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swimming Staples hitting its stride at the right time

February 2, 2019

WESTPORT — The Staples boys swimming and diving team is looking to hit its stride as the postseason approaches.

The Wreckers have won their last two regular-season meets, against the Norwalk-McMahon co-op 97-89 on Jan. 23 and against Wilton 95-73 on Jan. 24, in rare back-to-back dual competitions to even their record at 3-3.

First-year head coach Todd Gordon said after the win over Norwalk-McMahon that his squad gets tested just about every meet due to the strength of the FCIAC, but he’s hopeful the Wreckers can end the regular season with a .500 or better record.

“What we’d like to see from this point forward is that they are continuing to work hard as we take the training to the peak and then we’ll begin a slow, down slope on intensity to get them ready for the championship meets,” said Gordon, who was an assistant coach with the Wreckers a season ago and was a head coach with the Ridgefield girls. “Over the next two weeks we’ll be looking to have them work harder with extra dry land, sprint and muscle work with a lot of pulling and kicking. Hopefully that will help them sustain meet performance.”

Those swimmers who have a great chance to place high in the postseason, according to Gordon, are senior captains John McNab (freestyle events), Austin Twiss (backstroke, butterfly) and Justin Lovro (IM, butterfly, breaststroke) and junior Nick Lott (freestyle, back) and sophomore Justin Lessing (sprint freestyle).

Gordon is also excited about the Wreckers’ relay teams, which have a shot at placing high in states, he said.

McNab won the 100 freestyle at states a season ago and Gordon expects him to be a contender in all the events he competes in.

“We definitely want to keep the momentum going,” said McNab, who won two individual events apiece in each of the team’s last two victories. “We started out 1-3, which didn’t feel too great, but hopefully we can continue to rack up wins and qualify more kids for FCIACs and states.”

Twiss has been undefeated in the 100 back and he hopes to place high in that event in FCIACs and states.

“We definitely want to get ready for championships and do the best we can,” Twiss said.

Lovro aspires to go far in the postseason, and he and his teammates are excited about what lies ahead.

“Just because the dual-meet season is coming to an end doesn’t mean we should taper or slow down,” Lovro said. “If we can get more kids to make it to states or the State Open, that’s a good thing.”

The captains, who each captured two events and two relays in the win over Wilton, said the team has potential to finish in the top five in the FCIAC.

Staples takes Greenwich — the defending FCIAC, LL and Open champion — on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The Wreckers also will be at Danbury on Monday at the O’Neil Center at Western Connecticut State University.

Gordon would like to see his team continue to drop its times, especially in Thursday’s meet.

“(Going against Greenwich) is a chance for our boys to see what the state champions look like,” the coach said. “They have a massive squad and are very deep in talent.”

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