Total domination as Big Red claims CIAC class LL swimming/diving crown

Greenwich High’s Julian Fraser competes in the 100-yard butterfly event during Tuesday night’s CIAC class LL championship meet at Wesleyan. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Greenwich High’s Julian Fraser competes in the 100-yard butterfly event during Tuesday night’s CIAC class LL championship meet at Wesleyan. — Paul Silverfarb photo

The Greenwich High School boys swim team made a statement in the opening event of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference class LL finals and never looked back, putting rivals Fairfield Prep in the rear-view mirror early and coming away with the class LL division championship.

“I am really proud of this team,” Matthew Fraser said. “Last year we got second here to Fairfield Prep and it meant a lot to us to come back here and win it this year by so much. It was a great day and we all had amazing swims. That was one of the more exhilarating performances that I have ever seen. That was really terrific.”

Big Red ran away with the class LL meet, finishing with 922 points. Fairfield Prep, Greenwich’s main rival, finished a distant second with 725 points. The next closest team was Staples, who took third with 387 points. Amity Regional netted fourth with 377.5 points and Glastonbury rounded out the top five with 355 points.

This was Greenwich’s 20th class LL championship in the past 21 years, an accomplishment that even GHS head coach Terry Lowe is impressed with.

“It was an impressive meet,” Lowe said. “If they could keep it together and pull off a similar performance in the state open, then I think this team could go down as the best team we’ve ever had here.”

In their recent history, Greenwich has been winning countless championships with a few stellar swims and a lot of depth in the pool. This year was a little different. While Big Red still had the depth that gave the team big points throughout the class LL meet, they were also finding themselves on the top of the podium quite a bit.

In fact, all three relay teams won gold and four individual events had a Cardinal grabbing top honors.

The Greenwich 200-yard medley relay team, comprised of junior Alex Lewis, sophomore Iain Edmundson, junior Julian Fraser and sophomore Edward Moss, just started the CIAC class LL meet and did it in grand fashion. Not only did they net a first-place time of 1:34.06, but they broke the old state record of 1:34.09 set by Greenwich High in 2006. Fairfield Prep finished second with a time of 1:34.76.

“We wanted that race,” Lowe said. “I wasn’t thinking that it would take a state record to win it, but it was great to see. You have to also hand it to Prep because that’s a great relay team that they have as well. We can both look at each other and do it again next year, as all eight swimmers will be back. It’s going to be awesome.”

And from there, the records kept falling for the Cardinals. Junior Alex Lewis just smashed the 100-yard backstroke state record, taking first place overall with a time of 49.88. Teammate John Montesi, a freshman, finished second with a time of 51.72 and senior Kevin Parker netted fifth with a time of 53.87.

Big Red added another first-place finish to its repertoire and extended its lead over Fairfield Prep during the 100-yard butterfly event, courtesy of Lewis. He ended up tops in the event with a time of 50.46 seconds. Not to be outdone was junior Julian Fraser, who finished third overall with a time of 51.48. Taking fourth was freshman John Montesi (51.86) and rounding out the event for Greenwich was senior Luca Fikre, who touched the wall seventh with a time of 53.55.

“I am a very happy camper,” Lewis said. “I was blown away by the way I swam, but by the way the entire team swam. I have never seen, and never heard of, a high school team performing as well as we did today. The first relay definitely got the ball rolling and we kept pushing it forward. I was sort of unhappy with the 100-fly, but I came back in the 100-back and as soon as I touched the wall and looked at the clock, I was so happy with it. It made it that much better than Jack was right behind me.”

Netting an CIAC class LL record, the four athletes that made up the Greenwich 200-yard freestyle relay team (Tim Hardman, Julian Fraser, Moss and Dillinger) took first overall with a time of 1:25.36, beating Fairfield Prep’s 2009 time of 1:26.05. Prep also broke their old record and took second in this year’s event with a time of 1:25.41.

One of the best races of the day took place in the 50-yard freestyle, the fastest event of the day. Greenwich’s Moss and Fairfield Prep’s Bjorn Davis were battling for top spot throughout the event. In the end, it was both athletes finishing with the exact same time of 20.98 seconds for the first-place tie. Both athletes also shaved nearly a second off their preliminary time.

“To have a sophomore in Moss tie a great swimmer like Davis was just great to see,” Lowe said. “They are two great kids and it was wonderful to see them on the podium sharing a space and enjoying that they both had such a great race. I couldn’t stop smiling.”

Also competing in the 50-free were seniors Kevin Parker and Hardman and junior Julian Fraser. Yet again it was a Jesuit and Cardinal that tied in the same event, as Parker and Prep’s Bryce Keblish took fourth overall with a time of 21.95. Fraser finished sixth overall with a time of 22.00 and Hardman took eighth overall with a time of 22.11.

Keeping the good times rolling for Greenwich in the 100-yard breaststroke event was Edmundson, who grabbed the gold with a time of 58.48. Junior Tim Argo finished sixth for Greenwich with a time of 1:00.71.

“We really had the leadership up front this year and the depth to go along with it,” Lowe said. “We were so consistent coming through with best times. I don’t ever remember a LL meet that was this fast in general. I think it’s great for any team to win all three relays. Two of them were very tough, but I felt very secure about the 400-free relay. The other two were a toss-up and I thought we showed a tough quality to win those.”

Finishing the evening with an exclamation point, the foursome of Hardman, Matthew Fraser, Lewis and Dillinger had an easy time in the 400-yard freestyle relay event, touching the wall first with a time of 3:09.84. Big Red was nearly two seconds faster than Fairfield Prep, who netted a time of 3:11.29.

Greenwich had three more finishers take top eight in the 100-yard freestyle. Moss added another medal to his collection and finished with the silver and time of 47.11. Not far behind was senior Tim Hardman, who took fourth with a time of 47.67 and junior Taylor Moore finished seventh and posted a time of 49.15.

A few races earlier, the GHS duo of Andrew Stotesbery, a junior, and Edmundson competed in the 200-yard individual medley event. Edmundson touched the wall fourth overall with a time of 1:55.22, while Stotesbery finished fifth with a time of 1:56.37.

Dillinger took part in the 200-yard freestyle and finished the race neck-in-neck with Fairfield Prep’s Nicholas Wargo. However Wargo touched the wall first with a time of 1:42.47. Dillinger was second with a time of 1:42.51.

Even before the class LL swimming meet got underway, Greenwich got an added boost from its divers during the CIAC class LL diving finals. Although Prep’s Jake Bowtell took second with 510.00 points, Greenwich finished third and fourth overall.

Sophomore Andrew Bologna netted the bronze with 453.80 points and junior Jeff Aselin grabbed fourth with 443.60 points. Not to be outdone was junior Riccardo Marcangeli, who finished 12th overall with 297.00 points.

“I was very happy coming out with a third and fourth place finish,” Lowe said. “Jeff and Andrew did a great job and I was particularly happy with their point totals. If they could hold onto those point totals on Saturday, then I think that we would be looking pretty good.”

Greenwich will be looking to capture the triple crown of swimming on Saturday at noon when they travel to Yale University for competition in the CIAC open championship.

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