BEACON FALLS — After the most successful season in program history — led by a talented, zany group of seniors — the Woodland boys swim team will reboot with the focus on some of its younger athletes.
With record-setting athletes such as Riley Clark, Greg Aldrich, and a host of other championship-level swimmers gone, the Hawks will lean on many new faces — and a few of the same — this winter.
“After 10 years of being here, you just learn how to reset,” Woodland coach Tom Currier said. “It’s more the sad part about missing the guys you were with for four years. But we have these guys, and they had good leadership from their seniors (last year). You have to reset, start fresh, and have fun.”
Last year’s six seniors led Woodland to a program-best third-place finish at the Naugatuck Valley League championship last season. Aldrich and Clark both hold school records, while guys like Zack Arisian, Joe Flaherty, Zach Hummel and Jeff Varesio provided a loose yet hardworking atmosphere that left an impact on those athletes returning this year.
Key returners figure to include Zac Bertrand, Ryan Curtin, Jake Arisian, Tyler Cyr, Tyler Macdowall, Noah Scott, Pat Zieba and Aiden Kennedy. The Hawks also return diver D.J. Mulligan, who will follow in the footsteps of Clark, the three-time NVL champion.
Zieba, Curtin, Scott and Arisian swam to a fifth-place finish in the 200 medley relay at last year’s NVL championship.
Bertrand and Curtin are the team’s only seniors, and there are a handful of juniors. But most of the squad’s two dozen swimmers are underclassmen.
“They’re a little more serious than last year, which is fine,” Currier said. “They have good work ethics. We’re bringing the freshmen in pretty quickly, which is good.”
No matter the experience of his team, Currier said the first month of the season is all about conditioning.
“Young or old, it’s all about general endurance right now,” Currier said. “We’re building the base. There’s a lot of basic training, core work, that foundation that’s going to last the whole year.”
Woodland will open the season Thursday at home against Northwestern, the Hawks’ lone meet of the month. They’ll resume after the holiday break with a home meet vs. Torrington on Jan. 7.
As for the season’s goals, Currier wants to maintain a positive atmosphere that will encourage individual development.
“We want to work hard, have fun, and make them better swimmers,” Currier said. “If you do that, everything else will fall into place.”