North Haven boys swimming coach Martha Phelan looked at the number of athletes returning to her team this winter and came up with an idea.
“I knew that I couldn’t field a team with a team of seven,” said Phelan, who saw half of her squad graduate last year. “I went to my athletic director first and got permission to see if there would be any interest from other area teams that don’t have a pool, or have a small roster.”
After contacting several teams and filling out all the paperwork required, a new co-op team was formed — North Haven/Guilford/North Branford/East Haven.
The combined squad is off to a solid start in its inaugural season, sporting a record of 4-2, following its 94-80 victory against Hamden on Wednesday.
Forming the team required Phelan to submit an application to North Haven athletic director Steve Blumenthal, who sent it to the CIAC for approval.
“You must have a certain number of athletes and we met all those standards,” Phelan said. “They accepted it and we submitted the application to the SCC for acceptance.”
The new co-op team competes in Division II of the SCC and will take part in the CIAC Class LL Championships next month.
North Haven/Guilford/North Branford/East Haven includes 13 athletes from Guilford, eight from North Haven, three from North Branford and three from East Haven.
“After the CIAC accepted the biggest challenge was getting the information to the area towns to create interest for the team,” Phelan said. “I was worried the word wouldn’t get out and travel would be an issue, but I knew when we had our first practice, the team was going to be a great success. It is so nice, to have this team. Some of the kids wouldn’t have a team at all, if we didn’t have this team.”
North Branford and East Haven did not have teams last season, while Guilford was part of a combined squad with Branford.
“We felt forming this team was the perfect solution,” Phelan said. “We have a beautiful eight-lane pool and there is a lot of energy and pride among the team.”
In their most recent meet, a victory against Hamden on Wednesday, senior captain Aidan Henry won the 50-yard freestyle in 22.85 seconds and showcased his distance skills, placing first in 4:48.42. Henry, a Guilford student, also produced strong performances in the 100, 200 and 50 freestyle events in meets against Cheshire and Daniel Hand.
“Aidan is such a team player, he’s so passionate about competing with pride,” Phelan said. “When we swam at Amity (team victory), he gave this very passionate, motivational speech about being the best we can be. It went down to the last relay and he was the anchor and had an unbelievable split.”
Sophomore Finn Henry, Aidan’s brother, has aided the squad in the 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle, while sophomore Hethon Foster (East Haven) has sparked the squad in various events, including the 100 butterfly. In the team’s win against Amity, he had a first-place finish in the 100 freestyle (50.89).
Junior Connor Coyne (North Branford) was the 200 individual medley winner in the team’s recent meet (2:08.95) and has also fared well in the butterfly and breaststroke events, while junior Cameron Cargan (North Haven) is a standout in the sprint freestyle races.
“I am hoping we can be among the top-four teams at the SCC Championships,” Phelan said. “I think we can really do well at LLs also. We’ve been training really hard and everyone is focused.”
HAMDEN HALL ACHIEVES A FIRST
Hamden Hall’s 91-85 win over FAA foe Hopkins School on Wednesday marked its first win over the Hilltoppers in school history.
Sam Lovejoy sparked the Hornets, winning the 200-yard freestyle (1:50.65), the 500 freestyle (5:01.71) and swimming the opening leg of the first-place 400 freestyle relay squad (3:26.60).
Joe Tenedine finished first in the 100-yard freestyle for Hamden Hall, posting a time of 51.78 seconds. He was also part of the team’s winning 400 freestyle relay squad, along with Duncan Farquaharson and Michael Fereini.
Hamden Hall will compete against Cheshire Academy, Williams School and MacDuffie School on Saturday.
For Hopkins, William Zhu placed first in the 100 butterfly (54.61) and the 100 backstroke (54.43) and competed on the winning 200 medley relay team (1:38.66).
Ethan Woolbert won the 200 individual medley (1:59.38) and 100 breaststroke (59.13), while Julius Herzog was the 50 freestyle (22.96) winner for the Hilltoppers. Both swam on the 200 medley and 200 freestyle (1:30.58, first place) squads.
NEW CANAAN’S DIVERS QUITE A TRIO
Seniors George Moore, James Ragusa and Jackson Camporin each made an outstanding showing in New Canaan’s recent victory against Fairfield Warde-Ludlowe at the New Canaan YMCA.
Moore finished first on the 1-meter diving board with 330.3 points. Ragusa was the runner-up (316.95) and Camporin placed third (306.9). According to Rams coach Joe Somma it’s the first time the team has had three divers score 300 points in a dual meet in his 23 years of coaching at New Canaan.
At last season’s Class L Championships, Ragusa claimed the title (483.60), while Moore, who will attend the United States Naval Academy next year, finished third (448.60). Camporin was fourth at last season’s Class L diving finals (445.60).
Camporin took third at the 2019 State Open diving meet (449.20), Ragusa was fourth (447.45) and Moore finished seventh (443.85).
WEST HARTFORD INVITATIONAL
The West Hartford Invitational, featuring six squads from several conferences, was held recently at Cornerstone Aquatics Center in West Hartford. Besides the usual events, the meet held several different races, such as a 200-yard breaststroke relay, a 200 butterfly relay and a 200 backstroke relay.
Conard junior Charles Krajc won the 100-yard butterfly in 54.44 seconds, while teammate Benjamin Arky took first in the 50 freestyle (22.68). Amity teammates Seamus Hennessy (57.25) and Tyler Roy (58.61) were first and second, respectively, in the 100 backstroke.
Joey Stavolone from Suffield was the 100 breaststroke winner (1:06.42) and right behind him was Amity’s Brodey Lu (1:06.59). Senior Julian Flores from Conard won the 100 freestyle with a time of 50.88 and Pomperaug sophomore Timothy Regan touched the wall first in the 100-yard individual medley (57.18).
Pomperaug won the 200 breaststroke relay in 2:03.11, Hall’s Carson Raisner, Andrew Sun, Kobe Dominguez and Connor Skarzynski combined to win the 200 medley relay (1:46.41) and Pomperaug also took first in the 200 butterfly relay (1:45.75).
In the 200 backstroke relay, Hennessy, Xinqui Shen, Casey Donovan and Nolan Young teamed up to register a first-place time of 1:53.28.
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