Greyhounds swim to fourth at NVLs

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Naugatuck’s 200 freestyle relay squad of Scott Sill (pictured), Mikhail Burdoev, Matt Hall and Eric Hanley finished second in the event at the NVL swim championships March 1 with a time of 1:33.65. –FILE PHOTO
Naugatuck’s 200 freestyle relay squad of Scott Sill (pictured), Mikhail Burdoev, Matt Hall and Eric Hanley finished second in the event at the NVL swim championships March 1 with a time of 1:33.65. –FILE PHOTO

WATERBURY — The Naugatuck Valley League boys championship swim meet came down to a battle between Sacred Heart and Holy Cross for the title, but the competition for third place was a fierce race between Naugatuck and Torrington.

The Hearts won their battle, winning eight events and scoring 497 points, while the Greyhounds narrowly lost theirs, falling just short of the Red Raiders in the 200-yard freestyle relay to finish fourth at the meet.

Naugy tallied 382 total points, 10 behind Torrington. Holy Cross placed second with 464 points.

“We finished with season best relay times and great improvement across the board,” Naugatuck head coach Jim McKee said. “We had great time drops everywhere. But anytime you lose a close meet it’s always disappointing.”

Torrington overtook Naugatuck in the 200 free relay. The ‘Hounds entered as the event’s top seed after dropping 3 seconds off their time in the trials.

Naugy dropped another 0.7 seconds in the finals with the senior foursome of Scott Sill, Mikhail Burdoev, Matt Hall and Eric Hanley posting a time of 1 minute, 33.65 seconds. But Torrington barely touched the wall first in 1:33.54 and the Greyhounds had to settle for second.

“We qualified first in the 200 freestyle relay at the trials and dropped even more time in the finals but Torrington still edged us out by a tenth of a second,” McKee said. “If we win that race we finish third in the meet. It was that close.”

Naugatuck had plenty of positive highlights. Hanley took second in the 50 freestyle (23.02 seconds) and third in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.85), the latter time a career best that placed him seventh among the Greyhounds’ all-time best performances in the event.

“Eric did a great job putting up a lifetime best in the breaststroke that earned him a spot on the all-time best list,” McKee said of Hanley, who earned All-NVL honors.

Senior Ryan Lewis finished third in the diving competition with 330 points, and the 400 freestyle relay squad of seniors George Vygoder, Burdoev, Sill and junior Vincent Thoren swam to a third-place finish in 3:35.78.

Naugatuck also scored high marks with the 200 medley relay team of juniors Mitchell Santos and Adam Branco teaming up with seniors Hall and Hanley to post a fourth-place time of 1:46.10.

Sill had a pair of fourth-place efforts, in the 200 freestyle (1:56.97) and the 500 freestyle (5:16.51). Hall finished fourth in the 50 freestyle (23.37) fifth in the 100 butterfly (1:01.10). Junior Marcus Cruz also finished eighth in the 100 butterfly.

The Greyhounds showed promise for what they have coming back for next season as Santos placed sixth in the backstroke (1:03.43) and junior Simon Brondum finished 10th in the same event.

“I honestly believe our team is learning to compete at a very high level,” McKee said. “That experience will start to show as we begin to win those close races in the future.”

The Greyhounds will now gear up for state competition. Lewis will compete at the Class L meet Wednesday at Middletown before swim trials Saturday at West Hartford’s Cornerstone Aquatics Center. Swim finals will be Tuesday at Wesleyan.