Greenwich began Thursday night’s FCIAC Boys Swimming Championships by winning the 200-yard medley relay race, then posed for a championship picture at the conclusion of the meet – a very familiar scenario, indeed.
The Cardinals continued their dynasty, adding more championship hardware to the crowded trophy cases at Greenwich High School.
Receiving a wealth of impressive performances throughout its lineup, Greenwich captured the team title at the FCIAC Championships for the 51st time in 52 years, amassing 462.50 points, before a large crowd at Greenwich High.
Ridgefield was the runner-up in the team standings with 332.50 points, followed by Norwalk-McMahon (266), New Canaan (257) and Darien (224.50) at the 12-team championship meet.
“This is about as good as it gets,” said Greenwich legendary coach Terry Lowe, who has led the Cardinals to all their titles. “There were a lot of great times and outstanding performances produced by our team. It was nice to have a real big, great meet again and it was an impressive meet for our team from beginning to end.”
Greenwich registered first-place finishes in the 200-yard medley relay, the 200 individual medley and the 200-yard freestyle relay, while posting top-five finishes in nearly every other event.
“Overall, it was a really great meet with a bunch of breakthrough swims,” said Ryan Jee, one of Greenwich’s senior captains. “Everyone played the role they needed to and more. So many people were in those crucial spots, the last seed in the fast heat or in the consolation heat, they pulled through and moved up a couple of spots. They did exactly what we needed to do to win the meet.”
Thursday’s championship meet commenced with the Cardinals quartet of Liam Flaherty, Mic DiLascia, Justin Jacob and Aiden Bucaria combining for a winning time of 1:35.03 in the 200-yard medley relay. Westhill placed second in 1:36.44, followed by Norwalk-McMahon (1:36.56).
“Our relays were our strongest part tonight,” said DiLascia, also a senior captain. “Coming off that victory in the 200 medley, it boosted our morale for the rest of the meet.”
As for the team winning another FCIAC title?
“It feels great, it was interesting, because we didn’t go as fast as we wanted to at trials, but coach’s process is always right and we had a great meet tonight.”
In the 200-yard freestyle finals, Ridgefield sophomore Jack Clancy touched the wall first, clocking in at 1:41.47. Ridgefield junior Matthew Weiner was second with a time of 1:42.67, followed by Riley Twiss of Staples (1:42.80). Greenwich sophomore Felix Flakstad had a sixth-place finish (1:45.78) and teammates Evan Belmont (junior, 1:48.37) and Kegan Clark (sophomore, 1:47.08) were eighth and ninth, respectively.
Flaherty, a junior, posted Greenwich’s individual win. Flaherty, who transferred to Greenwich High following his sophomore year at Fordham Prep, earned the gold medal in the 200-yard individual medley, recording a time of 1:52.06. Max Wolfenden, a Ridgefield junior, took second in 1:52.41, while Norwalk-McMahon junior Kalen Anbar was third (1:53.67).
“This was a pretty cool atmosphere, it was my first time competing in the FCIAC Championships, Flaherty said. “I love racing in all the high school events. I’m so glad I joined this team, the camaraderie is great, everyone is so uplifting each day in practice.”
Said Lowe: “Liam’s IM was beautiful to watch. A 1:52 swim was such a fantastic effort. At practice, he’s one of our guys that sets the standard for everybody.”
Ryan Jee, a senior captain, finished fifth in the 200 IM for GHS (1:54.86), followed by Bucaria (junior, sixth place, 1:55.65). The 50 freestyle saw sophomore Mike Kvashchuk of Norwalk-McMahon take top honors with a 21.59 finish. John Frankowski, representing Westhill/Stamford, placed second (21.94), followed by Ridgefield’s Luke Mignano (22.08). Jonathan Bergbaum had Greenwich’s best finish in the race, placing ninth in 22.56.
In 1-meter diving competition, which took place on Wednesday, Greenwich junior Whitaker Grover won the FCIAC title. Grover was presented with the Jon Hahnfeldt Memorial Diving Award at Thursday’s FCIAC Swimming Championships. His first-place finish in diving contributed significant points to Greenwich’s winning total.
Weiner of Ridgefield was the 100 butterfly winner, claiming the FCIAC title with a time of 51.47 seconds. Darien’s Thomas Dupont finished right behind him in second (51.61) and Ridgefield senior Kai O’Malley was a close third (51.65). Jee had a fourth-place finish for Greenwich (52.17) and Jacob was ninth (52.22). Jacob is also one of the Cards’ senior captains.
“I really give a lot of credit to coach, he’s a great leader,” said Jacob, one of the Cardinals captains, of the team’s unprecedented success. “There’s a dynasty when it comes to Greenwich swimming. “We know we’re the top dog, we know everyone’s coming for us, so we have that mindset where we have to compete and we have to be at our best.”
As always, Greenwich’s depth was key to winning another conference title.
“We can’t let a few guys carry us.” Jacob said. “It has to be a full team effort and that’s where a lot of our strength comes in.”
Senior Andrew Dyment (48.91), Clark (49.11) and DiLascia (48.93) were 7-9, respectively for the Cards in the 100 freestyle, which saw Norwalk-McMahon’s Kvashchuk win the event in 47.88. In the 500-yard freestyle, Clancy of Ridgefield posted a winning time of 4:35.39, while Twiss of Staples took second in 4:42.64. Flakstad gave Greenwich a third-place finish with a time of 4:45.30.
Jee, Clark, DiLascia, and Bucaria combined to win the first-place medal in the 200 freestyle relay (1:27.29).
“Our relay performances were up to snuff,” Lowe said. “We had three excellent relay performances, which really helped set the tone of the meet for us.”
Flaherty was the FCIAC runner-up in the 100 backstroke, clocking in at 51.47. Kalen of Norwalk/McMahon was the victor (51.22) and Jacob had a third-place finish for the Cards (52.25). In the 100 breaststroke, Bucaria took third (58.42), while DiLascia (59.71) and senior Matthew Hake (1:00.73), were fourth and sixth, respectively. Wolfenden was the FCIAC champion in the race (57.18).
The meet ended with Ridgefield winning the 400 freestyle relay in 3:10.29 and Greenwich placing a close second (3:10.51). With another FCIAC championship to its ledger, Greenwich will now turn its attention to continuing its reign of supremacy at the CIAC Class LL Championships and then, the State Open Championships. The Class LL Championships is scheduled for March 16 and the State Open Championships is slated for March 19.
“Picture what you see tonight, but 10 times more,” Jee said of the upcoming state meets. “We’re in a good spot heading into states.”
“I’m super excited for these next two weeks,” DiLascia said. “We’re going to spend this time tapering and getting into the best physical shape as we can.”
Categories: Greenwich High, Winter sports
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