BRISTOL - The Plainville boys swim team has one task on its agenda before entering the CCC Tournament and the Class S State Trials meets - getting healthy.
This winter, the Blue Devils were no exception when it came to coming down with a severe case of the flu.
“We’ve lost about two kids every meet, for the last five or six meets,” Plainville head coach Chris Zagorski said.
Every year, influenza can send more than 700,000 people to the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Zagorski estimates at least three-quarters of his team have been affected this season.
“It’s been tough to try to get a full team,” Zagorski said. “But we’re getting there. We’re getting healthier.”
Although this is the largest team the head coach has had during his time at Plainville - there are currently 23 swimmers and divers on the roster - with the flu wiping out its swimmers, there is some uncertainty in how the Blue Devils will wrap up their season, which is set to conclude within the next week.
Plainville will face Northwest Catholic this Friday before going against Farmington next Thursday for in the regular season finale.
“The goal is to get everyone together, get everyone better and get everyone in the water,” Zagorski said. “Once we get everyone back in the pool, they can prep for their last two meets and then for the conference meet. Conference meets [then] states, that’s where our focus is now.”
Last season, the Blue Devils placed 20th in the Class S Championship meet with 57 points. This year, Plainville has both high hopes and expectations for itself.
“I think we’re going to do good in our conference meet and in our state meet,” said freshman swimmer Joseph Michalic, who has already qualified for states in six events. “We just have to keep practicing and keep pushing ourselves and we’ll see what comes.”
Some of the other swimmers on the team have set not only team goals, but individuals goals as well.
Freshman swimmer Brandon Paznokas wants to improve in his time for the 100 backstroke.
In his most recent meet against the Bristol co-op on Tuesday, Paznokas finished the 100 backstroke in third place with a time of 1:08.33.
“My deadline is Feb. 18 to get my time faster,” Paznokas said. “My main goal is to get 1:07.5.”
In order to reach said goals, the Blue Devils have plenty to improve upon.
“It’s just the basics we just really need to improve on,” Zagorski said. “[And] how we approach all of our meets.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org