After winning its sixth straight Class LL title by a convincing margin on Wednesday, the Greenwich High School boys swimming team will attempt to capture its sixth consecutive State Open championship on Saturday. Yet coach Terry Lowe and his Cardinals know the situation will be much closer in the season’s grand finale.
“The State Open is going to be a nice, close battle, it could come down to the 400 freestyle relay between Fairfield Prep and Greenwich,” said Lowe, who has coached the Cardinals to 34 State Open championships. “We have the advantage in diving, so technically, we will be ahead going into swimming on Saturday. But including those diving points, it is still going to be a tight meet all the way.”
Yale University will once again host the CIAC State Open Swimming Championships, which takes place Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Last season’s State Open saw Greenwich claim another team title with 465.5 points. Pomperaug placed second (459.5), followed by New Canaan (415). The Cards clinched the title with a sixth-place finish in the meet’s final event — the 400-yard freestyle.
Greenwich enters the swimming portion of the State Open with 64 team points, thanks to the performance of its divers at the finals on Thursday, while Fairfield Prep didn’t have any divers score. Yet the Jesuits have more swimmers seeded higher in the swimming finals.
Devon Satir placed third in the diving finals (504.70), while teammate Sergei Shaw was seventh (441.52) in the event, which was won by Norwalk/McMahon’s Kevin Bradley (515.15).
Staples and Ridgefield are also expected to make their mark in Saturday’s State Open Championships. In the 200-yard freestyle, Greenwich sophomore Charlie Clark and senior Kirk Schultz are seeded eighth and 10th, respectively. Ridgefield senior Kieran Smith, who broke the state record while winning the event at the Class LL finals, is the top seed (1:35.18).
The Cardinals could score a significant amount of points in the 200 individual medley. Junior Stephan Todorovic, who won the Class LL title in the event, is seeded second (1:52.71). Senior Ryan Lynch is seeded 10th (1:56.85) and sophomore Thomas Lewis is seeded 13th (1:57.40). Andrew Bornstein, a Ridgefield senior, is seeded third (1:52.77) and Fairfield Prep sophomore Richard Nolan has the sixth-best qualifying time (1:54.69).
“Todorovic was a big surprise at the Class LL meet,” Lowe said. “We are hoping he can duplicate that performance. At this point, it is a matter of holding your position.”
Farfield Prep has the potential to put up plenty of points in the 50-yard freestyle at the State Open. Jesuits senior Oliver Rus is seeded first after winning the Class LL title in a meet-record time of 20.24 seconds. Teammate Liam Colleran, a junior is seeded seventh (21.82) . GHS senior Patrick King qualified as the 12th seed .
Todorovic is also seeded fourth in the 100 butterfly (51.55). Westhill/Stamford sophomore Ben Feldman goes into the State Open as the top qualifier after winning the first-place medal at the Class LL finals (49.62).
Four Greenwich swimmers qualified for the 100 freestyle, including Clark, who is seeded fifth (47.28). William Duffy of Fairfield Prep is seeded seventh .
Smith of Ridgefield set a state record at the Class LL finals in the 500 freestyle, touching the wall in 4:21.37 and will be looking to top his own mark on Saturday.
Fairfield Prep has an advantage over its competitors in the 100 backstroke and breaststroke. Colleran is the top seed in the backstroke (51.22) and Rus is the No. 1 qualifier in the breaststroke (54.25, state record time).
The Jesuits are also seeded first in the 200 medley relay (1:32.78) and the 200 freestyle relay (1:24.61). Greenwich is seeded third in the 400 freestyle relay and 200 freestyle relay.
“The 400 freestyle relay is an event we could win,” Lowe said. “The position we are in going into the event will determine how we approach it.”
Indeed, excelling at the Class LL Championships put Greenwich in a position to contend with Fairfield Prep and the other premier squads at the State Open.
“I thought the LL meet was as close to a perfect meet as we could get,” Lowe said. “Overall, the guys really went for it and put us in position to battle for the State Open title. Having multiple qualifiers was the only way we would have a chance to contend for the title on Saturday.”