Season ramping up for Greyhounds

Naugatuck’s Spencer Maher does the backstroke as he competes in the 200 IM during a meet against Woodland Jan. 28 at Woodland Regional high School in Beacon Falls. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — The swim season is ramping up for the Greyhounds.

After a stretch of three meets over a week in mid-January, the Greyhounds hosted Seymour Jan. 24 and earned a 95-70 win over the Wildcats.

Alex Manasoiu won the 200 freestyle and took third in the 100 freestyle to pace the Greyhounds. Gavin McKeon won the 500 freestyle.

The Greyhounds had their share of top-three finishes, as well. Spencer Maher finished second in the 200 IM and the 100 freestyle. Jacob Hall placed second in the 100 butterfly and third in the 200 IM. Joe Amato took second in the 200 freestyle, Ryan Vincent placed second in the 500 freestyle, and Steve Herb took second in the 50 freestyle.

Bailey Ceryak placed third in the 100 butterfly, Hudson Bombery was third in the 500 freestyle, and Kevin Healey finished third in the 50 freestyle and 200 freestyle.

Naugatuck swept the top three spots in the diving competition. Justin Stone finished first, followed by William Brown in second and Ethan Phaneuf in third.

The Greyhounds picked up the intensity when they headed to Beacon Falls to take on Woodland Jan. 28.

The Hawks used a late push to pull away with a 98-88 win and hand Naugy its first Naugatuck Valley League loss of the season.

The Greyhounds were without one of their captains for the meet.

“I had the meet planned out and knew what we had to do to win,” Naugatuck head coach Dan Knepple said. “I was told about 20 minutes before the meet that one of our best swimmers and a team captain, Joe Amato, wouldn’t be able to swim. That is a difference of 20 points right there.”

Naugy settled for second in the 200 medley relay with Ceryak, Maher, David Green and Herb posting a time of 1:49.92, as Woodland took first and third and an early 10-4 lead.

Manasoiu swam to victory in the 200 freestyle (2:01.64), and Maher finished second and Hall placed third in the 200 IM.

Justin Stone and Brown finished second and third, respectively, in diving. Manasoiu won his second race, taking first in the 100 freestyle (53.20), and Herb placed third (54.61) in the event, as Naugy looked to make a push.

Maher won the 500 freestyle (5:25.23), followed by McKeon in second (5:40.21). When the 200 freestyle relay squad of Manasoiu, Healey, Herb and Hall swam to victory in 1:38.42, the Greyhounds had cut the lead to 71-69.

Woodland got it done over the next two events, taking first and third in the 100 backstroke and a one-two-three finish in the 100 breaststroke.

The ‘Hounds made it exciting in the 400 freestyle with Manasoiu, Ceryak, Hall and Maher winning by four-tenths of a second, but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback.

“We have a strong group of 500 swimmers and we made a good push to get back into it,” Knepple said. “We are continuing our work to compete with (defending NVL champion) Holy Cross and we will see them [Friday].”

The Greyhounds bounced back with a 96-87 win over Oxford Jan. 31 to improve to 5-2 on the season.

Maher led Naugatuck against the Wolverines with wins in the 200 freestyle (1:54.13) and 100 butterfly (56.20).

Naugatuck will host Pomperaug on Wednesday and face Holy Cross at Kennedy on Friday.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the article published in the Feb. 6 edition to include information from the Oxford meet game on Jan. 31, which was after press time.