BY KEN MORSE
The Naugatuck boys swimming and diving team finished off the season with a 13th place finish, scoring a team total of 161 points on March 16 at the Cornerstone Aquatic Center in West Hartford.
New Canaan (709) won the title, besting a field of 18 teams with Fairfield Prep (688) finishing as runner-up. Naugatuck was the only NVL team represented at the Class L championships.
“It was a pretty good season,” said Dan Knepple. “We had a big drop in times from NVL to the state trials but there was no significant drop from trials to finals so no one advanced to the state open.
“We did well in the 200 medley (relay) and the 400 free (relay). Jack DeBisschop did a real good job filling in some of those relay spots, as did Pedro Crivella.”
The Greyhounds got started in the state postseason by competing in the one-meter diving championships held at Sheehan High School on March 9 in Wallingford. Jayson Main led the Hounds with a seventh place finish, scoring a 311.60. Nick Montini placed 11th with a score of 256.55.
Naugy went into the swim portion of the championship meet with 38 points from diving and scored a team-best 30 points in a 12th place finish in the 200 medley relay with the foursome of Aidan Brown, Pedro Crivella, Vansh Motiani-Rincon and Jack DeBisschop putting up a time of 1:50.02. That was three seconds off a top 10 pace.
Jack Healy posted the highest individual finish for Naugy, placing 13th in the 100 butterfly at 55.63, missing out on the top 10 by a slim margin (.5). Healy also finished 15th in the 100 breaststroke at 1:07.53.
Eric Fortney qualified for states in two individual events as well, finishing 15th in the 200 free at 1:53.24 and placing 22nd in the 100 butterfly (59.00). Hudson Bombery was the only other individual swimmer for Naugy with a 19th place showing in the 500 free (5:19.20).
The 400 free relay squad of DeBisschop, Healy, Fortney and Bombery swam to a 13th place finish (3:33), scoring the second highest total for the Greyhounds with 28 team points.
In the 200 free relay the Naugy team of Ethan McKeon, Motiani-Rincon, Evan Vaagen and DeBisschop placed 17th (1:44.05).
“A lot of our sophomores are starting to see that they can get better and compete at the varsity level,” said Knepple. “The whole attitude and the motivation going into the offseason is very encouraging and we are hoping these return guys will step up and take it to the next level. They have a real good attitude going into the ofseason.”
The Greyhounds graduate eight seniors – Blake Stone, David Cocchiola and Everett Kiernan along with Healy, Bombery, Main, Crivella and Motiani-Rincon.
Naugy will return a solid group, led by juniors Fortney, Montini and Luke Deitelbaum along with sophomores Jack DeBisschop, John DeBisschop, McKeon, Vaagen and Connolly, plus the freshman Brown.
“We have a middle school team coached by Dave Kunces, who also coaches the Naugatuck Thunderfish, so we are looking for a good influx of new kids next season. This is my fifth year as coach and my first year I had the largest class of freshmen with six and it has declined every season since. So we are looking for a good size class to give us some depth for next season.”
Head coach Dan Knepple and assistant coach Austin Herb will be hard at work to try and improve on the numbers for next season to give Naugy a little bit more depth to remain competitive in the NVL.
“Dave is my assistant in the fall with the girls and Austin is a volunteer coach,” said Knepple. “Then in the winter Austin is my assistant, and Dave is my volunteer and is so invaluable running the scoring system. It’s so good to be able to rely on those two guys who have been there in the program for so long.”
BY KEN MORSE