DARIEN — The first challenge of the high school boys swimming season occurred Monday for FCIAC rivals Greenwich and Darien, which didn’t exactly have the luxury of easing their way into their respective seasons.
The 2018-19 campaign began with a marquee matchup, with perennial contenders Greenwich and Darien testing their swim skills against each other in a meet that saw each squad have their moments like when they met last year.
The Cardinals and Blue Wave finished in an extremely rare tie, 93-93, in last season’s dual meet, but Stephan Todorovic and Thomas Lewis helped Greenwich prevail on Monday.
Todorovic and Lewis won two individual events apiece and were part of Greenwich’s winning 200-yard medley relay team in its 109-76 victory over Darien at the Darien YMCA.
“At this time of year, I’m proud of what we did,” said GHS coach Terry Lowe, whose Cardinals won the FCIAC, Class LL and State Open championships last winter. “Our team is in a good place right now. Overall, it was a good job.”
Greenwich won seven of the 11 swimming events Monday and also placed 1-2-4 in the diving portion of the meet, which was held Friday at the New Canaan YMCA. The Blue Wave, who captured the Class L title and placed sixth at the State Open last season, also produced solid swims in the season-opener.
“We swam awesome,” Darien coach Liz Blau said. “Opening up against Greenwich, we knew it was going to be really tough. They are probably the No. 1-team in the state, but our team swam tough and didn’t back down. They’ve been training really hard.”
One of the meet’s most competitive races was the 50-yard freestyle, where Lewis of Greenwich touched the wall first in 22.71 seconds. A blink of an eye behind Lewis was his teammate Mark Merson, a junior (22.84) and Darien junior Connor Martin (22.84).
“Last year, I raced against Connor Martin in the 50 freestyle and he out-touched me, so it was nice to win the race,” Lewis said. “I feel like I got a little redemption.”
In the 100 freestyle, Blue Wave senior Karl Wadleigh registered a first-place finish in 49.26. Cardinals senior Charlie Clark placed second (50.08), followed by Darien junior Nico Clark (50.33). Posting a time of 1:51.05, Charlie Clark also finished second behind Wadleigh in the 200 freestyle (1:46.32). Nicholas Malchow, a GHS sophomore, had a third-place finish in the 200 freestyle (1:51.45).
“My races went well, it’s nice to come back and see where I’m at,” Greenwich’s Clark said. “I’m going to keep working hard and get back to where I was last year.”
The meet started with freshman Justin Jacob, Lewis, Todorovic and Merson winning the 200-yard medley relay for the Cards in 1:38.91. Darien was second with a time of 1:40.08.
Todorovic was the 200 individual medley winner (2:00.48), while Blue Wave senior Spencer Erickson placed second (2:01.28) and Greenwich freshman Ryan Jee finished third (2:01.50). The 100 butterfly also saw Todorovic record a winning time (52.89). Martin was a close second in 53.32 and GHS sophomore James Pascale placed third (54.95) in the butterfly, which had the Cardinals holding a 61-32 lead following the event.
“Our overall depth was an advantage for us,” Lowe said. “We had a number of quality swims, with Stephan having an excellent butterfly.”
Freshman Alex Plavoukos gave Greenwich a first-place finish in the 500 freestyle (5:00.76), while Darien sophomore Hayden Puff took second (5:01.51).
“We’re going to be really good in the 500 all year, it should be one of our strongest events,” Lowe said.
In another exciting race, Erickson touched the wall first in the 100 backstroke (56.34), with Jacob placing a close second (56.53).
“Everyone is swimming great, all the boys on the team are so much further along than they were this time last year,” Blau said. “That’s important, considering it’s a long season. This was a good meet for us against a great team. We might as well start the season against them — it’s trial by fire, so get out there against the best and see what we can do.”
Lewis won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:01.28 and Nico Clark was second (1:03.41).
“In the 100 breaststroke, I was lucky he (Clark) swam a few races before,” Lewis said. “I took it out slow and came back strong the second 50. A lot of good things are ahead for our team this season.”
During the break after the 50 freestyle, Darien held a brief ceremony and unveiled its CIAC Class L Championship banner. … At the diving portion of the meet on Friday, Joel Satir won the event with 235.85 points. Teammate Mike McNulty was the runner-up (207.50). … Greenwich won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:33.03. … Darien won the 400 freestyle relay in 3:20.08
GREENWICH 109, DARIEN 76
200-yard medley relay — 1. Greenwich (Jacob, Lewis, Todorovic, Merson); 200 freestyle — 1. Karl Wadleigh (D) 1:46.32; 200 individual medley — 1. Stephan Todorovic (G) 2:00.48; 50 freestyle: 1. Thomas Lewis (G) 22.71; Diving — 1. Joel Satir (G) 235.85; 100 butterfly — 1. Todorovic (G) 52.89; 100 freestyle — 1. Wadleigh (D) 49.26; 500 freestyle — 1. Plavoukos (G) 5:00.76; 200 medley relay — 1. Greenwich (Merson, Niki de la Sierra, Clark, Malchow) 1:33.03; 100 backstroke — 1. Spencer Erickson (D) 56.34; 100 breaststroke — 1. Lewis (G) 1:01.28; 400 freestyle relay — 1. Darien (Wadleigh, Erickson, Connor Zielinski, Connor Martin) 3:20.08.