Greenwich High swim, dive team ready to make a huge statement

Junior Thomas Dillinger takes to the water in the 500-yard freestyle event during last year's FCIAC championship meet. — Dave Stewart photo

Junior Thomas Dillinger takes to the water in the 500-yard freestyle event during last year’s FCIAC championship meet. — Dave Stewart photo

With loads of top-level talent and a slew of younger standout athletes, the Greenwich High School boys swimming and diving team doesn’t just plan on going for the postseason “triple crown.”

Not only are they looking to win the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference and Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference class LL and state open championships, but to win in convincing fashion.

“This is probably as complete of a team to start the season off with as anything we’ve ever had,” legendary Greenwich head coach Terry Lowe said. “We have some truly outstanding swimmers that are ready to go. We have more solid young swimmers than we’ve seen in a class in a little while. We are in great shape and the leadership from the top swimmers is amazing. A lot of them were at a meet last weekend and if I have my count right, if this was a school meet, we would have broken four or five school records. Some of those records by a good amount.”

After falling to Fairfield Prep in both the class LL and Opens in 2012, last season the Cardinals used a lot of its talented youngsters to dominate the competition.

After cruising to the FCIAC championship, Big Red went into the class LL meet and won division with 922 points. The next closest was Fairfield Prep, who took second with 725 points.

A few days later, Greenwich traveled to Yale University and took home the state open championship, once again upending Fairfield Prep and taking 609.5 points. The Jesuits finished second with 426.5 points. In distant third was Pomperaug with 298 points.

This season, with nearly its entire roster back from last year, Lowe has high expectations from his group of Cardinals.

“It’s easy to say that this team wants to win all three championships,” Lowe said. “But I think they want to do it in very dominating fashion to show that they are dramatically better than the other teams in the state and any team that we have had here at Greenwich. If everybody stays healthy, this is going to be a very exciting year.”

Senior captains Alex Lewis, Julian Fraser and Taylor Moore will lead this year’s team.

Fraser is the lone dual swimmer for Lowe, as he competed in the highly successful fall water polo season that just completed. Last season, Fraser came on very strong in the butterfly events, finishing ninth in the state open event (53.05 seconds) and was on the 200-yard freestyle relay team that took second place and the 200-yard medley relay team that won Opens (1:34.76).

Senior captain Taylor Moore competes in the 100-yard freestyle during last year's FCIAC championship event for Greenwich High. — Dave Stewart photo

Senior captain Taylor Moore competes in the 100-yard freestyle during last year’s FCIAC championship event for Greenwich High. — Dave Stewart photo

Lewis joined Fraser winning gold in the 200-yard medley relay last year at Opens, but also finished second in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 51.25 and won the 100-yard backstroke with a state open record time of 50.17. In fact a few days earlier, Lewis broke the state record, posting a class LL winning time of 49.88.

Moore will add some quality depth to Greenwich, as he plans on swimming in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard individual medley.

“Julian came on very strong for us last year in the butterfly and the sprint freestyle,” Lowe said. “We are going to need that from him again this year. Alex has developed into one of the most dominant and complete swimmers that we have ever had. The swims he had during this past weekend would have broken records. Taylor has really dedicated himself to become a much stronger swimmer. He has grown a lot and I expect him to have a tremendous season.”

Another winner for Greenwich last year in the state open was Edward Moss, who took first in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.21. He also finished sixth in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 47.67. Lowe believes that his junior will excel in the same events again this season and will also be a part of two of the three relays.

Thomas Dillinger, a junior this season, was dominating last year. At the State Opens, Dillinger took the silver in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:41.68. Not to be outdone by his earlier performance, Dillinger competed in the 500-yard freestyle and grabbed third overall with a time of 4:37.94. In addition to those events, as well as competing in two of the relays, Lowe might see if Dillinger can compete in the individual medley event.

“Thomas can basically do anything and he can do it all really well,” Lowe said. “A guy like Thomas, who is already ahead of the school record in the 100-breaststroke, might not be used in that event at the state level. To have that kind of versatility on a team is incredible.”

Senior Andrew Stotesbery, who finished fifth in the class LL 200-yard individual medley and 11th in the 100-yard breaststroke, will also be looking to compete in the backstroke and butterfly events.

In addition, junior Watt Semenuk joined the Cardinals this season and already Lowe has high expectations for him in the butterfly and sprint freestyle events.

Last year as a junior, Tyler Triscari was mere inches away from qualifying for the state open championship, placing ninth in the 100-yard backstroke (56.23) during the class LL meet. Lowe said that he wants Triscari to break through his senior year and qualify for the state open finals.

Wurst, who finished the class LL meet sixth in the 200-yard freestyle (1:46.69) and 10th in the 500-yard freestyle last season, will be competing in those events again during his senior season

While Lewis got plenty of the attention for the 100-yard backstroke last season, sophomore John Montesi wasn’t far behind, placing second in the class LL meet and also on a state record pace with a time of 51.72. He also took fourth in the 100-yard butterfly during the class LL meet with a time of 51.81. In addition to those two events, Lowe would like to have Montesi swim some relay events and the 200-yard freestyle.

Rounding out the field is senior Tim Agro and junior Iain Edmundson and Lowe expects both to have a breakout season. Last year, Edmundson won the class LL 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 58.48 and placed fourth in the 200-yard individual medley (1:55.22). Agro finished sixth in the class LL 100-yard breaststroke (1:00.71) and took

When it comes to diving, Big Red will be dominating yet again as senior Jeff Aselin and junior Andrew Bologna will be back. Last season, the duo finished in the top 10 in both the class LL and Open championships. At LLs, Bologna took third with 453.80 points. Not far away from Aselin, who finished fourth with 443.60 points. During Opens, he was Aselin who took the bronze with 439.10 points and Bologna finished sixth with 420.60 points.

“We have two divers that finished top six at Opens, a senior who is very solid and a freshman, who gives us four quality divers to start the season off,” Lowe said. “I couldn’t be more excited for the divers because they are hopefully going to score better than last year and they are going to give us some major points.”

While the depth and talent are a tremendous strength for Big Red, Lowe still believes that there is work to be done in order for Greenwich to be successful.

“Whether it’s my strongest swimmers or younger swimmers, they all need to desperately improve our underwater work off of starts and turns. We want to extend it for speed and distance. We also want to focus a lot of our attention on starts and turns. The miracle of Edward Moss winning state opens was that he was almost a yard behind off the start and swam it out. If we could take that and gain that yard out, records will be available.”

While the competition Big Red faces this season will be tough, as they compete in the dual meet against Fairfield Prep and Phillips Exeter Academy, Lowe is looking forward to the internal competitions that take place during every practice.

For example, last season at the class LL finals, Montesi would have come close to breaking the class LL record in the 100-yard backstroke, however Lewis was just a little quicker. This season both are feeding off each other to improve their times.

“There’s a lot of competition on the team where it actually makes the practices fun and the kids work harder,” Lowe said. “One of the biggest challenges for me throughout the year will be to give so many terrific swimmers a chance to swim relays. If there’s one thing that crushes me when you go to the state championships, it’s you’re only allowed to swim one relay. When you have so many good swimmers that your second relay team could place in the top three in state events, that breaks my heart not to be able to swim them.”

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