will pay off for us. We are seeing significant improvement in our sprints.”

The Greyhounds showed off their versatile lineup against Kennedy.

Naugatuck went right after it and opened the meet with the 200 medley relay foursome of Joe Amato, Rafala, Bailey Ceryak and Steven Herb taking first in 2:00.09.

That set the tone, and the Greyhounds were off to the races.

Ceryak took first in the 200 IM (2:32.60) and the 100 butterfly (1:08.26). Wakeley also took a pair of first-place finishes in the 50 freestyle (25.74) and the 100 freestyle (57.04). Maher won the 200 freestyle (1:55.35), and Austin Herb swam to victory in the 500 freestyle (5:45.99).

Logan Martin recorded a season team-high of 193.80 to win the diving event, followed by Brown (second, 164.17), Tsering Dhondup (third, 140.62), Ethan Phaneuf (fourth, 134.10), Justin Stone (fifth, 133.25) and Tyler Ruisi (sixth, 121.05).

“Diving is really coming along and is one of our strengths,” Knepple said. “We are building a solid foundation and we have some young guys who are going to only get better over the next few seasons.”

Naugy’s depth was on display as Jacob Hall (200 IM, 100 freestyle), Manasoiu (200 free), Rafala (50 free), David Green (100 butterfly) and Gavin McKeon (500 free) all earned second-place finishes.

The Greyhounds won the first four events versus Wilby-Kaynor to pull away to victory.

The 200 free relay team of Ceryak, Rafaela, Maher and Joseph Amato opened the meet with a win in 1:54.26. Ryan Vincent (200 freestyle), Austin Herb (200 IM) and Wakeley (50 freestyle) followed up with individual wins.

The Greyhounds will host Crosby-WCA on Tuesday. Naugatuck will travel to Oxford on Friday to swim against Coach Knepple’s alma mater.

“I’m looking forward to going back to Oxford, that should be a lot of fun,” Knepple said. “Then we get set to take on Holy Cross the following week, and that will be a good measuring stick as to where we are and where we need to go.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated from the version published in the Jan. 17 edition of the Citizen’s News to include information from meets swam played after press time.

Correction: Dan Knepple’s name was misspelled in an earlier version of this article.