Fairfield Prep has swam past most of its opponents for six decades and Rick Hutchinson has experienced a wealth of the many winning moments.
A swimmer for coach Bruce Jaffee’s teams in the 1980’s, Hutchinson served as an assistant coach under Jaffee for eight seasons, before taking over the helm on the squad he competed on in high school.
Now in his seventh season as coach of the Jesuits, Hutchinson has helped the program maintain its excellence.
“It has been a privilege to be a part of this program,” said Hutchinson, who is in his seventh season as Fairfield Prep’s coach. “I give a lion’s share of the credit to Bruce Jaffee, who created an atmosphere of self-sacrifice. It was a privilege to have the reigns handed over to me and I have been doing my best to uphold our traditions, as well as update it and modernize it a little bit.”
A 1987 Fairfield Prep graduate, Hutchinson has seen a lot of standout athletes hone their skills in the program over the years and this winter, he has several who are making their mark.
Senior Liam Colleran, the defending State Open champion in the 100-yard backstroke (50.90 seconds), is in the midst of another successful season. Colleran is also the Jesuits’ leading performer in the 50-yard freestyle — an event he placed fourth in at last season’s State Open.
“Liam is the ultimate sprinter who loves to race,” Hutchinson said. “Having a go-to guy like that in the 50 and backstroke in every meet is so important. He is also a good butterflyer and is just rock-solid for us.”
Richard Nolan, a versatile junior, is coming off season in which he placed seventh at the State Open in the 200 individual medley (1:55.44).
“He can do a little bit of everything and plays a lot of different roles,” Hutchinson said of Nolan. “He always has a smile on his face and he has a knack for having big swims in key moments. Whenever we needed that big swim to pull out a meet he has done the job.”
Senior Brody Biebel, who placed among the top 15 at the State Open in the 200 freestyle (1:45.65) has also displayed his talent in the sprint events, while junior Anthony Daccache has been stellar in the distance and breaststroke events.
Junior Jack Rogers has produced solid results in the sprint events for Prep over its first three meets, while freshman Thomas Kehor has paced the divers.
“Our divers who have returned have improved a lot and Thomas has performed really well,” Hutchinson said. “The divers showing a lot of confidence and have been a pleasant surprise.”
Fairfield Prep, which has captured the SCC championship 14 straight seasons and placed second at both the State Open and Class LL meets last winter, had a 2-1 record, heading into Thursday’s meet against Branford/Guilford.
Their loss came against non-conference foe Pingry School from New Jersey.
“There’s nothing wrong with testing yourself against one of the top teams in New Jersey and we have some challenging meets coming up,” Hutchinson said.
One of those challenging meets takes place Jan. 19 against host Greenwich — one of Prep’s biggest rivals.
“Our meet against Greenwich is always one that we have marked on our calendar,” Hutchinson said. “It is a great measuring stick for us and we are looking forward to it.”
Kevin Bradley, Norwalk/McMahon
The senior won the diving event for Norwalk/McMahon against Greenwich, totaling 300.70 points.
Spencer Erickson, Darien
Erickson, a senior, registered winning times in the 50 freestyle (24.00) and 100 freestyle (51.77) vs. Westhill/Stamford.
Christian Farricker, Brunswick
Farricker finished first in the 200 freestyle (1:44.68) and won the 500 freestyle for the 5-0 Bruins in their victory against Hackley School.
Ben Feldman, Westhill/Stamford
Feldman had winning efforts in the 200-yard medley relay in 2:04.63 and the 100 butterfly (55.09) in the team’s meet against Darien. He also helped spark the squad’s winning 200 medley relay (1:47.43) and 400 freestyle relay (3:34.13) teams.
Jai Goel, Shelton
The freshman finished first in the 200-yard individual medley (2:17.64) and the 500 freestyle (5:23.18) for Shelton (3-0) in its 99-69 win over Lyman Hall/Cocginhaug.
Shiva Gowda, Amity
A senior, Gowda placed first in the 200-yard freestyle (1:53.49) and was on Amity’s winning 200 freestyle relay team (1:36.32) in the team’s 93-73 win over North Haven. Amity improved its record to 4-0.
William Hinckley, Notre Dame-West Haven
A senior, Hinckley touched the wall first in the 50 freestyle (24.22) and 100 freestyle (55.27) for Notre Dame-West Haven in its 86-84 loss against Foran/Law.
Holden Hoon, Wethersfield
Hoon, a senior, finished first in the 200 IM (2:05.81) and the 100 freestyle (52.11) for Wethersfield in its meet against Hall.
Ben Howell, Xavier
The junior took top honors in the 100-yard backstroke (57.84) and competed on Xavier’s first-place 200 medley (1:42.07) and 400 freestyle (3:29.14) relay teams in the squad’s victory against West Haven/Platt Tech.
Nick Malchow, Greenwich
Malchow, a sophomore, notched first-place finishes in the 200 IM (2:08.67) and the 100 breaststroke (1:04.86) against Westhill/Stamford.
Connor Martin, Darien
A junior, Martin won the 200 freestyle in 1:53.10 and touched the wall first in the 100 butterfly (55.97) for the Blue Wave, which beat Westhill, 103.50-78.50.
Will McCleery, North Haven
McCleery registered a winning time of 5:15.40 in the 500 freestyle for North Haven in it meet against Amity. The senior was also on the team’s 400 freestyle relay team, which placed first in 3:43.53.
Andrew Mitchill, Xavier
Mitchill won the 200 freestyle in 1:51.84 and took first in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.81) in Xavier’s 92-78 win over West Haven/Platt Tech. A sophomore, Mitchill also competed on Xavier’s winning 200 freestyle relay (1:51.84) and 400 freestyle relay (3:29.14) teams.
Edward Platonov, Foran/Law
The sophomore won the 200 freestyle in 1:48.28 and the 500 freestyle in a time of 5:11.13 for Foran/Law against Notre Dame-West Haven. He also swam on the squad’s winning 200 freestyle relay team (1:40.87).
Tyler Roy, Amity
The junior won the 100 freestyle (50.96) and was on Amity’s winning 200 medley relay (1:49.67) and 200 freestyle relay (1:36.32) against North Haven.
Connor Skarzynski, Hall
A junior, Skarzynski posted winning times in the 200-yard freestyle (1:55.51) and the 500 freestyle (5:15.73) for Hall, which edged Wethersfield, 93.5-92.5. He also helped the 400 freestyle relay team win in 3:35.80 and the 200 freestyle relay team take first in 1:35.90.
Nick Todorovic, Greenwich
Todorovic finished first in the 200 individual medley for the 3-0 Cardinals in their win over Norwalk/McMahon. A junior, Todorovic also won the 500 freestyle in 5:04.24.