Naugatuck swimmers off to successful start

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By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys swim team hasn’t had a whole lot of time to build the endurance it takes to go the extra mile, but the Greyhounds still got the season off to a successful start.

Naugatuck swam past Crosby-Waterbury Career, 77-59, in a virtual meet Feb. 23 to begin the season.

“I think as a whole we have a strong bunch of swimmers,” Naugatuck head coach Dan Knepple said. “Our numbers are down, but everyone can go out there and contribute. We have 16 guys with three divers but some of them also swim, as well.”

“Doing virtual meets, the motivation is the hardest part,” he added. “It doesn’t matter what team we are swimming against, the times still matter and not having anyone going against you in the next lane takes a little of that competitiveness away from it.”

The 200 medley relay foursome of Gavin Mckeon, Jacob Hall, Kevin Healey and Steven Herb started the virtual meet by winning the event in 1 minute, 58.44 seconds. The time would have landed them in the top 20 in the state meet.

Naugy proceeded to take the top three spots in several events.

Healey won the 200 free (2:15.77) followed by Hudson Bombery (2:15.90) and Craig June (2:35.10).

Hall won the 200 individual medley in 2:21.14. Eric Fortney took second and Jeff Bonnardi placed third.

Herb posted a blistering pace of 24.74 to win the 50 free. Jack Healy (26.03) and Pedro Crivella (27.88) finished second and third, respectively.

Naugy took the top three spots in diving to extend the lead. Justin Stone won the event with an impressive score of 210.30. Jayson Main (140.85) and Blake Stone (140.78) took second and third place, respectively.

It was another sweep in the 100 butterfly with Hall (1:02.87), Tyler Ruisi (1:40.78) and David Cocchiola (1:40.80) claiming the top spots for Naugy.

The Greyhounds swam exhibition the rest of the way with the meet well in hand.

“I feel for the most part we are in shape,” Knepple said. “We are ready to swim a bunch of meets, so I’m not too concerned about the schedule getting real busy. We have a very solid group of guys that don’t mess around when it comes to training or competing. The newer guys on the team see that kind of work ethic and it really helps keep the team focused on the task at hand.”

The Greyhounds are scheduled to have four virtual meets in seven days, starting with Seymour on Feb. 26. Naugatuck is set to face Wilby-Kaynor on March 1, Woodland on March 3 and Oxford on March 5.

“I think there is going to be a lot more competition this year,” Knepple said. “Sacred Heart and Torrington have improved. We are always up for a meet with Woodland, but some of these other teams are going to get us ready to give it our all.”