Greenwich Boys’ Swim/Dive Takes Home FCIAC Gold
By Paul Silverfarb
(UPDATED: Friday, March 1 at 1:47 p.m.) Although the Greenwich High School boys’ swimming and diving team lost their regular season finale, they rebounded in a big way by taking home the FCIAC championship Thursday night.
“It was really nice to respond in a completely different way with a really fine FCIAC trials and championship finals,” GHS head coach Terry Lowe said. “They really stepped it up and said that we have to take control again. It started off winning that medley relay and we knew that was our best chance at a win all night. Then using high-quality depth and determination the rest of the way, we were able to do really well.”
Greenwich, which has won its 12th consecutive conference crown, finished the FCIAC championship meet with 429 points. New Canaan took the silver with 372 points. In third was Ridgefield, the lone team to beat GHS during the regular season, with 328 points. Darien took fourth overall with 249 points and Staples rounded out the top five with 219 points.
“I think this team has realized, all along, that they have to perform as a real solid team in order to have a championship,” Lowe said. “In every event they can point to someone else who has a chance to win. Yet they know they are a team. They are deeper and more solid of a team than mostly any other team in the state. They realize they can do it together and not separately. They showed it during FCIACs.”
In the meet, held at the Greenwich High School pool, Big Red had some fantastic performances. While the lone gold medal for the Cardinals came in the 200-yard medley relay event, the first event of the evening, Greenwich’s solid depth was too much to overcome.
“We might not have had a winner in an individual event, but we had really top quality swims that put us in the top 10 over and over again,” Lowe said. “We knew that was going to be the essence of our team this year. They really did a great job and I am so proud of them.”
Big Red’s performance in the 200-yard medley relay was lights out. The foursome of Justin Jacob, Thomas Lewis, Stephan Todorovic and Nicolas De La Sierra was able to pull away from Ridgefield and touch the wall first with a time of 1:35.47. The Tigers were second with a time of 1:36.86.
A shining example of Greenwich’s depth was on display in the 100-yard freestyle. Leading the way for Big Red was Charlie Clark, as he picked up third place overall, touching the wall with a time of 47.72 seconds. Right behind him was Nicholas Malchow, as he finished fourth on the evening with a time of 47.79.
The third top five swimmer for Greenwich was De La Sierra, as his time of 48.45 was good enough for fifth place. In total, Big Red scooped up 45 points between those three swimmers. Adding to the total was Mark Merson, as he finished ninth overall with a time of 49.45.
Another event where Greenwich capitalized with some big time points was in the 50-yard freestyle event, as Malchow took home the silver medal, touching the wall with a time of 21.53 seconds. Not to be outdone was teammate Nicolas De la Sierra, who netted fourth place in the event with a time of 22.01. Teammate Merson kept the good times rolling for Big Red, as his time of 22.25 was good enough for sixth place overall.
In the longest event of the day, the 500-yard freestyle, Greenwich flexed its muscles once again, posting four swimmers in the top 10. Leading the charge was Alex Plavoukos, as he took home the bronze and a time of 4:46.06. Two places away was teammate Thomas Cass, as he finished fifth with a time of 4:47.37.
The Cards had back-to-back finishers to round out the top 10, as James Pascale ended the night ninth overall with a time of 4:51.59 and teammate Nicholas Todorvic was 10th with a time of 4:52.16.
Another third place finisher was Lewis, as the junior competed in the 100-yard breaststroke and touched the wall with a time of 59.18. Lewis also competed in the 200-yard individual medley, posting a time of 1:56.77 that was good enough for fourth place overall in the event. Ryan Jee wasn’t to be denied as well in the event, as his time of 1:59.32 placed him sixth on the night.
Stephan Todorovic also competed in the 200-yard IM and finished ninth overall with a time of 1:56.97 and rounding out the top 10 was teammate John Jee, who netted a time of 1:59.82.
Another event were GHS placed multiple swimmers in the top 10 was in the 100-yard butterfly. Pascale paced Big Red, as his time of 52.64 was good enough for fifth overall. Stephan Todorovic ended the night ninth with a time of 51.79 and his teammate Jacob placed 10th overall with a time of 53.81.
Other individual swimmers fared well at FCIACs. In the 200-yard freestyle, Andres Ruh took home seventh overall with a time of 1:46.35.
“They were outstanding,” Lowe said. “Malchow did a really good job improving from last year. Niki De La Sierra was in agony with back problems but came through with excellent performances and scored high in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyles, as well as in the relay. Stephan Todorovic, after a miserable trials, came back with a really outstanding finals and put him right back in the leadership position. The entire team just did a great job.”
Big Red’s two other relays were also strong at FCIACs. In the 200-yard freestyle relay, the team of Merson, Malchow, Clark and De La Sierra edged out Ridgefield by mere inches and finished with the silver and a time of 1:27.37. Ridgefield’s team touched the wall with a time of 1:27.72.
Also taking second was the 400-yard freestyle relay. With the meet clinched for Big Red, the foursome of Malchow, Merson, Stephan Todorovic and Clark still raced with a purpose and ended the FCIAC finals with a time of 3:13.07.
Back on Tuesday, Greenwich competed in the FCIAC diving finals and Big Red picked up 26 points, as two divers finished top 10. Joel Satir ended the diving finals sixth overall, posting a score of 409.60. Teammate Michael McNulty took home ninth place overall and a score of 358.55.
With the victory at FCIACs under their belts, the Cardinals await the CIAC class LL championships, which gets underway in two weeks at the Southern Connecticut State University pool.
“We are hoping that this is the tip of the iceberg,” Lowe said. “We are getting a little more rested and a little more prepared for the state championship season. We had a grueling training trip we had in February and we are just beginning to feel stronger and stronger every day in the water. We need to get through this taper in nice fashion and get everybody as confident as possible.”
To read more about the team’s FCIAC championship, pick up next Friday’s Greenwich Sentinel.