NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys swimming and diving team came within eight points of winning its fifth-straight Naugatuck Valley League championship last year. This year’s team has the potential to start a new streak.
The Greyhounds lost 14 seniors from 2010, including numerous state qualifiers. Kyle Conrad, another class of 2011 member, won the 100-yard freestyle at the state’s Class L meet.
This season’s team has a chance to create new memories and keep Naugy’s winning tradition going. One feature of the team is something any coach would want: Depth.
“We have a lot of kids,” Naugatuck coach Jim McKee said. “I’m very much encouraged.”
The team returns a solid group, including four senior captains: David Brazee, Chris Branco, Art Keung and William Wright. Brazee and Branco bring flexibility to the lineup.
“We have a lot of guys ready to fill in,” McKee said.
Brazee swims the individual medley and the backstroke. Branco swims the free, distance and IM.
Wright has challenged school records in the 500 and 200 free events. Last season, Wright handled the IM and 100 fly, and finished among the top six in the NVL.
“And those aren’t even his best events,” McKee said of Wright’s performance at the NVLs. “He goes wherever you need him.”
Seniors also headline the diving position. Kaitlin Carter returns as a 200-point scorer, while Isabelle Moody also provides depth in the diving event.
Ryan Lewis, a junior, may be the wild card among divers. McKee said Lewis has a chance to challenge Carter and Moody for the top position.
Another junior, Matt Hall, can swim both the 50 free and butterfly, and has shown improvement. Other juniors, including Eric Hanley (fly and breaststroke), Scott Sill (500 and breast), George Vygoder (top-10 NVL finisher in the 500 free) should also contribute points for the Greyhounds.
Sophomore Adam Branco is another swimmer to watch, according to McKee. Branco impressed in the breaststroke last season, and also excels in the IM and the free events.
McKee said he is looking forward to the upcoming campaign.
“It’s fun coaching when you’re in the hunt,” McKee said. “And we’re in the hunt.”
With the league indicational meet at Kennedy scheduled for Friday, followed by a dual meet against Glastonbury, one of the state’s top teams, Naugy will learn a lot about itself early.
So far, the team has a competitive fire.
“The team is working hard and trying hard,” McKee said.