BRISTOL - With 18 underclassmen on its roster and just six upperclassmen, the Bristol boys co-op swim team is set up for future success.
Two freshmen, Gabriel Bartolome and Colton Litwinczyk, have particularly stood out in the pool this season.
Bartolome qualified for three individual events in states, the 200 IM, the 100 breaststroke and the 100 backstroke, while just missing the 100 fly cutoff by a second.
“Gabe’s very self motivated,” Bristol coach Nick Daddabbo said. “He doesn’t need to be pushed, he wants to do well, he asks a lot of questions and he’s really coachable. When he came into the program he had been swimming with Bristol Splash. He’d been swimming since he was very little. When he was swimming Bristol Splash, he always did very well in their championship meets. Swimming is his sport. He always wants to do better than he already is.”
Litwinczyk’s main events are the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke. Placing 26th overall among all classes in the state meets, he is the second alternate in the 100 breaststroke for the State Open on Saturday at Yale University. No other Bristol swimmer qualified for a chance to compete in that meet.
Having such a dynamic freshmen duo is something Daddabbo believes will propel the program to some of its better seasons yet.
“Just the fact that we have them is a huge bonus for our team and our program,” Daddabbo said. “I expect them both to be able to break records and be at state opens. Looking at their events and putting them in relays helps a lot. They can both do multiple events at a high level. It gives me a lot of options. The two of them work really well together and push each other.”
Both Bartolome and Litwinczyk are in position to break school records in individual events.
Bartolome is on pace to break the school record in the 100 free and 100 breaststroke.
“I think in the next three years there’s no reason Gabe won’t be at state opens, definitely junior and senior seasons if not his sophomore,” Daddabbo said. “His 100 free I see going under the 50 second bracket, he’s at 51 right now. I think he has a chance to break a couple school records by the time he graduates. He has a shot at the 100 free record and if he works really hard at the 200 IM too.”
Litwincyzk is also on pace to break the record in the 100 breaststroke.
“Colton has a chance to break the 100 breaststroke record by the time he’s a senior,” Daddabbo said. “He and Gabe swim year round. Colton is a little bit more energetic than Gabe is. Colton is another leader in the lane for the freshmen class.”
With the two leading the way along with the other young swimmers, Bristol will be a team to watch in the coming years.
“I think we have a special team,” Litwinczyk said. The majority of our team is freshmen and sophomores. We try to be leaders in the water even though we’re freshmen. We have the potential to be a great team if we stay focused. Having a young team is great because it shows how much we can still learn as a team. We’re going to pave the future.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org