New Canaan swims past Staples to stay undefeated
WESTPORT — On the eve of the championship season, no one has been able to defeat the New Canaan boys swim and diving team yet this season.
Not even Greenwich, the team the Rams beat in their meet before Wednesday.
Staples gave it a major shot, though.
New Canaan prevailed over the Wreckers 97.5-88.5 in a highly entertaining meet between two of the top teams of the state. The Rams moved to 9-0 in the dual season while Staples dropped to 7-2.
Consecutive meets against Ridgefield, Wilton, Greenwich and now the Wreckers have left the FCIAC and Class L contender Rams battle-tested ahead of their biggest challenges.
“The first part of the year was the dual-meet season,” said Rams coach David Fine, whose team won the Class L title last year. “The goal was to get each of our biggest competitors and finish this off and go undefeated. We have a lot more on the table and more that we need to do.”
Many of the races against the Wreckers were closely fought, with the Rams’ superiority in diving — which they won 13-3 by sweeping the top three spots, with Cameron Rhind winning with a score of 292.40 — making the difference in the final score.
“We battled hard today,” Fine said. “Staples swam with an intent to take us down and we had to battle; they had to dig deep and really stuck out a couple of races. I’m really excited about where they were.”
The name of Wreckers coach Frisk Driscoll stood in the top three of the 200 freestyle leaderboard since posting his time in 2005, but junior Nico Ortega bumped him down one spot on the top-10 board that covers a sizable piece of a wall in the Wreckers pool.
Ortega also posted the second-fastest time in school history (4:08.08) in winning the 400 freestyle Wednesday.
“I’ve worked with (Ortega) for a while,” Driscoll said. “And he’s one of those kids, as he starts to figure out his body more and more; because he’s so long and isn’t completely body-aware. The more he’s getting comfortable with his length, he’s become a stronger swimmer.”
Staples held tough with the Rams throughout the meet, and a disqualification in the 100 breaststroke was all that kept the score from being even closer.
The 200 medley relay team of Austin Twiss, Dashiell Hunter, Josiah Tarrant and John McNab set a school record in winning that event. The Wreckers team as a whole won eight of the 11 swimming events, with the Rams’ depth proving the difference on the scoreboard.
“It was very exciting,” Driscoll said. “They surprise me all the time; knowing that New Canaan just came off beating Greenwich, we knew we were in for a serious meet. We knew we had to come in super focused and they did, a lot of guys had season bests.”
Staples won both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays while Hunter won the 100 breaststroke (1:09.02) and the 200 IM (2:13.60). John McNab won the 100 freestyle with a time of 55.37.
Both teams have one final meet left on the schedule Friday, then a significant break before the FCIAC finals March 2.
“Going into the season we knew we had the potential,” Fine said. “But potential is only that if you’re not going to put the work into it. They’ve been working really hard, they’re excited and I think they’re hungry for it.”