Greenwich boys swim, dive team dominates CIAC class LL finals

Greenwich High's Thomas Dillinger competes in the 200-yard individual medley during Wednesday afternoon's CIAC class LL finals at Wesleyan University. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Greenwich High’s Thomas Dillinger competes in the 200-yard individual medley during Wednesday afternoon’s CIAC class LL finals at Wesleyan University. — Paul Silverfarb photo

The Greenwich High School boys swimming and diving team started the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference class LL championship meet in jaw-dropping fashion and never let up on the gas.

The Cardinals dominated the event, held at the Wesleyan University pool, and came away with the CIAC class LL championship, netting 913 points.

“Wow,” Greenwich High School head coach Terry Lowe said. “We won all three relay events in record time and (Alex) Lewis sets the record in the 100-free and 100-back. I think second was the worst we did in any event today. I couldn’t be happier with how we competed today. Everybody did really well and the times were incredible. To say the least, it was a very satisfying meet.”

In second place was Fairfield Prep, Greenwich’s main rival, as the Jesuits grabbed silver with 385 points. In third was Glastonbury, as they took the bronze with 385 points. Grabbing the fourth spot was Staples, as they netted 369 points. Rounding out the top five was Manchester with 256 points.

“I’ve said this from the beginning of the year that this team has the potential to be the greatest team that we have ever had,” Lowe said. “We have that real front line and depth to go along with it, to really make things happen. I feel a little bit for Prep because this was one of their best teams and they set school records.”

For GHS senior Alex Lewis, the victory this season was especially sweet. He was a key contributor during his sophomore year for Greenwich, however it was Fairfield Prep that won the class LL championship with 693.5 points. Big Red took second with 629.5 points.

“My sophomore year was the first time that we lost in almost a decade,” Lewis said. “That wasn’t fun for me. I did my best, but there’s nothing better than doing what we did today with the guys you love. We have a great team here. It’s a great rivalry and a lot of those guys on the team are my friends. It’s awesome. I don’t like losing to them, but it’s great competing against them.”

In the first event of the day, the 200-yard medley relay, the Cardinals were ready to make a statement. And that’s exactly what the Big Red foursome of sophomore John Montesi, junior Iain Edmundson, Lewis and fellow senior Julian Fraser did, as they smashed the old record state record, finishing the meet first with a time of 1:31.99. The next closest time was from Fairfield Prep, as they took second with a time of 1:37.06.

The previous state record was set in 2013 by the Cardinals with a time of 1:34.06.

“I would have been happy if we got a 1:33,” Lowe said. “We wanted to kick things off with a good relay. That’s the first time that we swam that competition all year. We played around with it. Moss was our anchor in that relay for years, but we knew we needed him in that last relay. We switched over Alex (Lewis) in the last event and I think both were great relays.”

Just like the first event started things off in grand fashion, Big Red ended the event in jaw-dropping style. Competing in the 400-yard freestyle relay, the group of Ed Moss, Montesi, Dillinger and Lewis were neck-in-neck with Fairfield Prep from start to finish. However, it was Big Red that captured gold, grabbing a stunning time of 3:02.60. Prep took second with a time of 3:03.21. The next closest was Manchester, as they took third with a time of 3:15.99.

Greenwich’s time in the 400-free relay was a state record by nearly three seconds, besting the Greenwich High 2004 team time of 3:05.23.

“I love beginning and ending on a relay,” Lewis said. “Swimming is considered an individual sport, so it’s a lot of fun when four guys go out and compete in the same event for the same team. The way we blew away the state record got everybody on the team and in the crowd involved. What made the last relay great was that Prep was with us the entire time. That makes us go so much faster knowing they are there the entire time.”

Big Red once again showed its dominance during the 100-yard freestyle. Lewis won the event, besting the state record time (44.77 seconds) and class LL time (45.54) and touched the wall with a top time of 44.57. Not far behind was junior Ed Moss, who finished second with a time of 46.11.

Taking fifth overall was sophomore Nicholas Hyden, grabbing a time of 47.55 and rounding out the Greenwich finishers was senior Taylor Moore, who finished seventh overall with a time of 48.88.

Lewis wasn’t finished. Competing in the 100-yard backstroke, the senior shattered the state record time of 49.88, as he finished first overall with a time of 48.59. Montesi took silver, posting an impressive time of 50.44.

“I felt really good in the pool today,” Lewis said. “I was really excited, but also really worried about over-thinking everything because it’s my last week of high school swimming. I was able to keep my composure up and to really well. Hopefully I can keep this up at college.”

While the 100-yard backstroke was quick for Montesi, he did one better in the 100-yard butterfly. The sophomore beat the field by nearly two seconds and grabbed a time of 50.33. He beat out Prep’s Bryce Keblish, who finished second (50.40). Finishing fifth on the day was Greenwich’s Fraser, as the senior netted a time of 52.15.

“We are delighted,” Lowe said. “We did just about everything we wanted to do today. There were a couple of wrinkles, but I think we can iron those out for Opens. ”

Competing in the 50-yard freestyle, GHS junior Ed Moss won the 50-yard freestyle championship, touching the wall first overall with a time of 20.78. Fairfield Prep’s Bjorn Davis took second with a time of 21.82. Both Moss and Davis tied for the championship last year.

In third place during the 50-yard freestyle was senior Julian Fraser, who grabbed a time of 21.82. Not to be outdone was Nicholas Hyden, as the GHS sophomore finished fourth with a time of 21.95.

Another outstanding Greenwich performance was from junior Thomas Dillinger. Competing in the longest event of the day, the 500-yard freestyle, Dillinger grabbed top honors with a time of 4:40.41. Not to be outdone was Wurst, who finished fifth overall with a time of 4:40.41.

In addition to his time in the 500-free, Dillinger finished the event with the silver, taking home a time of 1:49.68. Teammate and fellow junior Iain Edmundson grabbed third overall, posting a time of 1:52.93. Winning the event was Prep’s Bryce Keblish, who took nearly 10 seconds off his trials time and posted a championship time of 1:49.46

Not to be outdone was Wurst, who bettered his 500-yard freestyle performance by finishing the 200-yard freestyle event second overall, touching the wall with a time of 1:44.37. Fairfield Prep’s Nicholas Wargo took top honors with a time of 1:41.85.

Edundson contributed to Big Red’s victory in a big way down the stretch. In the last individual event of the day, the 100-yard breaststroke, Edmundson beat his trials time by nearly a second and finished first overall with a time of 58.36. Senior Andrew Stotesbery was also solid, as he took seventh for Big Red with a time of 1:00.18.

In the middle relay event of the day, the 200-yard freestyle relay, the GHS foursome of Hyden, Fraser, Moss and Dillinger took first place over, netting a time of 1:24.19. Fairfield Prep was a close second with a time of 1:24.24.

Helping the Cardinals get off the ground quickly, the Greenwich High divers paced the field by having one of its divers grab the class LL diving championship, two others grab the top five and another finish in the top 20.

“It was terrific for us,” Lowe said. “We knew it was going to between our three divers and Sam Hoyt from Glastonbury. I thought the divers were exceptional. I got there late, but from what I saw were outstanding dives from our guys. They were very consistent and climbed up the ranks. We are counting on our divers leading the way for us at Opens. When you get three guys in the top five, it’s a nice luxury for any coach.”

Going in to the championship dives, Greenwich had divers in second, third and sixth overall. However during the championship dives, GHS junior Andrew Bologna was able to overtake Glastonbury’s Samuel Hoyt for the top spot during the CIAC class LL diving finals.

“Andrew has been very consistent in his dives,” Lowe said. “He really took over the number one spot, with our top diver out with back injuries. He gained a lot of confidence as a diver and it’s to the point where I don’t worry about him any more. He’s going to do the job and get high scores.”

Entering the class LL finals with a preliminary dive of 279.60, Bologna was more than solid down the stretch in his final three dives. His finals score of 428.45 was the only score above 400 in the championship event.

“It was amazing,” Bologna said. “Going into the meet, I was really nervous. I knew (Justin Sodokoff), our freshman, is awesome and Jeff (Aselin) is great as well. I also knew Glastonbury had a really good diver. We all had great shots to win and it was awesome to come out on top.”

Going into the diving championship, Bologna was confident of his chances at claiming the top spot.

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