Naugatuck swimmers make up for small numbers with talent

Naugatuck High swim captains, from left, Meghan Korowotny, Emily Sarmiento and Molly Kennelly will lead the Greyhounds this season. –KEN MORSE

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck High girls swim team heads into the season long on talent, but a bit short on depth.

“We have a good core of quality swimmers,” Naugatuck head coach Jim McKee said. “What we don’t have is a lot of depth. Last year, we had 25 on the roster and we are down to 16.”

The Greyhounds posted an 8-2 mark last season — their best record since 2012 — and finished second to Seymour at the Naugatuck Valley League championship meet.

The Greyhounds will need to replace nine seniors who graduated. Leading the way are senior tri-captains Molly Kennelly, Meghan Korowotny and Emily Sarmiento. Senior Cassidy Rosado and juniors Katelyn Fortney and Abbey Shugdinis also represent the upperclassmen that will lead the Greyhounds.

“We have a lot of younger girls who are developing into competitive swimmers,” McKee said. “We need four in each event in the postseason meets and we have three in most of them. But the swimmers we do have back are going to leave their mark, when all is said and done.”

McKee pointed to the 200 medley relay team, which was half a second off the school mark last year and is expected to qualify for the State Open.

“It’s all about practicing hard and dropping times,” he said. “And you don’t drop times because of what you are doing, you drop times from the attitude that you do it with.”

Kennelly, Fortney and sophomore Jacqueline Uva made up three quarters of the 200 medley relay team that just missed the school record and finished second at the NVL meet. They also were a part of the 200 freestyle relay team that finished second.

“That gives us two solid relays, and the other swimmer that will be added to the foursome will be freshman Ayana Williams,” McKee said.

The Greyhounds also have experience in individual events. Fortney finished second in the 100 butterfly and the 50 freestyle at NVLs last season. Kennelly placed sixth in the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle.

Shugdinis was part of the sixth-place 400 freestyle relay team and finished eighth in the 500. Alena Rotatori swam on the 400 relay squad, Haley Deller finished seventh in the 100 backstroke, and Kelly Brodeur was ninth in the 500.

Naugatuck starts the season Sept. 17 at Woodland at 4 p.m. The Greyhounds finish out the first week at home Sept. 20 versus Torrington.

“We have two meets a week and I think it would be better if we had only one so you can train. But there’s not too many people out there that agree with me,” McKee said. “With two meets you don’t have time to train to get better.”

“I think we will have another successful dual meet season,” he added. “We graduated our top two divers, and that will hurt us point wise a little bit, but it won’t keep us from beating the teams that we should beat anyway.”