Season preview: boys swimming

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Naugatuck

2019-20 results: 8-4; finished second at NVL championship

Graduated: Spencer Maher (All-NVL), Ethan Phaneuf (All-NVL), Bailey Ceryak, David Green, Nelson Lavoura, Alex Manasoiu

Seniors: Jeff Bonnardi, Jacob Hall, Kevin Healy, Craig June, Tyler Ruisi, Justin Stone

Season opener: Feb. 16 vs. Kennedy

The Greyhounds have finished runner-up in the NVL five years in a row. It’s uncertain whether there will be a postseason meet this season, so the Greyhounds are focusing on continuing to build a sturdy foundation under third-year head coach Dan Knepple.

Naugatuck graduated a strong class of athletes but has a mixture of experience and diversity in the lineup, including juniors Gavin Mckeon and Steve Herb and sophomores Jason Main, Blake Stone, Hudson Bombery and Pedro Crivella.

“The guys are excited to be back,” Knepple said. “We do have some out due to return-to-play protocols. The mindset we have for the team is a bit different for this season in that we want to do everything in our power to keep it from ending early. We are looking forward to the meets, but we want to make sure we get there first.”

Woodland

2019-20 results: third at NVL championships

Graduated: Ryan Curtin, Zac Bertrand, Diondra Owusu

Seniors: Noah Scott, Pat Zieba, Noah Behrle, Riley Muricchio, Brooke Iannone

Season opener: Feb. 16 vs. Crosby-Waterbury Career

Woodland comes off back-to-back third-place finishes at the Naugatuck Valley League championships, and the Hawks should contend for more medals this winter.

Zieba, Scott, and Tyler MacDowall return as three-quarters of last year’s championship-winning 200 medley relay team. They were the first Woodland swimmers to claim NVL gold medals since 2015.

Scott was also the silver medalist in the 50 freestyle a year ago, while Zieba was third in the 100 backstroke. Junior D.J. Mulligan returns after placing fourth in the NVL diving championships last year.

Junior Jake Arisian, who added his name to the school’s record board early last season, rejoins the squad and “will compete in every event throughout the season,” according to first-year head coach Brendan Heller.

Woodland has six virtual meets and four in-person meets scheduled.

“We look forward to using our virtual meets as a way to train and be prepared to step up and compete down the stretch when we want to be at our best and peak at the end of March,” Heller said. “[We are] grateful to have a season and the kids are making the most of it every day.”