Future bright for Naugy swimmers

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NAUGATUCK — For the Naugatuck boys swim team, the best is yet to come. At least that’s the plan.

In their most recent meet on Jan. 20, the Greyhounds posted 52 individual season-best times against Holy Cross.

It’s a clear indication that the Hounds are getting better.

“I was real pleased,” Naugatuck coach Jim McKee said.

The Greyhounds won the first eight events, and nine of 12 overall. James Vaz posted personal best times in the 50 and 100 free events, and won both. Chris Branco did the same in the 200 and 500 free events.

Kyle Conrad (100 butterfly), Harald Hersted (200 IM), Joe Caputo (diving) and Alex Grasso (100 back) also won events for Naugy. But, it was more than the event winners that illustrated Naugatuck’s progress.

George Vygoder finished fifth in the 200 free, but posted his personal-best time in the event this season.

“That’s a big breakthrough for him,” McKee said.

Kevin McMullen shaved five seconds off his best time in the 200 free and took second overall. In the 500 free, Scott Sill took third and Jake Morrissey finished sixth—both had best times.

Jeff O’Brien grabbed third in the 200 IM and took two seconds off his personal-best time.

“Up and down the line our third and fourth guys are getting a chance to compete and add to our depth,” McKee said.

In the diving event, Caputo’s score was his lifetime best. Kaitlin Carter, who took second in the event, also reached her career high score.

Even the event winners for Naugy are reaching new heights.

Conrad’s time of 56.42 seconds in the 100 butterfly marked the eighth best time in program history.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle for Naugy is the weather. Recent snow storms have canceled school days and limited time in the pool.

The idea, McKee says, is to work the team harder earlier in the season and allow the team to peak at the end of the season during the Naugatuck Valley League championships and states. Since the team hasn’t been able to practice every day, McKee has not been able to push the squad on a daily basis.

“I want them at their emotional and physical best in about a month,” he said.

Leading up to the end of the season, Naugy will be tested in upcoming meets. In addition to NVL meets against Sacred Heart and Torrington, the Greyhounds will step out of conference to face Cheshire, Conard and Pomperaug over the next three weeks.

The non-conference meets will gauge Naugy’s standing in the state. McKee said the non-league competition will be a test.

“Those are probably three of the best teams in the state,” McKee said.

The NVL trials are set for March 1 while the finals will be held March 4, both at Kennedy. The Class L state meet is scheduled for March 9 in Hamden.