HARTFORD - The CCC South Blue swim meet took place on Saturday afternoon as the final tuneup for teams before state competition. Many of the teams involved had swimmers in some unfamiliar positions, but most of the teams involved seemed to come out thinking it was a good day.
Bristol and Plainville were the area teams involved. The Bristol co-op came away with a narrow fourth place finish, while the Blue Devils finished fifth, but both teams are now ready for the states.
Bristol in a tough spot, but still hoping to make noise
The Bristol co-op only has 17 swimmers on its roster. But because it is a co-op, the team has to swim in Class LL with the big boys.
The team doesn’t have the horses to be able to compete with the top Class LL schools, but is still hoping to have some sort of presence at the state meet.
“Because we are in Class LL, which is a very competitive class, it’s hard to even make your trial cuts,” head coach Nick Daddabbo said. “Those are due on Monday, so we will find out in the middle of the week exactly who we have swimming at the states. We are hoping for at least relays and a couple of individual events.”
Elijah Ortiz is the one Bristol swimmer that is definitely going to the state meet, as he has qualified in multiple individual events.
“Elijah is swimming well and dropping time almost every time out,” Daddabbo said. “I think he will have a really strong showing at the trials and at the state meet.”
Freshman Ben Stafford is another swimmer who is hoping to get to the state meet and has a good shot at doing so. Stafford has been a standout for Bristol all season on two different relay teams that were able to finish in the top five at the CCC meet.
“I am trying my best to get state qualifying times right now,” Stafford said. “I got all best times [on Saturday] and if I get a chance to swim at states that would be great.”
Regardless of how many swimmers Bristol sends to the state meet, Daddabbo still feels the team had a successful season considering he circumstances.
“Our record might not be all that great, but it doesn’t show what we have done this season,” Daddabbo said. “We have faced some of the top teams in the state and some of them have 40 or 50 kids on their roster, which is more than double what we have.
“We have put together almost 80 percent best times throughout the year and the guys have gotten better, so I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
“The teams we swim against are tough,” Stafford said. “They have a lot of really good swimmers, but I think we have done a good job because we are all like one big family and we all get along. Some of those other teams are a lot bigger than us, but we do our best.”
Plainville has few swimmers, but they will be ready
The Plainville boys swimming team has been dealing with a few injuries this season, so it may not have reached its full potential at any point.
Because of that, the Blue Devils won’t be sending all that many swimmers to states, but there are a few that know they are going and they will be ready.
“We have four guys that have already qualified,” head coach Chris Zagorski said. “They’ve known that they are going to be in states for a little while now, so they are tapering for that meet, not [the CCC meet].”
Lorenzo Samperi, Taegen Brochu and Josh Donaghy are three of the Plainville swimmers that have qualified, and Brochu and Donaghy have qualified in multiple events. Those three will be joined by diver Bryan Buckley, who qualified with his seventh place finish at the CCC diving meet earlier this week.
There is still a chance that those four could be joined by other swimmers when the auto-adds come out early this coming week, but for now those are the four that are going and Zagorski likes their chances.
“I’m expecting good things from our guys at states,” Zagorski said. “Donaghy is a guy that has some big potential. He finished in the top 10 last year and he is ahead of where he was last year, so we are looking at possibly medaling.
“Bryan is in his first year diving and he will have a chance to jump in our pool for the states, so we will see how he does there. It’s a huge opportunity.
“Lorenzo and Taegen, it’s Lorenzo’s senior year so he knows what he needs to do. He’s hoping to get his [100 butterfly] time down and come back for finals. Taegen is really committed and I know he’s shooting for coming back for finals too.”
Samperi is the lone Plainville senior to have qualified for states, and he is hoping to make the most of it as his swimming career comes to a close.
He isn’t entering with huge expectations, he just wants to continue to improve.
“I’m going to go in there and just try to lower my times,” Samperi said. “Right now I’m at a 1:03, but I definitely want to drop it down to at least a 1:01. That’s basically my goal is to just get that time down as low as I can.”
Michael Woolfson can be reached at or On Twitter: @Bigwoolf5