Winners of seven straight State Open and Class LL titles and 12 consecutive FCIAC championships, Greenwich has the most storied high school boys swimming program in the state.
Returning almost their entire roster from last season’s championship squad, the Cardinals are indeed, primed to add another successful chapter to their unmatched history.
“If you can’t have high expectations, then you should not have expectations,” Greenwich veteran coach Terry Lowe said. “This is a very dedicated, hard-working team and if everyone stays healthy, we should be a very good, solid team at the end of the year.”
If they stay healthy as their coach hopes, the Cardinals could also add more championship hardware to the school’s trophy case.
“We want to defend our titles like we did the past couple of years,” Cardinals senior tri-captain Charlie Clark said. “It is really unique, not many teams have the history that this team does and we want to keep it going.”
Senior tri-captain Thomas Lewis is one of the Cards’ All-State and All-FCIAC swimmers to return. He should score points for the team in numerous events.
“From last year, we lost some swimmers, but we also have a very strong junior class and my class is strong as well,” Lewis said. “We’ll have a lot of full relays and we have some very talented flyers. Overall, we have a very strong team this year.”
Lowe will have several options, as far as which swimmers will compete in each event.
“Our team has a lot of depth,” GHS senior tri-captain Jack Jee said. “We have a lot of depth, especially in the 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke and we have a lot of potential.”
Senior Mark Merson, who will help anchor the squad in the relay events also captains the Cards, who don’t open their season until it visits rival New Canaan on Jan. 3.
“Our strength is our balance right across the lineup,” Lowe said. “There is no event that an opponent can pick on us. We are going to be strong and steady in every event. We’ll see if this team is capable of being a State Open championship-type of team.”
AT THE HELM: Lowe is starting his 52nd season as Greenwich’s coach. During his legendary tenure, he has coached Greenwich to 36 State Open championships and 26 Class LL titles. The Cardinals have also claimed the FCIAC championship 48 times in 49 seasons.
Last season saw Greenwich win the State Open title with a team score of 600 points. They also won the team title at the Class LL finals (911 points) and another FCIAC championship trophy.
A member of the Fairfield County Sports Commission Hall of Fame and recipient of the Greenwich Old Timer’s Athletic Association Coach’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Lowe has coached a wealth of athletes who have continued their swimming and diving careers at the collegiate level.
Jimmy Ramaley, who swam for Lowe during his GHS days, is an assistant coach. Kevin Thompson serves as the diving coach.
WHO’S GONE?: Stephan Todorovic (All-State team selection), Nicolas de la Sierra (All-State honors) and diver Michael McNulty were among some of the Cardinals graduating seniors.
WHO’S BACK?: Lewis placed third in the 200-yard individual medley at last season’s State Open (1:53.69) and was the runner-up in the 100 breaststroke (58.02). He was also part of the 200 medley relay team that finished second at the Open and led off the team’s winning 200 freestyle relay squad.
He should be tough to contend with in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke this season as well and will also help key the relays.
“I may also do some different events during the regular season,” Lewis said. “I am really aiming for those all-American times. I finished second in the 100 breaststroke and the 200 IM at states and I hope I can capitalize and take first place in both events.”
Clark is coming off a season in which he placed third at the State Open in the 200 freestyle (1:41.92) and captured the gold medal in the 100 freestyle (45.88).
“Charlie proved to be a significant force in the state last year,” Lowe said.
Clark, who will also see action in the relay events, has competed on Lowe’s teams for quite a while.
“Coach has been teaching me since I was eight years old at Rocky Point Club over the summer,” Clark said. “This program means a lot to me. I have seen so many people come through the program over the years.”
Jee finished among the top-15 at the State Open in the 200 IM. He will also be relied upon aid the squad in the 200 IM.
Merson finished 10th in the 50 freestyle at last season’s State Open and was 14th in the 100 freestyle.
“Mark Merson is a great sprinter,” Lowe said. “He can also swim long distance. Our captains are wonderful in the way they handle themselves and get along with their teammates.”
Alex Hanna (100, 200 freestyle, 400 freestyle relay), Spencer Plavoukos (500 freestyle, 200 freestyle), Thomas Hoffmeister (sprint freestyle events), Robert Bergbaum and Nick Todorovic (distance freestyle) are among some of the squad’s returning seniors.
Nick Malchow (fourth at State Open last season in 40 freestyle, 21.62, fourth in 100 freestyle, 47.15) is a versatile junior. Thomas Cass (200, 500 freestyle), James Pascale (100 butterfly, 500 freestyle, medley relay), Alex Plavoukos (ninth at State Open in 500 freestyle), Benjamin Schinto (200 individual medley), Hunter Johnson (100 backstroke), Ryan Lewis (butterfly, 500 freestyle) and Eric Stehmann are some of the juniors who are back.
Justin Jacob (11th 100 backstroke at State Open as a freshman), Ryan Jee (ninth 200 IM State Open), Matthew Hake (breaststroke), Hunter Daur and Jonathan Bergbaum are some of the sophomores who should provide depth.
Junior Joel Satir and senior Logan Barnett return for another season on the 1-meter diving board.
NEWCOMERS: Aiden Bucaria (200 IM, breaststroke), Alex Khilko (distance freestyle) and Charlie Kosinski (freestyle events) join the squad as freshman. Also new to the Cards are freshman divers Whitaker Grover and Jayden Satir.
CAPTAIN’S COMMENTS: “Being a part of this team means so much to me,” Lewis said. “We train every day knowing we want to do our best for coach Lowe, the team and to represent what Greenwich is all about. Swimming here has taught me everything from leadership, to discipline, to what it means to be part of a team and what it takes to lead a team.”
Said Clark: “Just being able to come and see these guys every day provides a lot of motivation. It’s fun to work hard every day and help push them even further.”
Added Jack Jee: “To accomplish our goals, we have to do our job like Patriots coach Bill Belichick says. Just do your job. We each have a specific job that we need to do and we all have to do it well.”
DID YOU KNOW?: Lewis will swim at the University of Pennsylvania next season and Clark will join the swim team at Boston College.