NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys swim team built an early lead and withstood a Woodland comeback attempt before cruising to a 93-73 win on Tuesday.
The Hawks took first place in diving and then won the next two events but it wasn’t enough to catch the Greyhounds as Naugatuck improved to 2-0 in the Naugatuck Valley League and 2-1 overall.
“We showed more improvement in this meet than any time since the season started,” Naugatuck head coach Jim McKee said. “It’s one thing to do season-best times. What we are seeing now is the kids are learning to compete.”
The ‘Hounds got right after it, racing to victory in the 200-yard medley relay with the foursome of Mitchell Santos, Matt Hall, Adam Branco and Scott Sill touching the wall in 1 minute, 48.59 seconds.
The Woodland (0-4, 0-2 NVL) squad of Andy O’Dell, Aidan Music, Alan Katrenya and Patrick Dietz took second with an effort of 1:52.70. Naugatuck took the lead with the team of Simon Brondum, Roberto Rodriques, Evan Vaz and Vincent Thoren finishing third in 2:04.31.
A clean sweep in the 200 freestyle put the Greyhounds out in front for good. George Vygoder swam to victory with a time of 2:07.81 with John Dean taking second and Nicholas Ryan finishing third.
Ryan’s performance, in particular, caught McKee’s attention.
“We had a first year swimmer (Nicholas Ryan) in the 200 free touch out a Woodland swimmer for third place,” McKee said. “The only thing he wanted to know is if he beat that kid. He never bothered to check his time. That’s the point when you are learning to compete and that’s what we want them thinking about.”
Aidan Music gave the Hawks their first win of the meet, taking the 200 IM in a time of 2:18.54, but Woodland couldn’t close the gap with Naugy’s Marcus Cruz finishing second and Dan Cacchillo taking third.
Hall won the 50 freestyle in 24.27 seconds with teammate Eric Hanley right behind in second place. Dietz finished third for Woodland but Naugatuck held a commanding, 58-26 lead.
Woodland made a move to try to close the deficit. Steve McCusker won the diving competition scoring a 172.50. Then Andy O’Dell raced to a first-place finish in the 100 fly in 59.49 seconds and Music took first in the 100 freestyle with a winning time of 54.91 seconds.
“I thought we swam very well,” Woodland head coach Tom Currier said. “The kids are pumped up and working hard to improve with every meet. We continued to show improvement in our times and we are ready to go with the NVL portion of our schedule coming up.”
As much as Woodland tried to close the gap, it was the performance in the 500 freestyle by Naugatuck that was the real attention-getter.
Santos set a steady pace and outdistanced the closest Woodland swimmer by two lengths of the pool, taking the race in 5:59.09. Jake Morrissey gave the ‘Hounds a second-place finish in 6:10.16 with Dietz finishing third for the Hawks in 6:54.97.
Naugatuck put away the meet with a clean sweep in the 100 backstroke. Freshman Martin Lippai took first in 1:12.59 with Skyler Kuroski finishing second and Sullivar Souanthoram taking third.
“We had backstrokers dropping 5 to 6 seconds off their times,” McKee said. “We had breaststrokers dropping 4 to 5 seconds and our sprinters were all dropping times.”
Woodland closed out the meet with Naugatuck swimming unofficial times. Donovan White took first in the 100 breaststroke with Pat Conway taking second and Jordan Baer finishing third. The Hawks also took the 400 free relay with James Jensen, Katrenya, Dietz and O’Dell finishing in 4:00.30.
Woodland will be back in action on Friday at Masuk to take on the Panthers before hosting its first meet of 2013 on Tuesday against Crosby. The Greyhounds will gear up for an NVL meet against Holy Cross at Kennedy on Friday.
“Eventually you settle into your pace and we are not even close to that point yet,” McKee said. “I’m really encouraged with our progress.”