Stamford-Westhill deals Staples boys swimming first defeat
Updated 11:36 am, Thursday, January 24, 2013
Staples High boys swim coach Frisk Driscoll sensed that his team didn't have the same edge since its win over Wilton on Jan. 11, which pushed the Wreckers to 4-0.
Whatever mentality Staples might have had heading into Wednesday afternoon's meet against Stamford-Westhill, the Wreckers sure didn't resemble the club of the previous month.
Stamford opened by winning the 200 medley relay and proceeded to finish first in nine of the next 11 events, en route to posting a 95-90 win at Staples.
"We definitely were a shell of ourselves and what we're capable of being," Driscoll said.
Senior Justo Karell Jr. won two individual events for Stamford, taking the 50 freestyle in 26.50 and the 100 free in 57.07. He also teamed with Oscar Ike, Mike Hopkins and Nikita Zemlevskiy to win the 200 medley relay (1:56.91), and Kris Bittel, Zemlevskiy and Hopkins to take the 200 free relay (1:45.06).
Stamford took a 51-42 lead after the fifth event -- a victory by Ike in the 100 fly (1:03.07) -- and felt its confidence increase as the meet progressed.
"A lot of really close races we weren't expecting to win, we won," Karell Jr. said. "That just gave us a lot of hope coming into the next race. And then winning that one gave us even more hope. The hope just kept adding up."
After Ike placed first in the 100 backstroke in 1:03.44 to give Stamford a 75-66 advantage, Hopkins produced a victory in the 100 breaststoke in 1:10.79 to build the momentum.
"We had a great day," said Stamford coach Rick Lewis, whose team improved to 3-2 overall. "I thought coming in that it could be a good meet. I thought they were ahead of us and I thought we'd have to perform really well to (finish ahead). But we had a nice relaxed day."
The co-op team also took first in diving, as Sean Burston posted a score of 307.50.
"We kind of figured that Hopkins and Ike could win all their events, and we knew Sean could win the diving," Lewis said. "Beyond that, we were just hoping people would step up in close events, and they did. They did a great job today."
Staples' lone individual victory came in the 200 free, as Sebastian Ortega clocked in at 2:06.77. The Wreckers' 400 free relay team of Jackson Daines, Daniel Williams, Chris Mombello and Jonathan Blansfield closed out the meet by finishing first in 4:00.81.
Driscoll cited a number of reasons for Staples' struggles, noting that the team -- 12 days removed from its last meet -- had cut down on practice time recently to study for midterm exams. However, he noted that he also didn't see the same fiery attitude from his swimmers over that time.
"A lot of kids took practices off last week. They had to study, which is fine. We're student-athletes, so academics come first," Driscoll said. "But even knowing that, practices were thin, kind of lackluster."
The Wreckers also competed shorthanded. According to Driscoll, senior Nathaniel Boley (100 free and 100 back FCIAC champion as a junior) and junior Ian Rainey (transfer from Virginia) have opted to swim the rest of this season with their club team, the Wilton YMCA Wahoos, to prepare for the YMCA Nationals.
"We've swam meets without them in the past and have been fine," Driscoll said. "But just to know that they're not even part of the team, that's still really tough."
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Stamford-Westhill 95, Staples 90 (at Staples): Relays: 200 medley relay: Westhill (Oscar Ike, Mike Hopkins, Justo Karell Jr., Nikita Zemlevskiy) 1:56.91; 200 freestyle relay: Westhill (Karell Jr., Kris Bittel, Zemlevskiy, Hopkins) 1:45.06; 400 freestyle relay: Staples (Jackson Daines, Daniel Williams, Chris Mombello, Jonathan Blansfield) 4:00.81. Individual events: 200 freestyle: Sebastian Ortega (S) 2:06.77; 200 individual medley: Hopkins (S-W) 2:16.86; 50 freestyle: Karell Jr. (S-W) 26.50; 100 butterfly: Ike (S-W) 1:03.07; 100 freestyle: Karell Jr. (S-W) 57.07; 400 freestyle: Bittel (S-W) 4:22.12; 100 backstroke: Ike (S-W) 1:03.44; 100 breaststroke: Hopkins (S-W) 1:10.79; Diving: Sean Burston (S-W) 307.50. Records: Stamford-Westhill 3-2; Staples 4-1.