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By Andy Hutchison



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By Andy Hutchison

Depth — both in the number of talented swimmers and in the versitilty they possess to compete in various events — has led to a successful campaign for the Newtown High School swim team.

How successful?

The Nighthawks have lost only one meet thus far, and that was to defending state champion and South-West Conference powerhouse Pomperaug.

The Nighthawks have an 8-1 record with three meets remaining and are eyeing a top-two finish in the SWC.

After posting 8-3 each year since fourth-year coach Matt Childs and his seniors have been at Newtown High, the Hawks are in great position to improve on that 8-3 mark. The three teams that have been proverbial thornes in the sides of the Newtown swimmers and beaten the Hawks year in and year out are Pomperaug, Brookfield, and New Fairfield. The Hawks swam past Brookfield and New Fairfield earlier this season and are enjoying the winning ways.

“It’s a lot of fun. When you’re winning meets it’s lots of fun,” said senior captain Stefan Toi, who competes in the fly and 200 IM. “We have a lot of depth.”

“Depth is a strong point against every team except Pomperaug — they’re very, very strong,” Childs said.

Along with Toi, fellow captains Chris Fragoso (100 butterfly and 100 freestyle) and Anthony Fiore (200 IM and 100 backstroke) are four-year team members who are enjoying their best season yet.

In addition to the three captains, seniors who have also qualified for the state championshiop include Kevin Herring (who competes in the 50, 100, and 200), Wes Hood (sprint freestyle and 100 backstroke) and Allen Hubbard (100 breaststroke).

This senior class, Childs says, is among the best — if not the best — NHS has had.

“They’re a great group of guys. We’ve gotten to know each other very well and they’ve certainly improved,” the coach said.

“It’s been a culmination of a lot of improvement we’ve had over the years,” Fragoso said of his team’s success.

Senior divers Allison Jagoe and Ryan Hudock (a first-year diver) both qualified for states for the first time in their careers. Sophomores Luke Fiore (50, 100, and 200) and Alex Kron (200, 500, and 100 backstroke) lead a talented group of underclassmen, Childs said.

It has been a record-setting season for the Hawks. The 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay teams set pool records at NHS. Anthony Fiore, Hubbard, Toi, and Hood combined to break the mark for the best time recorded in the local pool in the 200 medley, and Anthony Fiore, Luke Fiore, Toi, and Hood worked together to set the mark in the 400 free.

 “Our goals get higher and higher,” Anthony Fiore said.

In their most recent meets, the Hawks beat Oxford 97-56 on January 15 before falling 98-80 to Pomperaug on January 23 and beating the Joel Barlow/Immaculate co-op team 98-86 on Tuesday. In the win over Oxford, several of the underclassmen had a chance to shine and gain important meet experience that should benefit them down the road. Freshman George Delia earned first place in the 200 freestyle and was part of the winning 200 and 400 free relay teams. Freshman Justin Villamil and sophomores Sam Hoagland and Tom Mascher were also part of the 200 relay team. Juniors Chris Parker and Patrick Stein and sophomore Nate Crevier, along with freshmen Conor Donnelly and Jordan Simonds, also played key roles with top-three finishes.

In Tuesday’s win Newtown had five first-place finishes. The 200 medley relay team of Alex Kron, Fragoso, Toi, and Luke Fiore was first in 1:46.61. The 200 free relay team Abben Hung, Kyle O’Connor, Herring, and Rob Morlath was first in a time of 1:34.52. Hood took top honors in the 200 free with a time of 1:54.14, Toi was first in the 100 butterfly in 55.77 and Andrew LaMarche was tops in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:11.19.

The Hawks host Shepaug Valley Friday at 4 pm, visit Holy Cross next Friday, February 8, and close of the regular season with a home meet against Weston on February 12 at 7 pm. as they prepare for postseason.

“We’d like to keep it at one loss,” Fragoso said.

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