Swim Team Overcomes Time Off, Cruises Past Bethel

There has not been much practice for the Nighthawks. Holidays and snow days resulting in canceled school have left the Newtown High School swimmers with minimal time in the water to gear up for meets. The rust didn’t show in the team’s first meet in more than a week — a 100-75 win over visiting Bethel on January 7.

“They swam really well today,” said Newtown Coach Zach Gauvin, adding that he was pleasantly surprised to see his team members record a handful of personal best times en route to improving to 2-1 this campaign.

Gauvin believes it is particularly difficult for swimmers to overcome missed preparation time due to the nature of the sport. Participants must pile on yardage in practice to get into racing shape, and a day off effectively sets a swimmer back a couple of days, Gauvin argues. Some missed practices are expected because of holidays but after school workouts in the past couple of weeks have been few and far between thanks to a few snowstorms, but the Nighthawks do not plan to make any excuses. While individual times may not be as good as they could be, the head-to-head element comes on an even playing field.

“It’s not just us. Everybody’s had snow days,” Gauvin notes.

Against Bethel, the Nighthawks sealed the win with three events to go, exhibitioning the final few competitions.

The 200-yard medley relay team of Tommy Horan, Seth Barrett, Austin Adamcheck, and Owen Gray raced to a first-place finish in a time of 1:53.05.

Richard Huffman won the 200 freestyle event in a time of 1:49.71, edging out teammate Jacob Branchflower who finished in 1:50.05.

Dawson Stout won the 200 individual medley race, making his final touch in a time of 2:15.55. Teammate Hannah Makris was runner-up in the event, finishing in 2:17.72.

Adamcheck took first in the 50 free, in a time of 24.55. Gray was not far behind, making his final touch in 24.73 for second place.

Newtown’s Ryan Nathenson earned the top score in the diving competition, with a 149.15.

After the break, the Nighthawks continued to roll along, earning a one-two-three finish in the 100 butterfly event. Stout was tops in the fly, completing the race in 1:00.24. He was followed by Zach Payne in 1:06.80 and Matt Argraves in 1:03.47.

Horan won the 100 free in 55.04. Newtown had top-two placements in the next two events, the 500 and 200 free relay.

In the 500, Chris Lafky was first in 5:24.71, and Adamcheck came in second right behind Lafky in 5:24.88. In the 200 relay event, Makris, Richard Huffman, Gray, and Branchflower led the way in a time of 1:39.97. Newtown’s team of Argraves, Curt Giles, Caelen Ritter, and Payne came in second in 1:46.80.

With the outcome of the meet already decided, Newtown did not officially win the last three events, but the Hawks did have first-place finishes in those competitions. Horan won the 100 backstroke race in 1:01.78, and Mike Poulter came in second in the backstroke with a time of 1:06.57. Barrett took the top spot in the 100 breaststroke in 1:11.38. The 400 relay team of Lafky, Stout, Payne, and Huffman was first in a time of 3:45.26.

Newtown, weather permitting, will have a solid week of practice to continue to train in preparation for its next meet. After a visit to Masuk of Monroe on January 14 and a January 21 competition with visiting New Milford, the Hawks dig into the really tough part of the schedule. They will face Weston, Brookfield, and New Fairfield in succession — January 28 and February 4 and 11, respectively. Weston and Brookfield are among the top teams in the South-West Conference and in the state.

“That’s going to be the true test to see exactly where we are,” Gauvin said.

The regular season concludes with meets against Joel Barlow of Redding and the Bunnell-Stratford squad February 18 and 25.

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