Fresh off of a season which included a pair of second place finishes in the Class M State meet and the State Open, the Darien boys swim team is aiming for championships for the 2011-12 season.

As coach Jason Cochran put it, the 2010-11 season was one which "put Darien swimming back on the map."

"To get to where we want to be this year, they have to work hard every day. I am a firm believer in only wanting to move forward, which was a big talk that I had with the boys in our preseason meeting," Cochran said. "We were down for a few years, but we took a big stride last year. I told them that my challenge to them was to only move up."

In a sense, Darien has already "moved up" as it will now compete in Class L.

Although the Blue Wave just began practicing for the new season, several swimmers like what they've seen so far, though they admit that there is still a lot of work to be done if Darien is to accomplish its lofty goals.

"We're only looking to move forward," captain Tyler Gould said. "We definitely still have some work to do. We've looked alright and we're all a good group of kids, but we have to smooth out the edges a bit."

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"We definitely need a lot of work, especially with the lowerclassmen. We have a strong upper class," captain Jack Bair said. "The pressure [from last year's success] is definitely a good thing. It's definitely going to set our swimmers to do better. We did the best we've done in years last year, and we're only looking to do even better this year."

Darien is coming off of a season in which it finished as the runner-up to New Canaan in the Class M State meet. In that meet, Darien racked up 517.5 points compared to New Canaan's 567.5.

In the 53-team State Open, the Blue Wave managed to finish in front of New Canaan, but they were again the runner-up, this time to Greenwich. Darien notched 321 points to finish just off the pace of Greenwich's 388 points.

With practices just under way, Cochran admitted that he doesn't yet have a lineup set in stone for the upcoming season, though the second year coach added that he believes in-house competition will benefit his team in the long run.

"We definitely have some open competition this year for the lineup," Cochran said. "I don't want anyone to ever feel like they're walking in here with a spot given to them. I promote competition within; I promote competition against others. I feel that it keeps everyone honest and it's going to make it so nobody feels like they can take that one day off. If you do your work every day, you're going to get your spot."

Darien gets a stiff test right off the bat, as it plays host to crosstown rival New Canaan on Dec. 14 at 3 p.m. to start its season. Other key FCIAC matchups include Greenwich, Staples and Wilton.

"We're particularly looking forward to Greenwich a little later on in the season," captain Chris Janson said. "Greenwich has been a perennial winner and no one's beaten them in decades. It was one of the most exciting meets last year, and we hope we can give them something they're not expecting this year."