class ll boy swimming and diving 7th Heaven for Cardinals
NEW HAVEN — Entering Monday’s Class LL Swimming Championships, Greenwich knew it needed to not only win the meet in order to also contend for the State Open title, it had to do so in convincing fashion.
Winning five events and registering numerous top-five finishes, Greenwich continued its reign of supremacy, capturing its seventh straight Class LL championship, amassing 911 team points at Southern Connecticut State University.
Ridgefield was the runner-up in the team standings (598), followed by Fairfield Prep (537), Glastonbury (487.5) and Staples (337).
New Canaan, one of the teams expected to challenge Greenwich for the State Open championship, is projected to earn a lot of points in Tuesday’s diving portion of the Open, so the Cardinals were aware they had to excel at the Class LL finals — which also served as the State Open qualifier.
“We knew we had a big job to do, especially with New Canaan getting such an advantage in diving,” GHS junior Thomas Lewis said. “Coach Lowe told us these last few days we really have to work hard. We had a good performance on Saturday for trials, but he said that’s not going to be enough if we want to win this championship. We had that mentality going in.”
The Cardinals won all three relay events, senior Stephan Todorovic finished first in the 200-yard individual medley and junior Charlie Clark was the 100 freestyle winner.
“It feels great, it’s a product of all the work we put in the entire season,” Todorovic said. “It’s really nice to see it all come together. We had so many best times across the board from so many different people.”
Said GHS coach Terry Lowe: “ I think we may have put ourselves in a good position for Thursday’s State Open. We know we may be 80 down to New Canaan after the diving (which takes place Wednesday) and New Canaan has some top-notch swimmers, so we may have to win those relays to have a chance to beat them at the Open.”
Junior Ben Feldman of Westhill/Stamford and sophomore Connor Hunt from Ridgefield won two individual events apiece on Monday.
Hunt earned the first-place medal in the 200-yard freestyle, touching the wall in 1:41.02. Glastonbury senior McAllister Milne placed second (1:41.71), followed by Staples senior John McNab (1:42.26) and Clark of Greenwich (1:43.31).
“That was a new lifetime best for me in the 200 freestyle, so I’m really happy with it,” Hunt said. “I was fortunate to have McAllister Milne and John McNab right next to me. They both pushed me and helped me to swim really fast.”
In the 500-yard freestyle, Hunt produced a winning time of 4:33.15. Todorovic of the Cardinal finished second in 4:36.98 and Milne was third with a time of 4:40.03.
“The 500 was a great swim,” Hunt said. “Stephan (Todorovic) also had a great race. He was two lanes away. He pushed me through the first half of the race and made me really work for it.”
The top-seeded Feldman recorded a first-place finish in the 100 butterfly (50.23 seconds). Kevin Tierney, a Glastonbury senior was second in 51.88, while teammate Christopher Davis, a senior, took third (51.91). Right behind Davis were Manchester senior Colin Zorger (51.92) and Greenwich sophomore James Pascale (51.94).
“The butterfly was pretty good, the time wasn’t great, but I really tried to focus on my walls,” Feldman said. I was really going for the win and I got it. At the State Open, I am going to be against a strong field, which is going to push me to be my best.”
The 100 breaststroke saw Feldman garner the first-place medal by clocking in at 57.09. Lewis of Greenwich finished second (57.88) and Davis from Glastonbury was third in 59.43.
“I had a really good race,” Feldman said. “There are some things I need to improve on, but I’m happy with my time.”
The Class LL finals began with Greenwich’s 200 medley relay team of Justin Jacob, Lewis, Todorovic and Nicolas de La Sierra combining for a winning time of 1:35.11. Fairfield Prep placed second (1:36.75), followed by Ridgefield (1:37.10) and Glastonbury (1:37.17).
Todorovic gave Greenwich a first-place showing in the 200-yard individual medley (1:51.08). Fairfield Prep junior Richard Nolan took second (1:53.04) and Lewis of GHS was third (1:53.54).
“Stephan’s swim in the 200 IM was stellar,” Lowe said. “He swam great in all his races.”
Fairfield Prep coach Rick Hutchinson was impressed with Nolan’s performance and his entire squad’s results.
Ridgefield also received a winning effort from senior William Bryant in the 50-yard freestyle. In the meet’s closest finish, the speedy Bryant touched the wall in 21.64 seconds. Greenwich sophomore Nicholas Malchow was a blink of an eye behind him in 21.76, as were de la Sierra (21.89) and Newtown senior Colby Delia (22.01).
“I am thrilled with the way we performed, we had lifetime best times from 90 to 95 percent of our swimmers today, so you can’t ask for more than that,” Hutchinson said. “The 200 medley relay was our best time of the season. Finishing second in the first event was a great way to start the meet. As for Nolan, he is an all-around great swimmer. We look for our best guy to lead us and he did that today.”
Clark earned top honors in the 100 freestyle (46.67). McNab of Staples got the second-place medal (46.91) and Malchow took third (48.05).
“It felt really good to win that event, going into the meet, I didn’t know how I was going to do,” Clark said. “John McNab is a great competitor, so it took a lot to win that event.”
Said McNab: “I think it was pretty well-executed. Charlie Clark had his best time by I think a half a second. I added some time — that will be a good race at the Open, I am looking forward to that. It’s anyone’s game at the Open.”
Glastonbury’s Tierney was the 100 backstroke champion. He finished the race in 52.57 seconds, whle Staples senior Austin Twiss finished second (52.59) and Fairfield Prep senior was third (52.97).
“Coming into it, I knew I had to get off the block quick and get my under water going,” Tierney said. “I just focused on that. The whole season I have been working on my walls. I also focused on that, which helped me.”
Malchow, junior Mark Merson, de la Sierra and CLark formed a championship 200 freestyle relay team for the Cards (1:26.34).
Norwalk/McMahon (240), Westhill/Stamford (209), Fairfield co-op (207.5), Southington (186) and Newtown (163) rounded out the top-10 squads in the team standings.
“It was a fine performance indeed,” Southington coach Evan Tuttle said. “We knew coming off of trials we were in the spot we wanted to be. All the relays dropped time and they hit their marks. I gave them a job to do coming into today and each of them did it.”
The Cardinals put the finishing touch on their 26th CIAC Class LL title by winning the 400-yard freestyle relay (Malcohow, Merson, Todorovic, Clark) 3:09.35. Ridgefield was second (3:13.60).
The State Open swimming finals takes place Thursday at Yale University at 6:30 p.m. Greenwich has won the State Open title the past six seasons.
“We proved today that we are willing to do what it takes to win, now we have to do that on Thursday,” Clark said. “It should be a great meet.”