Naugatuck swims past Woodland

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Naugatuck’s Barbara Martins does the backstroke during the 200 IM last Friday against Woodland in Naugatuck. She came in third with a time of 2:36.63. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Nothing can be taken for granted in the border rivalry between Naugatuck and Woodland. Greyhounds swim coach Jim McKee wasn’t taking any chances last Friday night and Naugy responded with 48 best times and built a solid lead early on.

Woodland came on late to close the gap but the ‘Hounds held on for a 93-85 win.

“You never rule your girls out but I actually didn’t think we would do so well to start the meet,” McKee said.

Naugatuck took charge by winning the 200-yard medley relay with Cara Rotatori, Maria Carranza, Madison Wilson and Martina Niebryzdowski racing to victory in a time of 2:08.33.

Rebecca Doback followed up with a close win in the 200 freestyle, posting a season-best time of 2:06.75 to beat the Hawks’ Chrissy Leeper by just less than a second.

“The second race was tremendous,” McKee noted. “I think that made a huge difference. Instead of being up by two points we were up by 12 and we just turned up the effort at that point.”

Rotatori put up a season-best 2:34.92 to win the 200 IM, beating Woodland’s Sydney Corneau by almost 1 ½ seconds.

Naugatuck owned the 50 freestyle as Erica Spino raced to a best time of 28.97 seconds to win while Tattiana Serrano, in her first meet back from an injury, took second in 29.48 seconds.

“It was good to have Tattiana back and she was excellent putting up a best time in the 50 free,” McKee said.

Woodland rallied to take the top three spots in diving to get back in the meet. Kim Thrasher gave the Hawks their first win with a score of 133.28 with Liz Martin (113.25) finishing second and Lauren Lombardo (109.05) taking third.

Leeper followed up by racing to victory in the 100 butterfly in 1:06.19 to further close the gap.

Woodland’s Lauren Lombardo dives during a swim meet against Naugatuck last Friday in Naugatuck. -LUKE MARSHALL

Naugatuck needed to respond and it did so in grand fashion. Doback posted her second season-best time of the meet with a 58.73-second effort to win the 100 free. Elizabeth Walsh kept the pressure on, taking first in the 500 free with a season-best time of 5:59.29.

In one of the night’s closest races, Naugy’s 200 free relay squad of Barbara Martins, Niebrzydowski, Walsh and Doback finished in 1:52.09, just ahead of the Woodland’s Corneau, Brianna Christiano, Chloe Ariola and Leeper, who finished in 1:52.25.

“Winning that 200 freestyle relay was huge for us,” McKee said. “These girls are not resting on what they have accomplished and continue to work and train hard.”

Rotatori pulled off her second win of the meet by winning the 100 backstroke in 1:11.06 and Alexandra Silva put up a season-best time of 1:14.71 to secure second place.

Woodland’s Katie Porter won the 100 breaststroke in 1:23.85 and the Hawks’ 400 free relay team of Emma Sardinskas, Christiano, Whitney Stow and Emily Trumbley took first in 4:42.38, but it wasn’t enough to catch the Greyhounds.

“Tactically it was a great meet,” McKee said. “There are some very positive signs and the girls just need to continue to work hard and good things will happen.”

Naugy (4-1) earned a 94-82 win over Sacred Heart on Tuesday. The ‘Hounds will finish a five-meet homestand Friday against St. Paul.

The Hawks improved to 3-7 with a win over Seymour on Wednesday. Woodland returns home to face Sacred Heart on Friday and will host St. Paul on Oct. 17.