The boys swimming and diving season will be much shorter than usual as some teams only have five meets scheduled this year. With most coaches already experienced with competing in the pandemic after going through the fall with the girls, the time in the pool will be a valuable experience for all of the student-athletes this year.
Here is a preview of what to expect from the local boys swimming and diving teams.
Head coach: Adrienne Bentley (3rd season)
Last year: CCC South champions
Key losses: Anthony Fasci (Diver), Joseph Guerin, Kurt Miskell, Jake Mendocha, Ben Stafford, Joshua Mitchell, Lewis Sinche.
Key returnees: Gabriel Bartolome (Sr.) , Christofer Fiorillo (Sr.), Matthew Martin (Sr.), Tyler Martin (Sr.), Colton Litwinczyk (Sr.), Mikel Palaj (Sr.).
Outlook: The reigning conference champions graduated seven seniors off of last year’s team, but have a variety of talented swimmers returning.
“Since we are a smaller family this season, everyone is excited to do their part,” Bentley said.
Look to seniors Gabriel Bartolome and Colton Litwinczyk to make the most of their final seasons in the pool after being some of the most successful members of the co-op last year.
First meet: Feb. 10 vs. Farmington
Head coach: Evan Tuttle (11th season)
Last year: 10-1 (CCC West champions)
Key losses: EJ Suski (Diver), Tyler Heidgerd, Derek Melanson, Brian Egan, Ben Ragozzine (Diver), Jon Cocchiola, Kyle Buchanan.
Key returnees: Jackson Malsheske (Sr.), Landon Colby (Jr.), Matt Niro (So.), Alex Rosania (So.).
Possible newcomers: Brett Sheldrick (Sr.), Peter Zalewski (Fr.), Alex LeClair (Fr.).
Outlook: The Blue Knights will have to replace 13 seniors off of last year’s team, but always boast a deep roster ready to take on the challenge. Malsheske and Colby are a pair of returning state finalists that will look to build on their strong 2020 campaigns in the short time they have this year.
“We all understand that the season ahead of us will be rather different from any season that we are accustomed to, yet that will not stop us from enjoying every minute of it, and using it as an opportunity to improve,” Tuttle said. “Regardless of what the season will look like a week, two weeks or a month from now, the Blue Knights will work to ensure that the 2021 season is the best it can be.”
Expect this talented and well-coached group to remind everyone why it won the CCC West title a year ago.
First meet: Feb. 10 vs. Middletown
Head coach: Crystal Connery (4th season)
Last year: 3-8
Key losses: Luke Fote , Salvo Scata, Nick Jirku , Sean Vasi, Andriy Grynyk (Diver).
Key returnees: Michael Bohlke (Jr.), Wyatt Smith (Jr.), Bryce Turner (Jr.)
Possible newcomers: Filip Nadratowski (Fr.)
Outlook: Newington has a lot of talent to replace at the top of its lineup and will look to do so with a strong junior class.
“After graduating strong senior classes the last two years, this is definitely a rebuilding year for our program,” Connery said. “Bohlke, Smith and Turner all earned all-conference recognition last year and will be taking on more key roles on the team this year. We are expecting a very successful season from Nadratowski as an incoming freshman, and are looking forward to seeing what he has to offer the team.”
First meet: Feb. 9 vs. Hall
Head coach: Chris Zagorski (9th season)
Last year: 6-6
Key losses: Colin Blake, Brady Stevens, Dom Sousa, Wyatt LaCombe.
Key returnees: Nate Lyman (Sr.), Brandon Paznokas (Sr.), Joe Michalic (Sr.), Matt Lagassey (Sr.), Nico Lastrina (Jr.) Spencer Michalek (So.).
Outlook: The Blue Devils return a strong senior class filled with state qualifiers from last year. Always a competitive squad, Plainville’s swimmers will look to do the best to shorten their times in this shortened season.
“We are returning a strong senior class led by all-conference backstroker Paznokas, Lyman, Michalic and Lagassey,” Zagorski said. “All four have competed at Class S finals and qualified last year before the season was cut short. They have a goal as a class to finish their careers on a high note and look to lead this team to a successful season.”
First meet: Feb. 13 vs. Avon
Head coach: Daniel Thurston (9th season)
Key losses: Kiernan Jennings, Andrew Roberti.
Key returnees: Marcel Dabek (So.), Antony Hayek (So., Diver)
Outlook: The Redcoats’ roster appears to be much smaller than last year and features no seniors and just two juniors. The young roster could by why their first scheduled meet is not until Feb. 17.
First meet: Feb. 17 at Wethersfield