Naugatuck boys swimming uses Alumni meet as final tuneup

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BY KEN MORSE
CITIZEN’S NEWS
There is just no better way to spend the Christmas holiday season than to be surrounded by family and friends. The Naugatuck boys swim team took full advantage of everyone being home for the holidays, staging their alumni meet on Dec. 29 and a good size crowd showed up for the annual event.
A good-sized crowd showed up for the annual event, which also serves as a final test swim before the Greyhounds gear up to do battle with the rest of the NVL. After snow postponed a Jan. 7 meet against Torrington, Naugy was scheduled to open the season on Tuesday against NVL power Holy Cross.
The alumni meet was fun for one and all, with a few surprises along the way as former swimmers came together to stir up some waves in the Naugy pool.
“It’s always a fun way to not only start the season but gives us a final tune up before the regular season begins,” said head coach Dan Knepple.
The Greyhounds return a team led by senior captains Steve Herb, Gavin Mckeon and Max Napoli that placed fourth in last year’s virtual NVL championship meet. Juniors Jason Main and Blake Stone head up the diving team. Juniors Jack Healy, Hudson Bombery and Pedro Crivella will team up with David Cocchiola and Vansh Mottiani Rincon to give Naugy a solid group of experienced swimmers.
What has coach Knepple optimistic about Naugy putting up a challenge in the NVL this season is a large group of young and upcoming swimmers to add a little excitement to the program.
Sophomores Eric Fortney, along with brothers Anthony and Nick Montini, both divers, are looking to make their presence felt.
A solid group of seven freshmen, Kellen Maher, Ethan Mckeon, Evan Vaagen, Joshua Lamson and Brendan Connolly, along with brothers John and Jack DeBisschop, offer the team depth and some unexpected talent.
“I can pretty much put Kellen anywhere,” said Knepple. “Eric is a lot stronger this year and filling out. He should show improvement this season. We are solid up top and looking to develop some depth before we head into the postseason meets.”
The alumni came with their ‘A’ game, showing a competitive spirit in the 50 free with Chris Dessureau putting up a blistering pace to win the race in 22.9 seconds. Alex Manasoiu posted a second-place time of 24.86 before Jack Healy took third at 25.61.
Kevin Healy (1:07:72) looked in midseason form for the alumni, winning the 100 breaststroke by a wide margin of victory. Nick Fox of the older group took second (1:23.45) and Pedro Crivella put up a third place (1:29.29) for the current Greyhounds.
Not only was it Alumni against the varsity, in some races it came down to brother against brother. Spencer Maher led the Alumni in the 200 IM winning at 2:04.91 with Kellen Maher finishing second with a 2:20.97.
Evan Bombery and younger brother Hudson didn’t go head-to-head but had some bragging rights in the relays. A whole host of former swimmers came back to bolster the Alumni effort. William Wright, Bailey Ceryak, Jacob Hall, Dan Cacchillo and Billy Brown teamed up with a few former Lady Greyhounds, Julianna Scully, Brandi Sill and Faith Rawding, to win the meet by a competitive 94-60 margin.
The Greyhounds were scheduled to face the NVL’s top contenders right off the bat with Holy Cross at home on Jan. 14 and Oxford on the road on Friday.
The Greyhounds will look forward to taking on Holy Cross at home on Tuesday Jan. 11 and will be at Oxford on Friday. That will give them a good look at where they are and where they need to be heading into the reminder of the schedule.