Greenwich followed an atypical regular season with typical postseason performances last winter.
And a typical postseason meant the Cardinals hit the trifecta again, winning the State Open, Class LL and FCIAC titles.
Rarely losing a dual meet in previous seasons, the Cardinals 2017-18 campaign saw them get beat by Ridgefield, Staples and Fairfield Prep on their way to an 8-3 regular season. Yet Greenwich slowly, but steadily improved, and by the season’s end, it was the squad garnering the championship hardware.
After claiming the FCIAC championship, the Cardinals won the Class LL and State Open titles. In the State Open competition, they finished with a team total of 487.5 points, 30 points ahead of runner-up Fairfield Prep and 79 in front of third place Staples.
“We lost three dual meets along the way, but the kids improved all the time,” said coach Terry Lowe. “They put it all together when they had to and were able to come up with the triple crown, as we call it. It was a very rewarding season — it was great watching the team improve and develop.”
Junior tri-captain Charlie Clark, one of the Cardinals top-tier swimmers, believes last season’s championship experience will benefit this year’s squad.
“We weren’t expecting to accomplish what we did last year, but we obviously did well, so hopefully, we can bring that confidence we gained last year, into this year,” Clark said. “We proved that we were capable of winning a championship. Winning was exhilarating and to be a big part of it was amazing.”
Senior Stephan Todorovic, a premier swimmer and junior Thomas Jones, who is also coming off a solid season, also captain the Cards.
A team of 39 swimmers and five divers, Greenwich’s roster includes only four seniors.
“We have a really solid future and this team is as balanced as we’ve been in a long time,” Lowe said. “Depending on how we distribute our talent, we can cover every single event. Unlike the last couple of years, if everyone does what they should do, we could be the favorite.”
Said Clark: “Our goal is the same as it was in previous years — to win the triple crown. And we want to go undefeated.”
AT THE HELM: Lowe begins his 51st season as coach at GHS. His esteemed tenure has seen Greenwich win 35 State Open championships and 25 Class LL titles. On the FCIAC scene, the Cards have captured the conference championship an astounding 47 times in 48 years.
Lorrie Hokayem, who coached Greenwich’s girls team to the FCIAC, Class LL and State Open titles in the fall, is back as Lowe’s assistant coach. Joining the coaching staff this season is Kevin Thompson, who will guide the divers.
?: Ryan Lynch, Matt Li, Kirk Schultz and Jack Bound, all of whom served as captains last season, were among some of the graduates. Lynch qualified for the State Open in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke, finishing among the top 20 in both events. He placed sixth and 11th in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke at the Class LL competition. Li qualified for State Open in the backstroke, while Schultz placed 10th in both the 200 and 500 freestyle. Schultz finished fourth in the 500 freestyle and sixth in the 200 freestyle event at the Class LL finals last season.
Bound’s best event was the 100 butterfly. Sergei Shaw (seventh in diving at State Open, fourth in Class LL), Mac Baxter (100 freestyle), Segundo Rienhardt (100 freestyle, 50 freestyle), were also among some of the departing seniors.
?: Todorovic finished fourth in the 200 IM (1:53.58) and tied for fifth in the 100 butterfly (51.70) at last season’s State Open. He was the 200 IM champion at the Class LL finals (1:52.71) and was the runner-up in the 100 butterfly (51.55).
“Stephan Todorovic is a top-of-the-line swimmer,” Lowe said. “He gives us a huge amount of versatility. He can basically, pick his events.”
Clark is coming off a season in which he placed ninth in the 200 freestyle (State Open, 1:44.19) and finished fourth in the 100 freestyle (47.02). He was fourth (1:44.10) and second (47.28) in the 200 freestyle and 100 freestyle, respectively, at the Class LL Championships.
“He showed us his toughness last year and he has been a great leader for our team so far,” Lowe said of Clark.
Lewis had a ninth-place finish in the 100 breaststroke (State Open last season, 59.19) and took 11th in the 200 IM (1:57.65). At the Class LL meet, Lewis was seventh in the 200 individual medley (1:57.40) and sixth in the 100 breaststroke.
Sophomore Nicholas Malchow qualified for the State Open Championships in the 100 backstroke last winter and should be primed for a strong second season on the squad.
“He has a lot of versatility and has shown great development,” Lowe said of Malchow. “He has come on strong and can swim just about any event for us.”
Sophomore James Pascale (State Open qualifier in 100 butterfly last year, Class LL competitor in 100 butterfly, 500 freestyle), junior Andres Ruh (200 freestyle, State Open, Class LL), sophomore Thomas Cass (State Open qualifier 500 freestyle last year), junior Jack Jee (Class LL 200 IM), Mark Merson (junior, 50 freestyle, Class LL qualifier) and Niki de la Sierra (senior) are among some of the squad’s returning swimmers.
Senior Michael McNulty, sophomore Joel Satir and junior Logan Barnett should anchor the team on the 1-meter diving board.
“Our expectations are very high,” Lowe said. “This is a wonderful group of young men, who come in here every day with a positive attitude. They attack our workouts and are very serious and motivated. They should all have great swims by the end of the year.”
Greenwich opens its season Monday against FCIAC rival Darien at the Darien YMCA.