NAUGATUCK — With a roster of only 15 swimmers, many of them underclassmen, the focus for the Naugatuck High girls swim team isn’t so much on what the competition does, but rather what the team is doing, and the Greyhounds are getting better and faster with each meet.
The Greyhounds fell to Windsor Locks-Ellington-East Granby, 95-75, Oct. 1 in a non-league meet. The co-op team from the Hartford area finished ninth in Class M last season and not only presented a challenge for the Greyhounds, but an opportunity to measure themselves.
“The reason I wanted to swim against them is I used to coach their head coach when she was just a kid,” Naugatuck girls swim coach Jim McKee said. “It’s also a good test for us to go out of the league and see the competition that’s out there.”
The Pirates stayed ahead of Naugy for the most part, but the Greyhounds showed plenty of fight in their effort.
The 200 medley relay squad of Haley Deller, Kayla Bartlett, Lauren Litke and Emily Sarmiento took second in 2 minutes, 25.20 seconds. Jacqueline Uva finished second in the 200 freestyle followed by Abby Shugdinis in third.
Naugy also finished second and third in the 200 IM with Deller and Kelly Brodeur, respectively, and in the 100 butterfly with Fortney and Kennelly, respectively.
Shugdinis and Brodeur finished first and second, respectively, in the 500 freestyle. Fortney placed second in the 50 free and Williams took second in the 100 breaststroke. The 200 freestyle relay team of Meghan Korowotny, Williams, Fortney and Uva took second in 1:53.97.
“We outscored them in the 200 IM with our three girls putting up a good effort,” McKee said. “We had three races where we finished two-three. These are the things that the girls are doing. Of course they want it all right now but it takes time and it’s a process and we are working toward that.”
The Greyhounds bounced back with an 88-80 win over St. Paul Oct. 4 to even their record at 3-3. Uva won the 200 IM (2:35.86) and the 100 butterfly (1:11.50) for Naugatuck, and Deller won the 100 backstroke (1:08.74).
The Greyhounds edged out Oxford, 81-80, Sept. 27 before facing Windsor Locks-Ellington-East Granby.
Ayana Williams (50 freestyle, 27.88), Fortney (100 butterfly, 1:08.91) and Kennelly (100 freestyle, 1:04.98) all won individual events to lead Naugatuck against Oxford. The 200 medley relay team of Kennelly, Williams, Fortney and Korowotny started the meet off with a win in 2:10.50.
“I feel we are making a lot of progress. We had a good meet against Oxford and then we came right back a few days later for this meet (against Windsor Locks-Ellington-East Granby), so the girls are tired but we are seeing results in dropping some times,” McKee said.
McKee said the speed work the Greyhounds are doing indicates that they will drop their times.
“I’m really pleased at how hard they are working,” McKee said. “Our 500 (freestyle) girls are dropping 15 to 20 seconds. Now we are getting to the point where we are getting competitive.”
Naugatuck will face Kennedy on Wednesday, before hosting defending Naugatuck Valley League champion Seymour on Friday.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the article published in the Oct. 10 edition of the Citizen’s News to include information on the St. Paul meet, which was held after press time.