Greenwich boys swim team looking to get back to the top

With all but two swimmers back from last year, and more motivated than in recent memory, the Greenwich High School boys swimming and diving team is looking to once again win the triple crown during the postseason.

“We are all expecting this team to be a really strong team this year,” longtime GHS head coach Terry Lowe said. “We didn’t lose any points from FCIACs or the two state tournaments to graduation. Everybody is coming back and there were a lot of kids that have turned towards swimming being their No. 1 sport. They are coming in with a serious attitude on what they’re doing.”

After blowing by the competition during the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship last year, winning by nearly 100 points, a confident Big Red team took to the pool at the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference class LL meet at Wesleyan University. However, that’s where the story took a much different turn, as Fairfield Prep ended Greenwich’s run of 19 consecutive championships, beating Big Red 693.5-629.5. At Opens, Greenwich finished third overall, behind the Jesuits and Brookfield High School.

“We didn’t lose anybody from last year and that gives us some key state experience,” GHS senior co-captain Luca Fikre said. “Everyone knows more about Fairfield Prep, so we’re coming into this season with a lot more knowledge on what it takes to be successful. It gives us a better chance of winning.”

This year, Big Red has some unfinished business to take care of. While it’s a goal for Big Red to reclaim the top spot, Lowe knows it’s not going to be easy.

“We know that Fairfield Prep is also returning virtually everybody,” Lowe said. “We know right away that we are going to have to stretch ourselves if we’re going to have a chance to beat Prep.”

Leading the team this year will be the duo of Fikre and junior Alex Lewis.

Last year, Lewis broke the school record and won the class LL championship in the 100-yard backstroke, netting a time of 51.69 seconds. He was also third in the 100-yard freestyle (47.44).

“It’s a huge honor to be a leader on this year, especially as a junior,” Lewis said. “I have a great group of guys that are under me and they are all very fast and all very motivated, so it’s a lot of fun being a captain here. I worked a lot harder in the fall and offseason to get ready for this season. My goal is to also help everybody else get better, not just myself.”

Fikre is the other captain. Last year Fikre came on strong and now has stepped it up a notch and become one of Greenwich’s top butterfly swimmers. At the class LL meet, Fikre finished 11th overall and took home a time under 55 seconds (54.65).

“It’s a great feeling to be a leader on this team,” Fikre said. “We have a lot of strength with our upperclassmen as well as underclassmen, but I have a big responsibility and we’re going to try and take states this year. Our No. 1 goal will be reclaiming states. We’re going to be gunning for that the whole year.”

For Lowe, having the duo of Fikre and Lewis as captains was an easy choice.

“Alex has been a super leader in the water and sets a high standard every single day for what he does,” Lowe said. “He’s probably one of the most eloquent swimmers that we have. He has great strokes and great technique and he has a great work ethic to go along with that. Luca is our senior presence on the team. Although he’s a quiet leader, he makes sure that everybody stays on track and works hard in practice.”

In addition to Lewis in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events, David Dillinger, one of the premier distance swimmers in the state, will be back in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events. Last year Dillinger finished with the gold in the 200-yard freestyle at class LL’s with a time of 1:44.05 and missed out winning the 500-free by two-tenths of a second (4:41.32).

“I’m sure that Dillinger will be hungry and zeroing in on a championship,” Lowe said. “I’m sure he’ll also be looking on our record board and trying to break those this year as well.”

Matt Fraser will be returning for his senior year. Last year he was competing in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events, but this time around, Lowe believes Fraser will be solid in the 100- and 200-yard freestyle as his top events.

His brother, Julian Fraser, a junior, will be back as one of the team’s top butterfly and sprint freestyle swimmers, while sophomore Edward Moss showed his strength last year as a freshman in the sprinting events. This year, Lowe is hoping Moss will add the 100-freestyle to his repertoire.

Stepping up for Greenwich last year was Taylor Moore, and this time around the junior will be used as one of the team’s primary individual medley swimmers.

Junior Andrew Stotesberry and sophomore Iain Edmundson will be back and will be used anywhere from the individual medley to the butterfly to the breaststroke. Off an amazing water polo season, senior Will Klingner will has been making strides and will be competing in the breaststroke, individual medley or butterfly events.

Senior Kevin Parker, who had a couple of breakthrough swims at the end of the season last year, according to Lowe, will be a stalwart on the backstroke. Another senior, Will Bonebrake, who is relatively new to the sport, has made steady progress and was a class LL finalist in the 100-yard backstroke.

Junior Tyler Triscari gives Big Red a plethora of options in the freestyle, butterfly and backstroke.

“We are in an amazing position right now, where we have pretty reliable leaders and pretty solid depth behind them in every event,” Lowe said. “We have a lot of guys that we are expecting a little more out of this year. I want a lot of these guys to move up a little bit because we know the competition will be tough.”

When it comes to diving, the Cardinals will be making noise throughout the season. Junior Jeff Aselin, who started diving as a freshman, is a talented state open diver for Big Red and finished sixth during class LL finals (344.95) and 13th at Opens (337.65). He’s joined by junior Riccardo Marcangeli, who moved over to diving last year from the swimming side of the team and has already shown Lowe the progress that should make him a point grabber for the team.

“It’s nice now because when we go from one dual meet to another, we don’t have to swim the same lineup all the time,” Lowe said. “We could really focus on the strengths when it comes to the real big dual meets.”

“Last year we only had one senior, so we are the same team this year, except we are better,” Lewis said. “We’ve got some new freshmen and sophomores that are good. Our sights are always high. We want to win close to everything. I am positive that we can do that, but it’s going to take hard work and practice.”

One of the goals for Greenwich this year is to get its top swimmers, Lewis and Dillinger, All-American status. Another goal is to get everybody to step it up a notch.

“We want everybody to move up three, four or six places in the state open,” Lowe said. “For the guys that just missed the state open meet, we want them to get there so we have the chance to knock off a championship team like Fairfield Prep.”

While winning the state open championship is a goal for Big Red, winning the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference is also a top priority.

“We know that Wilton will be really good and a top contender, and that Ridgefield is still an unknown but has been steady around the top of the league for a few years,” Lowe said. “Staples has a lot of depth returning, but teams like Darien and New Canaan, the usual contenders, don’t seem to be as strong as they have been in the past.”

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