MIDDLETOWN >> Xavier’s young swimmers are getting a lot of on-the-job training.
The Falcons have just six upperclassmen – three seniors and three juniors – and they are paying the price. After an opening win against West Haven two weeks ago, Xavier paid the first two installments on the cost of their swim education Tuesday night at the Freeman Center at Wesleyan University.
Cheshire and Hand of Madison each defeated Xavier to drop the Falcons to 1-2. Cheshire ran away and hid, 108-72, and while the Falcons hung on until the next to last event, Hand made it a lost night for Xavier, 98-88.
Cheshire made it a perfect night and remained undefeated with a 99-83 victory over Hand.
“The kids competed hard,” said Xavier coach Chris Haines. “We’ve had a couple of tough weeks of practice over the holidays and I’m thoroughly impressed with how we performed tonight. We’re very young, but some of our young swimmers swam very well.”
The Xavier star was sophomore Dom Nazzaro, who won both the 50 yard freestyle (23.36 seconds) and the 100 yard freestyle (52.55 seconds).
“I thought that Dan Herlihy [sophomore] did a very nice job in the 200 and 500 yard freestyles,” said Haines. “And I was happy with the job turned in by [freshman] Kevin Erickson in the 200 yard individual medley.”
Herlihy finished third [1:58.76] in the 200 yard freestyle and was third overall in the 500 yard freestyle [5:20.87]. Erickson was sixth in the 200 IM with a time of 2:21.29.
Senior Liam Barnes was a strong second in diving to Cheshire’s Teddy Zong.
Zong had 282.60 points to Barnes’ 250.55.
The Xavier/Hand competition was close throughout.
After seven events, Hand led the Falcons 57-53, and Xavier closed that after the 500 free and the 200 freestyle relay to 64-62. But the Tigers pulled away in the 100 yard backstroke to lead 74-66, then clinched the win in the 100 yard breaststroke, taking a 92-80 lead to the 400 freestyle relay, the final event of the night.
Hand’s Nick LaSala’s time of 1:16.11 easily outdistanced the Xavier swimmers in the breaststroke to keep the Falcons from being in a position to win with the final relay.
Hand is 1-1 and Cheshire is 4-0.
Xavier is home again Friday with Glastonbury at 7 p.m. at the Freeman Center at Wesleyan.