Greenwich wins FCIAC Boys Swim title; Ridgefield’s Smith MVP
GREENWICH — It’s not about pomp and circumstance for the Greenwich High School boys swim program.
It is only about serving the tradition of excellence for the Cardinals. The last two times that Greenwich High School lost the team title at the FCIAC championships were 2007 and 1970.
The 2018 GHS squad wasn’t about to be the group that couldn’t. The Cardinals — both young and old — performed on all cylinders Sunday and rode their vaunted depth to amass 432.5 points and capture the team crown.
Staples (395) was runnerup followed by Ridgefield (334), Darien (281.5), New Canaan (227) and Norwalk-McMahon (153).
Completing the top 10 were Westhill-Stamford (116), Wilton (108), Trumbull (89) and Fairfield Co-op (47).
“We have one tough bunch of kids. We don’t have the same level of talent as some of our past teams, but these kids are one of the hardest working group the program has ever had,” Greenwich coach Terry Lowe said. “Our coaching staff marvels at their work ethic. It was fun to watch these kids rise to the occasion today. It took an awesome effort to reach this achievement. I’m so proud of them.”
This 11th consecutive FCIAC championship was forged without Greenwich taking a first-place finish in any of the 12 events.
Greenwich had a second place in the day’s final event — the 400 freestyle relay — along with thirds in the other two relays.
It was an afternoon where Generation Next stood tall for GHS. The work of freshmen like Thomas Cass, Christian Lanuza, Nicholas Malchow, Alexander Ye, and Alex Plavoukos was critical as the FCIAC meet is scored No. 1 through No. 16 in each event.
“Our freshmen showed their grit,” Lowe said.
The other key for Greenwich was the work of divers Sergei Shaw, Devon Satir, Joel Satir and Michael McNulty in last Tuesday’s FCIAC diving championship. The quartet all finished in the top 13 to give Greenwich a 41-point boost into Sunday’s meet. By comparison, Staples earned just three points from the diving.
“Diving was where we had the edge on Staples. 41 points is so big,” Lowe said. “(GHS diving coach Sergey Mescherskiy) Sergey’s group is our ace in the hole.”
GREAT MEET FOR STAPLES
Jeff Bonaccorso’s first year coaching the Staples High boys swim program was memorable.
Bonaccorso received FCIAC Coach of the Year honors. And his seniors made their last FCIAC swim championship count.
Senior Nicolas Ortega took first place in the 200 yard free and 500 free as well as swimming anchor leg on Staples’ victorious 400 free relay.
Senior Dashiell Hunter was runnerup in the 50 free and 100 yard breaststroke. Junior John McNab had a pair of seconds and was part of the 400 free relay.
“The kids worked so hard. They deserve all the credit in the world,” said Bonaccorso, who had years of success with the Ridgefield High girls swim program. “They swam every race to the end. And Nico (Ortega) never lets me down. He performs so well on the biggest stages.”
QUALITY NOT QUANTITY FOR RIDGEFIELD
Ridgefield only had eight different swimmers competing in the championship heat of Sunday’s 11 events. The Tigers received 12 points from Caitlin Inall, who competed in last Tuesday’s FCIAC diving championship.
Ridgefield’s Gang of Eight took first place in seven of Sunday’s 11 events on its way to 334 points.
Meet MVP and future University of Florida swimmer Kieran Smith paced the effort.
Smith smashed a 38-year-old meet record by nearly two seconds while winning the 100 yard freestyle in 44.29. He lowered his own meet record by .15 while taking the 100 backstroke. He swam lead leg as Ridgefield lowered their own meet record in the 200 yard medley relay to 1:33.54. Smith swam anchor leg as Ridgefield captured the 200 free relay by .51 over Staples.
“It was a lot of fun. It was a great way to end my FCIAC career,” said Smith, who also dunked the lap cards in the 500 free for freshman Connor Hunt (who finished second). “I have so many great memories at this Greenwich High pool. We should be a strong team in the state meets.”
Senior captain Andrew Bornstein won the 200 IM and defended his FCIAC title in the 100 yard breaststroke as well as swimming on a victorious relay.
Junior Will Bryant (won 50 free, two winning relays) and Luke Hruska (pair of thirds, part of two winning relays) were huge for Ridgefield.
“This year was about wins and swimming best times,” said Ridgefield coach Emmanuel Lanzo. “We got help from everybody and we achieved our goals. The seniors are family and made me a better coach every day. The young kids will grow. It’s about the love of the team.”
BRIGHT FUTURE FOR FELDMAN
Westhill-Stamford Co-op sophomore Ben Feldman was the FCIAC 100 butterfly champion in 49.91. He also was third in the 100 breaststroke.
“To win in the FCIACs as a sophomore is special,” Feldman said. “To break 50 seconds in the butterfly means a lot to me as well.”
FCIAC SWIM CHAMPIONSHIP
At Greenwich High pool. TEAM SCORES: 1, Greenwich 432.50 points; 2, Staples 395; 3, Ridgefield 334; 4, Darien 281.5; 5, New Canaan 227; 6, Norwalk-McMahon 153; 7, Westhill-Stamford 116; 8, Wilton 108; 9, Trumbull 89; 10, Fairfield Co-op 47.
INDIVIDUAL EVENTS (Top 3 finishers)
200 Yard Medley Relay: 1, Ridgefield (Kieran Smith, Luke Hruska, Andrew Bornstein, Will Bryant) 1:33.54 (lowered their own meet record); 2, Staples 1:35.57; 3, Darien 1:39.20. 200 Yard Freestyle: 1, Nicolas Ortega (Staples) 1:41.57; 2, Connor Hunt (Ridgefield) 1:43.95; 3, Jake Ritz (New Canaan) 1:45.01.
200 IM: 1, Andrew Bornstein (Ridge) 1:53.96; 2, John McNab (Staples) 1:54.68; 3, Luke Stewart (NC). 50 Yard Freestyle: 1, Will Bryant (Ridge) 21.79; 2, Dashiell Hunter (Stap) 21.88; 3, Josiah Tarrant (Stap) 22.11.
100 Yard Butterfly: 1, Ben Feldman (Westhill-SHS) 49.71; 2, Connor Martin (Darien) 51.81; 3, Luke Hruska (Ridge) 52.39. 100 Yard Freestyle: 1, Kieran Smith (Ridge) 44.29 (broke 38-year-old meet record mark of 46.07); 2, John McNab (Stap) 47.02; 3, Charles Jones (Greenwich) 47.95.
500 Freestyle: 1, Nicolas Ortega (Staples) 4:36.22; 2, Connor Hunt (Ridge) 4:38.45; 3, Jake Ritz (NC) 4:44.47. 200 Yard Free Relay: 1, Ridgefield (Hunt, Hruska, Bryant, Smith) 1:26.23; 2, Staples 1:26.74; 3, Greenwich 1:28.59.
100 yard Backstroke: 1, Kieran Smith (Ridgefield) 49.32 (lowers his own meet record by .15); 2, Spencer Erickson (Darien) 53.27; 3, Luke Hruska (Ridgefield) 53.59. 100 Yard Breaststroke: 1, Andrew Bornstein (Ridgefield) 56.75 (repeats as 100 breaststroke champ); 2, Dashiell Hunter (Stap) 57.83; 3, Ben Feldman (Westhill-SHS) 57.89.
400 Yard Free Relay: 1, Staples (John McNab, Scott Adler, Austin Twiss, Nicolas Ortega) 3:13.69; 2, Greenwich 3:14.81; 3, Darien 3:17.82.
Meet MVP: Kieran Smith, Ridgefield. Note: Greenwich has won last 11 FCIAC Boys Swim titles since 2007. Last non-FCIAC title year before that: 1970.