An FCIAC boys swimming and diving season in which everything has seemed different and unique wrapped up with a familiar refrain last week: Greenwich is again the conference champion.
The Cardinals collected 534 points and took the league crown for the 14th consecutive season and the 50th time in 51 years, during the FCIAC postseason, which spanned seven days and included five swimming and two diving meets.
Greenwich finished more than 100 points ahead of Ridgefield, which scored 394.5 points to finish as the league runner-up for the second straight season.
With no state meets to look forward to this year, swimmers went all-out in the FCIAC competition, setting five new league marks..
“It was a very different season so there were a lot of new meet records,” Greenwich coach Terry Lowe said. “In other years, no team would have tapered and shaved for this meet, but knowing this was their only chance to meet record-level performances, All-American standards, and best performance times, they really took this much more seriously than FCIACs in the past.
“This was the end-all of their season instead of the State Opens.”
Following Greenwich and Ridgefield in the top five were the Fairfield-co-op (276), New Canaan (189.5), and Norwalk/McMahon (187.5).
The championship meet rankings were determined during a series of swim meets held from March 19 through March 23, and two diving competitions on March 18 and 25. Two or three teams competed in each swim meet, with the results combined with diving for the final tally.
Greenwich and Ridgefield competed head-to-head at the GHS pool on March 22, a match-up which Lowe said helped spark the Cards to even better times.
“We made a special effort to get Ridgefield to come down here,” Lowe said. “We felt they were if not the top team than the second-best team in the league and we knew they would provide more than adequate competition in every single event. We were delighted to have them there to push us to that performance.”
Ridgefield senior Connor Hunt, who will swim at Michigan next year, was named the meet’s Most Outstanding Swimmer after having a hand in three victories.
Hunt won the 500-yard freestyle in an FCIAC record 4:22.90, finishing nearly 11 seconds ahead of Greenwich’s Alex Plavoukos (4:33.31), and was first in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:39.01, with Plavoukos (1:42.40) again second.
Hunt also led off the Tigers’ winning 200-yard freestyle relay (1:26.43), which featured Kai O’Malley, Andrew Yu, and Gavin Egerton.
Greenwich was led by senior co-captains Ryan Jee and Nicholas Malchow, each of whom was part of two winning relays and won an individual event.
Jee set an FCIAC record with a time of 1:50.67 in the 200-yard individual medley, and Malchow won the 100-yard freestyle in 45.84.
Sophomore Whitaker Grover claimed the diving crown for the Cardinals, who swept the top three spots in the rankings. Whitaker scored 569.10 points, followed by Joel Satir (471.30) and Jayden Satir (460.60) in the top three.
Greenwich’s winning 200-yard medley relay (1:33.74) included Jee, sophomore Aiden Bucaria, senior co-captain James Pascale and Malchow.
In the 400-freestyle relay race, both Greenwich (3:05.06) and Ridgefield (3:07.92) bested the old FCIAC record. The Cardinals’ team featured Plavoukos, Pascale, Jee and Malchow.
The Fairfield co-op had a big performance from senior Tyler Sicignano, who set a pair of FCIAC records while winning the 50-yard freestyle (20.47) and the 100-yard butterfly (48.72).
Emmett Adams, another Fairfield senior, won the 100-yard breaststroke (56.96), and Ridgefield senior Matthew Johnston won the 100-yard backstroke (52.31).
Lowe said his athletes may have had added focus, given COVID protocols and the precarious nature of this season.
“Our team is pretty serious about their performance in swimming and diving and I think they were so delighted to have a season, that they were even a little extra focused in their workouts and following the COVID protocols to make sure their season would happen,” Lowe said. “They were unbelievable in their work ethic. This was a shortened season by well over a month so we felt we had to concentrate extra hard to make up for that difference.
“We knew we had to make waves in that one opportunity we had in the FCIAC semi-virtual championships.”
Team standings: 1 Greenwich 534; 2 Ridgefield 394.5; 3 Fairfield co-op 276; 4 New Canaan 189.5; 5 Norwalk/McMahon 187.5; 6 Darien 182.5; 7 Trumbull 137; 8 Wilton 117; 9 Staples 104; 10 Westhill/Stamford 78; 11 Danbury 34; 12 St. Joseph 11.
200-yard medley relay: 1 Greenwich (Ryan Jee, Aiden Bucaria, James Pascale, Nicholas Malchow) 1:33.74; 2 Fairfield 1:35.15; 3 Darien 1:38.11; 4 Ridgefield 1:38.12; 5 New Canaan 1:38.29.
200-yard freestyle: 1 Connor Hunt (Ridgefield) 1:39.01; 2 Alex Plavoukos (Greenwich) 1:42.40; 3 Riley Twiss (Staples) 1:43.44; 4 Matthew Johnston (Ridgefield) 1:43.57; 5 Jack Clancy (Ridgefield) 1:43.79.
200-yard individual medley: 1 Ryan Jee (Greenwich) 1:50.67; 2 Emmett Adams (Fairfield) 1:52.97; 3 Aiden Bucaria (Greenwich) 1:53.56; 4 Gavin Egerton (Ridgefield) 1:54.05; 5 Matthew Weiner (Ridgefield) 1:55.77.
50-yard freestyle: 1 Tyler Sicignano (Fairfield) 20.47; 2 Nicholas Malchow (Greenwich) 20.69; 3 Mykhailo Kvashchuk (Norwalk/McMahon) 21.57; 4 Hunter Johnson (Greenwich) 21.63; 5 Andrew Yu (Ridgefield) 21.87.
Diving: 1 Whitaker Grover (Greenwich) 569.10; 2 Joel Satir (Greenwich) 471.30; 3 Jayden Satir (Greenwich) 460.60; 4 Jack Holland (Fairfield) 459.35; 5 Benjamin Bradley (Norwalk/McMahon) 452.55.
100-yard butterfly: 1 Tyler Sicignano (Fairfield) 48.72; 2 Ryan Jee (Greenwich) 49.95; 3 James Pascale (Greenwich) 51.74; 4 (tie) Kai O’Malley (Ridgefield) and Matthew Weiner (Ridgefield 51.87.
100-yard freestyle: 1 Nicholas Malchow (Greenwich) 45.84; 2 Mykhailo Kvashchuk (Norwalk/McMahon) 47.40; 3 Andrew Yu (Ridgefield) 47.86; 4 Nicky Adl (New Canaan) 47.87; 5 Hunter Johnson (Greenwich) 48.03.
500-yard freestyle: 1 Connor Hunt (Ridgefield) 4:22.90; 2 Alex Plavoukos (Greenwich) 4:33.31; 3 Jack Clancy (Ridgefield) 4:40.48; 4 Ryan Roberts (Darien) 4:40.66; 5 Marko Todorovic (Greenwich) 4:42.52.
200-yard freestyle relay: 1 Ridgefield (Connor Hunt, Kai O’Malley, Andrew Yu, Gavin Egerton) 1:26.43; 2 Greenwich 1:26.53; 3 Norwalk/McMahon 1:30.08; 4 Staples 1:31.16; 5 New Canaan 1:31.17.
100-yard backstroke: 1 Matthew Johnston (Ridgefield) 52.31; 2 Nicky Adl (New Canaan 52.52; 3 Ben Schinto (Greenwich) 53.25; 4 Thomas Dupont (Darien) 53.78; 5 Nathaniel Taft (Fairfield) 54.03.
100-yard breaststroke: 1 Emmett Adams (Fairfield) 56.96; 2 Aiden Bucaria (Greenwich) 57.78; 3 Mic DiLascia (Greenwich) 58.34; 4 Deacon Mascarinas (New Canaan) 59.14; 5 Max Wolfenden (Ridgefield) 59.56.
400-yard freestyle relay: 1 Greenwich (Alex Plavoukos, James Pascale, Ryan Jee, Nicholas Malchow) 3:05.36, 2 Ridgefield 3:07.92, 3 Fairfield 3:13.92; 4 New Canaan 3:19.21; 5 Darien 3:21.64.