Depth Leads Greenwich High Swim/Dive to LL Gold
By Paul Silverfarb
Wednesday afternoon’s Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference class LL championship meet was like a coach’s dream for boys’ swimming and diving head coach Terry Lowe.
In what can only be described as a complete team effort, Greenwich High School was able to pull away with yet another class LL championship.
“I thought we had, with only a couple of minor disappointments, as good of a meet as you can possibly hope for over here,” said Lowe. “Will it set us up for Saturday, I don’t know. Fairfield Prep, Ridgefield and Staples just beat our butts during the regular season, so to come back and win this meet and top them up by a bunch of points is a real statement on how hard this team worked to come back and do take control of the meet.”
During Wednesday’s class LL meet, Greenwich kept the momentum going strong from winning the FCIAC championship two weeks prior and came away with the top spot and 833 points.
“This feels really good,” said sophomore Charlie Clark. “Most people underestimated us at the beginning of the season, but we knew that we were training and training hard. In both FCIACs and LLs, we showed it. We came out here, did well, had a bunch of best times and won. I am so proud of this team.”
The next closest team was Fairfield Prep, as they took the silver with 634.5 points. Finishing third was Staples High School, as they grabbed 593 points on the day. Taking fourth was Ridgefield with 514 points.
All three of those teams that GHS exacted revenge on accounted for the three losses Big Red had during the dual meet season.
Rounding out the top five was Glastonbury with 446.5 points.
“This championship felt really good because I feel like we were the underdog this year,” said GHS junior Stephan Todorovic. “We lost a lot of great seniors last year and coming into this we didn’t really know what we had. But after a lot of months of hard work, we managed to put it together and we pulled it off.”
Even before the swim meet took place, Greenwich gained some huge help towards reaching the class LL championship by its divers.
During the CIAC class LL diving finals, GHS dominated and finished with four in the top 15. Leading the way was senior Devon Satir, as he took silver with a score of 537.95 points. Fellow senior Sergei Shaw netted a top five finish, grabbing fourth overall and 25 points with a score of 447.95.
Not to be outdone was junior Joel Sati, a he finished seventh overall with 409.55 points. Teammate Joel McNulty took home an 11th place finish, posting a score of 370.90.
In total, the foursome of GHS divers gave the team 90 points heading into the swimming portion of the meet.
In contrast, Prep only gained five points from diving, while Ridgefield took home 23 and Staples ended the diving finals with nine.
“I say it over and over, but this team is so wonderful to work with,” Lowe said. “They are so focused and determined. They never let those defeats during the regular season bother them. They were bad. We were crushed and they could have easily gotten discouraged from those meets and let the season drift by. But instead they worked harder and harder.”
Leading the way for the swimmers was Todorovic. The lone golden individual swimmer for Greenwich on the day, Todorovic competed in the 200-yard individual medley. Having the fifth best seeded time coming into the meet, Todorovic upped his game and was the quickest to touch the wall, posting a time of 1:52.71. He edged out Ridgefield’s Andrew Bornstein by mere inches, as Bornstein took home a time of 1:52.77.
“I felt really good out there,” Todorovic said. “Once we had a couple of races under our belts, I saw the team do really well and that just motivated me to do even better in my individual events. It was pretty great to take that top place in the 200-IM and then again in the 400-free relay. That final relay we had so much energy to finish it strong.”
Keeping the good times rolling, Todorovic competed in the 100-yard butterfly and was as strong as ever, outlasting all but one swimmer and taking second overall with a time of 51.55 seconds.
“Today he lived up to his talk,” Lowe said. “It was fun to see him out there. He’s a terrific swimmer. He has a beautiful stroke and his IM was a pleasure to watch.”
Also having a meet to remember was Clark, as he ended the day with two top five individual finishes. Improving on his seeding time by over a second, Clark took home fourth place in the 200-yard freestyle, netting a time of 1:44.10.
Later in the meet, Clark took to the water in the 100-yard freestyle and fared better than his previous swim, taking second place overall and tying Glastonbury’s Chris Walker with a time of 47.28.
“I felt pretty good out there,” Clark said. “I had a best time in almost all my races. It was good. Last year I didn’t contribute that much, but this year I was a big part of the team. So it was a lot of fun contributing to the team. That’s what I wanted to do.”
Kirk Schultz was a solid swimmer in two individual events. Competing in the 500-yard freestyle, the longest event of the day, the GHS senior took home a time of 4:47.25 that was good enough for fourth place.
No one was going to grab the top spot, as that was reserved for Ridgefield’s Kieran Smith. Smith destroyed the state and class LL record with a blistering time of 4:21.37. The next closest, Ridgefield’s Connor Hunt finished with a time of 4:37.96.
In the 200-yard freestyle, Schultz started his day with a sixth-place time of 1:45.16.
“This feels wonderful,” Schultz said. “All the guys here have been working their tails off for the past few months and I am so proud of them for all they’ve done. We get so much talent from the freshmen and the underclassmen and all our practices just help them get better.”
Another senior, Patrick King, was lights out in the freestyle events during the class LL finals. His time of 48.64 in the 100-yard freestyle was good enough for seventh place overall. King did one better in the quickest event of the day, the 50-yard freestyle, posting a sixth-place time of 22.04.
Keeping the senior theme going strong, Big Red had a plethora of finisher make some noise in the pool.
Segundo Rienhardt battled in the hotly-contested 50-yard freestyle and finished 10th overall, netting a time of 22.96. In the 100-yard freestyle later in the day, Rienhardt was eighth overall, touching the wall with a time of 49.12.
Senior Ryan Lynch also scored some big points for Big Red. Competing in the 200-yard individual medley, Lynch took home sixth place on the day, posting a time of 1:56.85. In the 100-yard breaststroke, his time of 1:00.50 was good enough for 11th place overall. Fellow senior Mackenzie Baxter also competed in two individual events. His best was the 100-yard freestyle, as he grabbed sixth overall and a time of 48.23. Not to be outdone, Baxter took to the water in the 200-yard freestyle and was 15th overall (1:49.65).
Sophomore Thomas Lewis also took home a pair of top 10 finishes at the LL finals. His best performance was in the 100-yard breaststroke, as he touched the wall sixth with a time of 58.66. In the 200-yard individual medley, Lewis cracked the 2:00 mark, posting a time of 1:57.40 that was good enough for seventh on the day.
Newcomer to the team, James Pascale, ended the day by making a statement on the state stage. His time of 52.79 in the 100-yard butterfly placed him sixth overall. While competing in the 500-yard freestyle, Pascale took home a top 10 finish, placing eighth overall with a time of 4:55.57.
“I had some pretty good swims today,” Pascale said. “I just feel that the whole team had a really good swim. We all kind of build off each other’s confidence and energy and that is why I feel like our team does so well. In the butterfly I did drop from second to sixth, but I did drop time, which I am happy about.”
Fellow classmate, Christian Lanuza, also competed in the 500-yard freestyle and took home ninth overall and a time of 4:52.97. In the 100-yard breaststroke, Lanuza cracked the top 15, taking 14th with a time of 1:02.56.
The Cardinals also scored some big points and helped the team secure the championship in the relay events. Leading the way was the final event of the day, the 400-yard freestyle relay, as the foursome of Baxter, Todorovic, Rienhardt and Clark took home the top time, grabbing the gold medal and 60 points with a time of 3:11.88.
Not to be outdone was the group in the 200-yard freestyle relay, as sophomore Mark Merson, along with teammates Baxter, King and Clark shaved over a second off its seeding time and took home the bronze with a time of 1:27.28.
In the first event of the day, the 200-yard medley relay, the team of Todorovic, Lewis, junior Nicolas de la Sierra and Nicholas Malchow touched the wall with a time of 1:38.22 and that was good enough for fourth place on the day.
In addition to the dual individual swimmers, the Cardinals had a plethora of quality swims up and down the class LL finals.
Senior Matthew Li took home 10th in the 100-yard backstroke, posting a time of 54.20 Also finishing 10th on the day was freshman Thomas Cass, as he competed in the 500-yard freestyle and touched the wall with a time of 4:51.61.
In addition to their performances in the relay events, a pair of underclassmen took home top 15 times in individual events. Merson was 11th overall in the 50-yard freestyle, posting a time of 22.52. Not to be outdone was Malchow, as he battled in the 100-yard backstroke and netted an 11th place finish (54.79).
Andres Ruh was strong in the 200-yard freestyle, as the sophomore touched the wall in the 200-yard freestyle 12th overall with a time of 1:47.16. Also finishing 12th was de la Sierra, as the junior raced in the 50-yard freestyle and netted a time of 22.60.
Senior Andrw Daur took home a time of 56.45 in the 100-yard backstroke and that placed him 13th overall, while sophomore Matthew Lourenco’s time of 1:02.63 in the 100-yard breaststroke placed him 15th overall. Fellow sophomore, John Jee was a member in the 200-yard individual medley and finished 14th overall (2:02.46).
Big Red senior Jack Bound had a time of 55.05 in the 100-yard butterfly and that placed him 22nd overall. Freshman Alexander Plavoukos was fourth swimmer in the 100-yard backstroke and he finished 17th overall with a time of 56.32.
“Going into the beginning of the season, I felt like we had a lot of freshmen with a lot of potential and some strong upperclassmen as well,” Todorovic said. “We worked throughout the season to figure out what events were best for everybody and it showed today. We put together a great championship team.”
On Saturday, the Greenwich High School will end its season by traveling to Yale University in New Haven for competition in the CIAC state open championship meet.