Boys swimming preview: Warriors ready to move up this winter
When Wilton High boys swim coach Todd Stevens does the math, the numbers add up to a hefty total of optimism.
His team returns each and every swimmer who contributed a point toward Wilton’s seventh-place finish at the FCIAC championship and fourth-place finish at the Class L meet.
“We didn’t graduate a lot [of swimmers], and we were pretty good last year,” said Stevens. “We’ve definitely got a good returning group.”
Wilton is scheduled to start the 2015-16 season today at 4 against Trumbull at Hillcrest Middle School in Trumbull.
Among those back are senior captains Derek Benison, Ryan Robb and Charlie Owens, who all scored points in two events at last year’s Class L championship. Benison was third in the 50-yard freestyle and 17th in the 100 freestyle; Robb placed fourth in the 100 freestyle and seventh in the 50 freestyle; and Owens finished 19th in both the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly.
A strong junior class includes Will Suchy, who was the only Wilton swimmer to score points in two individual events at all three post-season meets in 2014-15. Suchy’s best performance came at the Class L meet, in which he finished third in the 200 freestyle and fourth in the 500 freestyle.
Two other juniors, Harrison McCool and Kyle Wilson, were also stalwarts last winter. McCool was 13th in the 500 freestyle at both the FCIAC and Class L meets, while Wilson placed 10th in the 200 individual medley and 14th in the 100 breaststroke at the Class L championship.
Another standout is sophomore Jack Lewis. As a freshman last season, Lewis was ninth in the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke at FCIACs, then finished eighth in the former and 13th in the latter at the Class L meet.
Classmates Jake Florio and Christian Larsen also stamped themselves as contributors last year: Florio finished 24th in the 500 freestyle at the Class L championship, and Larsen was part of the 200 freestyle relay that placed fifth at the same meet.
“We’ve got some big guns,” said Stevens. “It’s nice when you have that kind of frontline to lead the team.”
Stevens will also look for consistent production from several other returnees, including senior Spencer Goodwin, junior Anthony Horicka and sophomore Jackson Dill.
A five-member freshman class could also help. “There’s some talent there,” said Stevens. “We just have to see how they adjust to competing at the varsity level.”
With so many proven performers returning, Stevens believes that his team is trending upwards this season.
“We should be a better dual-meet team, and I think we’ll move up in FCIACs (from seventh place last year).” said Stevens. “And with [eight-time defending Class L champion] Pomperaug going to Class LL, we should move up a spot at states. Maybe we can even get into the top-two in Class L.”
But even with its impressive list of returnees, Wilton does have some soft spots. Most glaring is the team’s lack of divers, which translated to zero points in that event at both the FCIAC and Class L meets last season.
“Getting no diving points hurts us, especially in the post-season meets,” said Stevens. “We have just one diver, [junior] Sean Bergen, this year, so we will be giving away points again.”
Notes: A victory today would be the 100th for Stevens as Wilton’s head coach. He already has more than 100 career wins with the Wilton girls swim team, topping the mark in 2013.
Suchy finished eighth in the 500 freestyle and 12th in the 200 freestyle at FCIACs last season. He was 21st in the 200 freestyle and 23rd in the 500 freestyle at the State Open.
Benison was the only other Warrior to score individual points at the Open, placing 24th in the 50 freestyle.
Robb, Lewis, Benison and Suchy combined to finish second in the 200 freestyle relay at the Class L meet.