MIDDLETOWN — Depth once again catapulted the Greenwich High School boys swimming team to the head of the class.
With 21 swimmers competing in Wednesday’s CIAC Class LL Championships and a head start in team points due to the success of their divers in last week’s finals, the Cardinals entered the swimming portion of the state meet primed to continue their reign of supremacy.
As the meet progressed, it was crystal clear the Cardinals were going to add another class title to their collection.
Showcasing its superior depth, Greenwich captured its sixth straight CIAC Class LL title, amassing 833 team points at Wesleyan University.
Fairfield Prep, which was powered by record-setting swims by senior Oliver Rus, placed second in the team standings with a score of 643.5, followed by Staples (593). Ridgefield, which received two individual record-setting performances from senior standout Kieran Smith, was fourth with a team score of 514. Glastonbury finished fifth (446.5) and Norwalk/McMahon posted a sixth-place finish (278.5) — its best showing at the meet in recent memory.
The competition further illustrated the improvement Greenwich has made since the early part of the season. The Cardinals were defeated by Ridgefield, Fairfield Prep and Staples in dual meets during the regular season.
“I thought we had as good a meet as we possibly could hope for,” said GHS coach Terry Lowe, whose team has won 24 Class LL titles overall. “Fairfield Prep, Staples and Ridgefield beat us badly during the season, so to win this meet by the amount of points we did speaks volumes about how hard this team improved and has worked to take control of this meet.”
Greenwich, which received a first-place finish in the 200-yard individual medley from sophomore Stephan Todorovic, may have put itself in good position to contend for its sixth consecutive State Open, since the Class LL finals was a qualifier for Saturday’s Open at Yale University.
“Depth is the most important part of winning the big meets like this,” said GHS senior Kirk Schultz, who placed sixth in the 200-yard freestyle. “That’s how we do it here every year. Our underclassmen improved during the season and our seniors helped us get better.”
Smith of Ridgefield had the meet’s first individual victory in record-setting fashion. He won the Class LL 200-yard freestyle title with a state, Class LL and pool record time of 1:35.18. He broke his previous state record in the event of 1:37.28, which he set last season.
“The 200 was a pretty good race, I was 0.2 off my best time from December,” Smith said. “I took it out a little too fast, but it gives me something to improve on for Saturday, which I am excited for.”
Freshman Connor Hunt of Ridgefield was the 200 freestyle runner-up (1:43.09), followed by Staples senior Nicholas Ortega (1:43.26) and Greenwich sophomore Charlie Clark (1:44.10). Norwalk/McMahon sophomore Henry Valazquez was seventh in 1:46.84.
The 500-yard freestyle saw Smith successfully defend his title. Leading from the start, then increasing his advantage during the third lap, Smith touched the wall first in a state, Class LL and pool-record time of 4:21.37.
“The 500, I took it out a little too slow, I just need to settle into the race a little sooner,” Smith said. “As the race progressed, I got better.”
Hunt also placed second in the 500 freestyle (4:37.96), while Ortega of Staples was third (4:42.02) and Greenwich’s Schultz took fifth (4:47.25).
In one of the meet’s closest races, Todorovic edged Ridgefield senior Andrew Bornstein for the first-place medal in the 200 individual medley. Tordorovic, who posted a time of 1:52.71, was neck-and-neck with Bornstein (1:52.77) in the final lap.
“All the other races were pretty close, so I knew I had to get some points for our team — I left it all out in the pool,” Todorovic said. “He (Bornstein) is an amazing swimmer, he made up a lot of ground the last 50, we were neck-and-neck.”
Richard Nolan of Fairfield Prep placed third in the 200 IM (1:54.69), while John McNab of Staples was fifth (1:56.69). Ryan Lynch and Thomas Lewis of Greenwich were sixth and seventh, respectively, while Blake Rainey from Staples took
In the 50 freestyle, Fairfield Prep’s Rus placed first in a Class LL record time of 20.24 seconds. His teammate, Liam Colleran, was second in 21.82 and Ridgefield’s William Bryant finished third (21.83). Tyler Cusano from Hamden placed fourth, followed by Josiah Tarrant of Staples and Patrick King from Greenwich.
Rus broke a state and meet record in winning the 100 breaststroke championship in 54.25.
Greenwich held a 519-361.5 lead over its closest competitor, Fairfield Prep, in the team standings following the 100 freestyle. The Cardinals scored a whopping 92 points in the event, behind Clark’s second place finish (47.28) and a 6-7-8 showing from Mac Baxter, Patrick King and Segundo Rienhardt.
“I really wanted to get first place, but I’m still happy with my time,” Clark said. “Everyone had their best times today and everyone swam well and that’s what it took for us to win the title.”
McNab was the 100 freestyle champion in 47.12.
“My goal was to get off the blocks as fast as possible and make the turn really quickly,” McNab said. “I wanted to be first to the 50 wall. That last lap, you’re going on adrenaline and you’re just pushing to finish into the wall.”
Feldman earned the first-place medal in the 100 butterfly (49.62), followed by Todorovic (51.55).
The meet ended with Greenwich’s foursome of Baxter, Rienhardt, Todorovic and Clark touching the wall first in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:11.88, resulting in 60 more points.
“This team is so wonderful to work with,” Lowe said. “They could have been discouraged with the losses they had during the regular season, but they came back, worked harder and delivered.”
GREENWICH WINS CLASS LL
Class LL championships at Wesleyan
Team scores: 1. Greenwich 833, 2. Fairfield Prep 643.5, 3. Staples 593, 4. Ridgefield 514, 5. Glastonbury 446.5, 6. Norwalk/McMahon 278.5, 7. Newtown 270.5, 8. Southington 253, 9. Cheshire 219, 10. Westhill/Stamford 212, 11. Manchester 135, 12. Hamden 129, 13. Trumbull 102, 14. Platt/Maloney 100, 15. Warde/Ludlowe 91.5, 16. East Hartford 89, 17. Bristol Eastern/Bristol Central 77, 18. Branford/Guilford 72.5, 19. NFA 63, 20. Danbury 46, 21. West Haven 44, 22. Crosby/Waterbury Career 32.
Individual event results
Top six finishers in each event
200 medley relay: 1. Fairfield Prep 1:32.78; 2. Ridgefield 1:33.78; 3. Staples 1:36.95; 4. Greenwich 1:38.22; 5. Newtown 1:39.59; 6. Glastonbury 1:39.66; 200 freestyle: 1. Kieran Smith (Ridgefield) 1:35.18 (state record); 2. Connor Hunt (Ridgefield) 1:43.09; 3. Nicholas Ortega (Staples) 1:43.26; 4. Charles Clark (Greenwich) 1:44.10; 5. Christopher Walker (Glastonbury) 1:44.97; 6. Kirk Schultz (Greenwich) 1:45.16; 200 IM: 1. Stephan Todorovic (Greenwich) 1:52.71; 2. Andrew Bornstein (Ridgefield) 1:52.77; 3. Richard Nolan (Fairfield Prep) 1:54.69; 4. McAllistar Milne (Glastonbury) 1:55.38; 5. John McNab (Staples) 1:56.09; 6. Ryan Lynch (Greenwich) 1:56.85; 50 freestyle: 1. Oliver Rus (Fairfield Prep) 20.24 (Classs LL record); 2. Liam Colleran (Fairfield Prep) 21.82; 3. William Bryant (Ridgefield) 21.83; 4. Tyler Cusano (Hamden) 21.98; 5. Josiah Tarrant (Staples) 22.01; 6. Patrick King (Greenwich) 22.04; 100 butterfly: 1. Ben Feldman (Westhill/Stamford) 49.62; 2. Stephan Todorovic (Greenwich) 51.55; 3. Ben Brewer (Cheshire) 52.00; 4. Colin Zorger (Manchester) 52.50; 5. Stanislav Yarmoussik (Fairfield Prep) 52.75; 6. James Pascale (Greenwich) 52.79; 100 freestyle: 1. John McNab (Staples) 47.12; 2. (tie) Christopher Walker (Glastonbury) and Charles Clark (Greenwich) 47.28; 4. Tyler Cusano (Hamden) 47.46; 5. William Duffy (Fairfield Prep) 47.66; 6. Mackenzie Baxter (Greenwich) 48.23; 500 freestyle: 1. Kieran Smith (Ridgefield) 4:21.37 (state record); 2. Connor Hunt (Ridgefield) 4:37.96; 3. Nicolas Ortega (Staples) 4:42.02; 4. Kirk Schultz (Greenwich) 4:47.25; 5. McAllistar Milne (Glastonbury) 4:47.61; 6. Brody BIebel (Fairfield Prep) 4:48.35; 200 freestyle relay: 1. Fairfield Prep 1:24.61; 2. Ridgefield 1:26.54; 3. Greenwich 1:27.28; 4. Staples 1:27.73; 5. Glastonbury 1:29.73; 6. Norwalk/McMahon 1:30.87; 100 backstroke: 1. Liam Colleran (Fairfield Prep) 51.22; 2. Kevin Tierney (Glastonbury) 53.64; 3. Tyler Heidgerd (Southington) 53.90; 4. Ethan Keyes (Fairfield Prep) 54.01; 5. Scott Adler (Staples) 54.20; 6. Austin Twiss (Staples) 54.27; 100 breaststroke: 1. Oliver Rus (Fairfield Prep) 54.25 (Class LL record); 2. Ben Feldman (Westhill/Stamford) 55.61; 3. Andrew Bornstein (Ridgefield) 56.68; 4. Dashiell Hunter (Staples) 58.24; 5. Jacob West (Staples) 58.54; 6. Thomas Lewis (Greenwich) 58.66; 400 freestyle relay: 1. Greenwich 3:11.88; 2. Staples 3:14.92; 3. Glastonbury 3:15.48; 4. Ridgefield 3:17.18; 5. Fairfield Prep 3:18.88; 6. Norwalk/McMahon 3:18.89.