TORRINGTON >> Torrington’s boys swimming and diving team had no trouble with visiting Oxford in an 86-76 win at the Torrington YMCA Wednesday night.
Far from it, a meet that was 86-38 before going exhibition (no Torrington scoring) for the final three events gave the Red Raiders (4-3-1) a chance to experience the benefits of relaxation in a sport usually known for its grueling hard work and reliance on adrenaline.
Oxford, a Class S school, has its own pool, but just 13 swimmers in a young program that started eight years ago with the school’s opening.
“We’re growing, but we need more swimmers,” said Lynn Salvator, in her first year as head coach.
Torrington, Class M in swimming, lists 31 swimmers on its roster, including several freshmen who beat most seniors.
So, on a night that might have been pure fun and relaxation for the Raiders, Torrington won four of the first five events, with a personal best time in each win.
Drew Fisher, Andrew Spielman, J.T. Barth and Glenn Kittle knocked .08 seconds off their opening 200-yard medley relay seed time; Barth was back for almost six seconds off his previous best 200-freestyle time; and Kittle held a remarkable lead in the 50 while lowering his time .11 seconds. Then Barth knocked off more than two seconds in his 100-yard butterfly.
Barth’s freestyle feat might deserve an asterisk.
“I haven’t swum the 200 since I was a freshman,” said the junior. “I told (freshman Viktor Nemesvari), ‘I’m gonna go for it.’”
Kittle pled the serious side: “Our team always goes out for our best effort. There’s never a time when we don’t,” he said.
But, when Barth steamed in with his best time in the butterfly, he couldn’t help grinning. “We’re just having fun with it, I guess. Sometimes, we go in too seriously.”
Nemesvari, the talented freshman, broke the Torrington personal-best streak while winning the 100 freesyle, demonstrating the benefits of adrenaline along the way.
“I added a second,” he said, finding the need for a challenge for his best times.
This time, he found it by accident.
“I thought I’d left the guy next to me behind; then I hit a turn and he was right next to me,” Nemesvari said. “I had to go.”
Torrington continued to win, but the spell was over. Freshman Keller Jackson won the 500 freestyle in two more seconds than his best. Adam LaMothe, Joe Lucia, Michale O’Brien and Josh Ivain took the final Raider scoring event almost nine seconds slower than their capability.
Meanwhile, three swimmers from Wolcott Tech attached to Torrington’s team for the past three years, soak it all in.
They’re not allowed to score, but senior Ezra Olsen and juniors Kurtis Wilson and Annalise Erwin are full-fledge participants in the fun, intensity and adrenaline rush that goes with Torrington’s team.
“The energy is awesome; the coaches are great,” said Wilson, the only one of the three who didn’t swim with the Lasers before joining the Raiders.
Olsen, starting with the Lasers in second grade, didn’t want to leave the sport until he had to. The colleges he’s choosing from don’t have swimming programs.
All three swim because they love the sport.
Wednesday was a great night to show it.
Torrington 86, Oxford 76
At Torrington YMCA
200-yard medley relay: 1. Torrington (Drew Fisher, Andrew Spielman, J.T. Barth, Glenn Kittle), 1:52.52; 2. Torrington; 3. Oxford. 200-yard freestyle: 1. J.T. Barth (T), 1:58.79; 2. Viktor Nemesvari (T); 3. Bailey Clark (T). 3. 200-yard IM: 1. John Moran (O), 2:17.82; 2. Jackson Keller (T); 3. Fisher (T). 50-yard freestlye: 1. Kittle (T), :24.26; 2. Chris Fogarty (O); 3. Adam LaMothe (T). 100-yard butterfly: 1. Barth (T), 1:01.07; 2. Moran (O); 3. Matt Heath (T). 100-yard freestyle: 1. Nemesvari (T), :54.05; 2. Logan Law (O); 3. Spielman (T). 500-yard freestyle: 1. Keller (T), 5:47.06; 2. Tyler Pranger (O); 3. Gavin Smart (T). 200 freestyle relay: 1. Torrington (LaMothe, Joe Lucia, Michael O’Brien, Josh Ivain), 1:50.69. 2. Oxford; 3. Torrington. 100-yard backstroke: Exhibition. 100-yard Breaststroke: Exhibition. 400-yard freestyle relay: Exhibition.
Record: Torrington 4-3-1.