WATERBURY >> Sacred Heart won its fourth straight NVL Championship in a close win over Watertown, 569.5 to 556 Friday evening at Kennedy High School.
Watertown pulled into the lead, 493 to 467.5 after nine events, but Heart coach Ray Snyder had a handle on the title much earlier.
“Diving helped a bunch,” he said.
Sacred Heart brothers Peter and David Gallino took first and third in the event held earlier in the week, giving the Hearts a leg up going into Friday’s swimming finals.
“After that, I thought, if we swam to our potential, we’d win,” said Snyder.
Two places behind them, Torrington’s swimmers were doing that and more.
The Red Raiders came into the meet in third (6-1-1) after a regular-season loss to the Hearts and a tie with Watertown.
“Our goals for the meet are to stay ahead of Naugatuck and hold onto third, swim fast and have fun,” said Torrington coach Andrew Marchand before the meet.
The Raiders did all three.
“The whole team’s psyched up,” said junior Jack Wassik with a second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle following another second from Matt Traub, Griffin Pelkey, Brad Nichols and David Cilfone in the opening 200-yard medley relay.
“They’re swimming their guts out,” beamed Coach Marchand after Wassik took first in the 500 freestyle by a pool length over his closest competitor. “Everybody’s a huge surprise.”
By then, the Raiders had swimmers at or near the top in nearly every event. After the first two races, Brad Nichols was third in the 200 individual medley.
Then junior Matt Traub started his run for the John Reardon Outstanding Swimmer award, which he won over Sacred Heart’s Connor Newton.
After swimming the 200 medley relay, Traub won the 50-yard freestyle, anchored the 200-yard medley relay and won the 100-yard backstroke.
Torrington’s top swimmers, Traub and Wassik, set the example by out-doing themselves.
“It was my personal best in both events,” said Traub. “I’m real happy with my backstroke time, especially after swimming the relay.”
Wassik cut six seconds off his personal best in the 500, with faster splits each time he went down the pool.
“I was just feeling it,” he grinned.
The whole team was.
Nichols, a senior, was back for a third place in the 100-yard butterfly; Griffin Peldey, Nichols, Wassik and Traub tried to outdo the Hearts in the 200-yard medley relay as Sacred Heart set a pool record for the event (1:29.79); then Pelkey came back for a third in the 100-yard breaststroke.
The Raiders were right there one last time, with a third place by Nick Canino, Chris Parotta, Joshua Coscia and Wassik in the final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay.
They finished ahead of fourth-place Naugatuck 466.5-434; they swam incredibly fast, especially considering that Traub and Wassik have yet to taper and shave as most of their competitors have; and they had fun.
“I’m very happy,” said Coach Marchand. “If we couldn’t win it, this was a great substitute.”
NVL Boys Swimming Championships
Team Scores: 1. Sacred Heart 569.5; 2. Watertown 556; 3. Torrington 466.5; 4. Naugatuck 434; 5. Holy Cross 372; 6. Woodland 226; 7. Kennedy 166.5; 8. Seymour 151.5; 9. Wilby 105; 10. Crosby 71.
Events: 200-yard medley relya: 1. Sacred Heart (Connor Newton, Drew Danino, Liam Coleman, Michale Saunders), 1:40.82; 2. Torrington (Matt Traub, Griffin Pelkey, Brad Nichols, David Cilfone); 3. Woodland. 200 freestyle: 1. Connor Newton, Sacred Heart, 1:43.5; 2. Jack Wassik, Torrington; 3. Nick Perugini, Watertown. 200 IM: 1. Liam Coleman, Sacred Heart, 2:02.68; 2. Aidan Music, Woodland; 3. Nichols, Torrington. 50 free: 1. Traub, Torrington, :21.86; 2. Nick Warner, Holy Cross; 3. Michael Saunders, Sacred Heart. Diving: 1. Peter Gallino, Sacred Heart, 428.65; 2. Connor Lautenschlager, Watertown, 320.35; 3. David Gallino, Sacred Heart, 301.05. 100 butterfly: 1. Bryan Flores, Watertown, :53.46; 2. Coleman, Sacred Heart, :53.52; 3. Nichols, :57.41. 100 free: 1. Warner, Holy Cross, :49.09; 2. Saunders, Sacred Heart; 3. Andy O’Dell, Woodland. 500 free: 1. Wassik, Torrington, 4:48.41; 2. Tadas Racevicius, Holy Cross; 3. Ryan Fryer, Holy Cross. 200 free relay: 1. Sacred Heart (Joseph Spagnolo, Saunders, Coleman, Newton), 1:29.79 POOL RECORD; 2. Torrington (Pelkey, Nichols, Wassik, Traub); 3. Holy Cross. 100 backstroke: 1. Traub, Torrington, :52.55; 2. Eric Giampietro, Watertown; 3. Matt Corona, :59.46. 100 breaststroke: 1. Newton, Sacred Heart, 1:00.32; 2. Music, Woodland; 3. Pelkey, Torrington. 400 free relay: 1. Holy Cross (Corona, Racevicius, Fryer, Warner), 3:21.84; 2. Watertown; 3. Torrington (Nick Canino, Chris Parotta, Joshua Coscia, Wassik).