By John Torsiello
Head coach Scott Chambers certainly has some weapons in his arsenal as he chases teams in Central Connecticut Conference West.
He has a bevy of returning seniors who have already shown great promise in the first few meets of the new campaign. But the biggest hurdle the Trojans face is the stiff competition in the conference.
“We have a very strong CCC West Division,” said the head coach, who is in his fourth year on the job, second as head coach. “As a co-ed team, we struggle against the top boys teams of Farmington, Conard, and Hall. We hope to give Southington a good meet this season and Northwest Catholic should be a team we can beat.”
Simsbury finished only 1-4 in the CCC West last season but 9-6 overall.
Top returning swimmers (all seniors) include Nick Stamboulis (backstroke, freestyle); Kyle Chambers (butterfly, freestyle); Jeremy LaVerde (breaststroke); Nick Catalano (distance frees, IM, butterfly); Sammi Dowd (sprint freestyles); Katie Amarell (diving); and Aly Saperstein (diving).
Key losses from last year’s squad were the Trojans’ four captains–Shelby Downes, Kelly Savino, Doug Nicholson, and Alex Ratjczak.
Chambers is assisted by Maryfran Drakelely and Rich Kowalski, the latter in his 15th year as diving coach.
Team captains are Amarell, Catalano, Dowd, and LaVerde.
Said Chambers, “We should have a very good overall dual meet season. Our closest out of conference meets will be Berlin, Newington, and Windsor. Last season we placed fourth in our CCC West championship meet thanks to excellent swimming and superb diving. I would be thrilled if we placed fourth again.”
The Trojan’s top diver, Schoffstall, is only one point away from breaking the team diving record help by Matt Morrison. Said Chambers, “He has an excellent chance of shattering that record. He placed 17th at State Opens last season and our coaching staff believes he can break into the top 10 this season.”
Simsbury opened up with a warm up against Westminster. The meet wasn’t officially scored but Anna Paquette, Charlie Olson, Joe Carollo, and Daniel Greenberg turned in solid efforts as did divers P.J. Jackson and Schoffstall, who totaled a fine 253.90.
Simsbury dropped a 94-84 decision to Farmington.
Said Chambers, “Going against the best team in the CCC West early in the season has its pros and cons. We know Farmington is a very strong team that is well coached by Scott Feringo. I will say they are not as strong as they were last year, as many of their top swimmers graduated. Nonetheless, they are still a tough team and we did very well. I was so proud of how we swam. They did go exhibition on us but we held them off until the backstroke.”
Simsbury’s Sophie Sloan, Max Braun, Emily Fritz, Ali May, Joannie Nicholson, Corben Braun, Daniel Greenberg, and Katie Hoinoski turned in some fine efforts.
At the Bulkeley relays, Simsbury came home with four medals; Nick Stamboulis (back), Jeremy LaVerde (breast), Kyle Chambers (fly), and Sean Russell (free) a silver in the 400-medley relay; Wyatt Gallagher, Jeremy LaVerde, Nick Stamboulis, and Sammi Dowd a bronze in the 200-free relay; May, Sophie Sloan, Sean Russell, and Nick Stamboulis a silver in the 300 backstroke relay; and Sean Russell, Corben Braun, Emily Fritz, and Nick Catalano a bronze in the 300 free relay.
“It was an all-around great team effort,” said Chambers.”I am so proud of how respectful our team is on the bus to meets, in restaurants, and on the pool deck. We have an awesome team.”