Four meets into its season, the Greenwich boys swimming team is in a familiar situation in what’s been an unfamiliar type season.
As in year’s past, the Cardinals are undefeated at this point of the season and are gearing up for an all-important postseason meet. Yet, the Cardinals aren’t fine tuning their skills for the always anticipated State Open and Class LL championship meets. Those meets, which Greenwich has excelled at for decades, are cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So the focus of Greenwich’s 2021 campaign is winning another FCIAC title.
Perennial powerhouse Greenwich has captured the FCIAC championship 49 of the past 50 seasons. The FCIAC championship meet was one of the competitions the Cardinals used as preparation for the Class LL and State Open in previous seasons. This season, it will be the Cardinals ultimate challenge.
“I am really pleased with what I’ve seen from the team,” said Greenwich coach Terry Lowe, who has guided the Cardinals to all of their FCIAC, Class LL and State Open titles. “We’ve had demanding workouts, but I’ve seen strong indications of where this team will end up in our final dual meet, which is part of the FCIAC championship.”
Due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, only two teams are allowed to compete against each other at one time, so the FCIAC meet will follow a dual meet format, with two squads meeting in six meets. The results of all six of the meets will be combined to determine the individual and team champions.
“I think it’s going pretty well considering how short the season is,” Cardinals senior Alex Plavoukos said. “We work as hard as we do in every practice and the results show here in the meet. It’s impressive that we’re all sticking together, especially in a season like this.”
Wednesday, Greenwich upped its record to 4-0, defeating visiting Wilton, 143-43. The meet saw the Cardinals mix up their lineup, with swimmers competing in some different events that they usually race in. The meet began with Plavoukos, Jee, Christian Lanuza and Matthew Hake combining for a winning time of 1:41.98 in the 200-yard medley relay.
“It was nice to see our 200 medley teams working hard against each other,” Lowe said.
In the 200-yard freestyle, Wilton’s James LaBant had a first-place finish in 1:53.48, followed by Greenwich’s Hunter Daur (1:55.47) and teammate Evan Belmont (1:56.33). Junior Justin Jacob was the 200 individual medley winner for the Cardinals (2:03.97), followed by teammates Marko Todorovic (2:05.89) and James Pascale (2:08.55). Sophomore Charlie Kosinski of Greenwich won the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.98, then the Cardinals’ divers flourished once again on the 1-meter board.
Sophomore Whitaker Grover earned an impressive 319.95 points over six dives, good for the meet’s top honors. Joel Satir, a senior, placed second (277.73) and Aiden Kriskey, also a senior took third (225.33).
“I can’t say enough about the job (coach) Kevin Thompson is doing with the divers,” Lowe said. “Our divers have been great.”
Plavoukos touched the wall first in the 100-yard butterfly, clocking in at 55.63. Hake was the runner-up (56.86). He also competed in the 100-yard backstroke event.
“The last time I swam the backstroke was my freshman year, I usually stick to distance freestyle, so the back and the butterfly, that was different for me,” Plavoukos said.
Jee also competed in off events, swimming the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
“I don’t usually do those, but since I swim the IM it’s not too different, since I usually do all the strokes.” Jee said. “It’s definitely a nice change to see where you are at in other events. I think our team looks pretty strong, everyone is doing great in practice under the circumstances.”
Labant gave Wilton a first-place finish in the 100 freestyle (52.74), while Daur placed second in 53 seconds. Lanuza, a senior, finished first in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:48.24. Todorovic was second in 4:55.29, followed by Jacob (5:15.31). Plavoukos’ main individual events are the 200 and 500 freestyle.
“One of our biggest factors is how much we like to race each other,” Plavoukos said of the team’s demeanor during workouts. “In practice, our biggest competitor is ourselves in the water. Me and Marko, we are always doing distance races and he is always pushing me. The fact that we are always racing each other and that we always want to beat each other is what pushes us.”
Belmont won the 100 backstroke (1:02.09) and senior Mic DiLascia was the 100 breaststroke winner for the Cards (1:02.04).
Greenwich visits rival New Canaan Saturday at the New Canaan YMCA at 4 p.m. Their meet with Ridgefield that is part of the FCIAC Championship, is scheduled for March 22 at GHS.
“Ridgefield is very good,” Lowe said. “We want the best competition to push us hard. We are really happy to have them for that meet on March 22.”