Coming off its biggest win to date this season, the Greenwich High boys swim team was riding high heading into Wednesday's meet against Staples.
In turn, the Cardinals -- who beat defending State Open champion Fairfield Prep 96.5-89-5 last Saturday -- didn't disappoint when hosting the Wreckers. The Cardinals got off to a strong start and cruised to a 122-63 victory, moving them to 10-0 on the year.
Greenwich coach Terry Lowe said it was unreasonable to expect his team to perform with the same focus and energy against Staples that it displayed against Prep, but he was pleased, nonetheless.
"We swam a near perfect meet on Saturday and to ask these guys to recreate that mindset and intensity in a match we're favored to win is almost impossible," Lowe said. "Realistically we won't have that type of energy until states, but I am proud of how well the team performed today. We had a lot of guys swimming out of position and really showed our depth and versatility."
The Cardinals got off to a solid start in the 200-yard medley relay as the team of Alex Lewis, Iain Edmundson, Julian Fraser, and Matt Fraser took first place with a time of 1:42.20. That was followed by back-to-back first place finishes for the Cardinals in the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley by Thomas Dillinger (1:44.86) and Andrew Stotesbery (2:02.71), respectively.
"Even though this meet didn't have the same atmosphere that the Prep meet did, we still knew we needed to get this win," Stotesbery said. "Today we had guys step into positions they are not used to swimming in, and excel in those spots. That depth is a huge strength that we have and will definitely work to our advantage in the FCIAC championships and the state tournament."
After taking the first three events of the afternoon, the Cardinals kept on rolling as Ed Moss (22.40) finished first in the 50 freestyle. Jeff Aselin (389.92) took top billing in diving and Julian Fraser (56.57) posted the fastest 100 butterfly time of the day.
The Cardinals, in fact, swept the first six events before Jonathan Blansfield gave Staples its first top time in the 100 freestyle (50.67).
Staples coach Frisk Driscoll was encouraged that his team kept battling against such a strong opponent after falling behind early.
"We came into this meet knowing that this is where the championships are going to be held, and with the understanding that we would be competing against a championship-caliber team in Greenwich," Driscoll said. "I always say that there is a big difference between swimming fast and truly racing. Today, whether it was against Greenwich or against one another, we really raced."
The home team quickly got back on the winning track, notching victories in the 200 freestyle relay behind the efforts of Julian Fraser, Matt Fraser, Dillinger, and Moss, which finished first in 1:34.50. Dillinger also went on to post the top 100 backstroke time of 59.27 before the team of Julian Fraser, Stotesbery, Edmundson, and Lewis wrapped up a top finish (3:27.62) in the 400 freestyle relay.
The Wreckers got solid performances from Daniel Williams, who had the best 500 freestyle time of 4:58.75, while Ethan Hunter posted an impressive showing of 1:03.74 for first in the 100 breaststroke.
While the final score wasn't in Staples' favor, Driscoll believes his team is on the right path. The Wreckers fell to 4-2 overall.
"As the season wears on and we get closer to the championship meets, we need to clean up all the little details of our team from a mechanics point of view, as well as physically," Driscoll said. "It's always a coach's hope to have their team performing at its best in the biggest meet of the season, and I think we'll get there."
As far as the Greenwich boys are concerned, this season is all about one title.
"We have depth, talent and young swimmers who are getting better every meet," Stotesbery said. "To be honest, anything short of the state title would be a disappointment to us all."
Tom Forde is a freelance writer
Greenwich 122, Staples 63 (at Greenwich): 200-yard medley relay -- Greenwich 1:42.20; 200 freestyle -- Thomas Dillinger (G) 1:44.86; 200 individual medley -- Andrew Stotesbery (G) 2:02.71; 50 freestyle -- Ed Moss (G) 22.40; Diving -- Jeff Aselin (G) 389.92; 100 butterfly -- Julian Fraser (G) 56.57; 100 freestyle -- Jonathan Blansfield (S) 50.67; 500 freestyle -- Daniel Williams (S) 4:58.75; 200 freestyle relay -- Greenwich 1:34.50; 100 backstroke -- Dillinger (G) 59.27; 100 breaststroke -- Ethan Hunter (S) 1:03.74; 400 freestyle relay -- Greenwich 3:27.62. Records: S -- 4-2; G -- 10-0.