Season preview: Boys swimming and diving

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Naugatuck
2020-21: 4-4 regular season, 4th in virtual NVL meet
Graduated: Justin Stone (NVL runner-up diving), Kevin Healy, Jeff Bonnardi, Jacob Hall, Craig June, Tyler Ruisi
Seniors: Captains, Steve Herb, Gavin McKeon, Max Napoli
Other key athletes: Junior diver Blake Stone, junior Hudson Bombery, sophomore Eric Fortney, freshman Kellen Maher
The Naugatuck Greyhounds are looking forward to making a statement after not being able to compete in a state meet for the past two years. Due to the pandemic last year’s NVL championship lost a little of its flair when teams did virtual meets against another team and a few days later the winner was determined by matching scores from all the virtual meets. The Greyhounds, a five-time NVL runner-up to Holy Cross, are certainly looking to get back in the fray this season with live meets and a NVL championship to shoot for as well as state meets.
“We have a good group of guys coming in to fill out the events,” said Naugatuck coach Dan Knepple. “They are all ready to go and have a relatively normal kind of season as we can be. Being able to swim against other teams in person will really create a more competitive environment.
“It was kind of tough to keep up the motivation without any competitors in the next lane last season. They missed their opportunity to compete in states for the past two years and I know that is huge incentive this season. We did swim against Seymour in the virtual NVL meet but it was certainly nothing like competing at the actual championship.”

Woodland
2020-21 results: 8-1 overall; NVL runner-up
Graduated: Noah Behrle, Brooke Iannone, Riley Muricchio, Noah Scott, Pat Zieba
Seniors: DeAngelo Allen, Jake Arisian, Tyler Cyr, Aiden Kennedy, Tyer MacDowall, Hunter Morgan, D.J. Mulligan, Will Tottenham, Taha Turshani
First meets: Dec. 17 at Masuk; Dec. 28 vs. Shelton
The Hawks enjoyed their most successful boys season in program history last year, falling just shy of Holy Cross for the NVL championship. Although several key members of that team graduated, Woodland brings back plenty of speed in the pool and talent on the diving board.
Arisian posted arguably the best season in school history last year as a junior, and second-year coach Brendan Heller thinks there’s more to come.
“We are excited to see him compete in a true postseason this year,” Heller said.
Heller, who just coached the Greenwich High girls team to the State Open title in the fall, noted that Woodland’s “talented freshman class … can make some noise” in helping to replace the graduates and other swimmers that chose to compete in other sports this winter.
With all the momentum from last year, Heller said the team’s goal will be working toward success during the championship season.
“We look to train hard, have fun, and hit our stride and be at our best in March,” Heller said.