NAUGATUCK — Signs of progress are easy to see for Naugatuck head swimming coach Jim McKee.
Even in a 90-90 tie last Friday against Oxford, the veteran coach found plenty of reasons to rejoice.
“They beat us pretty handily last season,” McKee said about the Wolverines. “At the NVL championship they were about 200 points ahead of us.”
“I know it’s a tie, and I don’t usually celebrate ties, but this certainly feels like a win,” he added. “The girls did a great job as we had 35 best times.”
Oxford won the first three events. But, while the Wolverines continued to capture first-place finishes, Naugy picked up valuable points along the way to stay close.
The 200 medley relay foursome of Molly Kennelly, Brin Battisti, Katelyn Fortney and Julianna Scully finished second (2:09.00), just two seconds off the pace. In the 200 freestyle, Meghan Messier finished second, Abrianna Hasipi took third, and Abbey Shugdinis finished fourth for Naugatuck.
Fortney picked up first in the 50 freestyle (27.22) by 0.4 seconds and also earned the victory in the 100 butterfly (1:09.63). Kennelly took a pair of first-place finishes in the 100 freestyle and the 100 backstroke.
Naugy took first and second in diving. Katie Brown won the event with a season-high score of 204.82, and Battisti was second with her season-best score of 164.03.
While the Greyhounds had their share of first-place finishes, they scored valuable points with their depth.
In the 200 IM, Scully placed third for Naugy with Elizabeth Tuscano fourth and Sarah Rawding fifth.
Francesca Spino was fourth and Meghan Korowotny was fifth in the 100 butterfly. The 100 freestyle saw Brown finish third, Sarmiento fourth and Taylor Siefer fifth. The 500 freestyle had Hasipi finishing third, Messier fourth and Shugdinis fifth, all three set season-best times.
In the 100 backstroke, Jaimee Trumbley was fourth and Tuscano was fifth. The 100 breaststroke had Battisti third, Maria Guimares fourth and Sarah Rawding fifth, and again all three swimmers had season-best times.
Naugatuck improved to 3-1-1 on the year with an 84-62 win over Kennedy on Tuesday.
The Greyhounds swam away from the Eagles early by winning the first seven events of the meet.
Individual event winners for Naugatuck included Messier in the 200 freestyle (2:29.54), Tuscano in the 200 individual medley (2:59.54), Kennelly in the 50 freestyle (29.08), Brown in diving (181.55), Fortney in the 100 butterfly (1:10.66), and Shugdinis in the 100 freestyle (1:09.22).
Naugatuck will back in the pool on Friday at home against Woodland.
“We have been scoring three swimmers in almost every event this season,” McKee said. “That’s a sign of progress, and when you can continue to put up season-best times, I’m pleased with our performance so far this season.”