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Staples boys swimming edges Darien to snap losing skid

Updated 5:22 pm, Thursday, February 14, 2013
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With three straight losses entering Wednesday, Staples High's boys swim and dive team got just the start it was looking for against Darien.

The Wreckers were victorious in the first four events and held on to defeat the Blue Wave 94-92 for their first win in 33 days.

"We hadn't felt that win in a while. It's been over a month," Staples coach Frisk Driscoll said. "They haven't had that feeling of satisfaction you get with a win."

Staples opened strong as Daniel Williams, Chris Mombello, Michael DeLuca and North Woods clocked in at 1:57.40 to take first in the 200 medley relay.

Woods also won the 200 individual medley (2:21.44), while Williams was victorious in the 100 butterfly (1:02.81). DeLuca gave the Wreckers a commanding 40-22 lead after four events by capturing first in the 50 freestyle (26.02).

Junior Jonathan Blansfield gave Staples a lift with a win in the 200 freestyle (1:58.73) and set both school and pool records with a winning time of 4:07.27 in the 400 free.

"He's in a real groove right now. The kid wants it," Driscoll said of Blansfield. "He's always had the physical ability and this year, he's become so much mentally tougher that there's very few people in this state that can keep up with him."

For Darien, James Baker won the 100 freestyle in 55.34 and was also part of victories in the 200 free and 400 free relays.

"He did an awesome job," Darien coach Dennis Flores said. "He's our captain. He stepped it up today."

Staples all but wrapped up the meet with one event to go by placing first and second in the 100 breaststroke. Ethan Hunter won in 1:11.63 and was followed by Mombello in 1:13.12. The win gave the Wreckers a 90-82 lead and put them in position to record their first dual-meet win since Jan. 11 at Wilton with a finish in the 400 free relay.

Driscoll said that the breaststroke has been a strength for Staples this season and mentioned that Hunter is a big reason why.

"That's his baby, if you will," Driscoll said. "We've definitely moved it around because we're so deep in (the breaststroke). North has swum in it a couple times, Mombello has swum in it a couple times, Michael DeLuca has swum in it a couple times, but Ethan, when we need a go-to-guy in the 100 breaststroke, he's always the one that tends to step up."

Staples moved to 5-3 and will close the regular season on Friday at Trumbull at Hillside Middle School at 4 p.m. Darien fell to 4-5 overall.

"It was really rewarding," Blansfield said of Staples' win.

Christian Weeks won the 100 backstroke for Darien in 1:03.30, while Lee Christiansen placed first in diving.

Flores, whose team closes out the regular season on Thursday at Norwalk-Brien McMahon at 3:15 p.m., was particularly pleased with the relay results. The Blue Wave's 400 free relay of Will Smelser, Weeks, Baker and Nicolai Ostberg clocked in first at 3:30.75. Owen Brannigan, Dylan Gilhooly, Ostberg and Baker made up the winning 200 free relay (1:44.41).

"It was one of our goals, just go out there and win some relays," Flores said. "We've had a tough time throughout the season trying to win one. We finally finished off big by winning two of them."

dbonjour@scni.com; 203-255-4561 ext. 114; twitter.com/DougBonjour

Staples 94, Darien 92 (at Staples): Relays: 200 medley relay: Staples (Daniel Williams, Chris Mombello, Michael DeLuca, North Woods) 1:57.40; 200 free relay: Darien (Owen Brannigan, Dylan Gilhooly, Nicolai Ostberg, James Baker) 1:44.41; 400 free relay: Darien (Will Smelser, Christian Weeks, Baker, Ostberg) 3:30.75; Individual events: 200 freestyle: Jonathan Blansfield (S) 1:58.73; 200 individual medley: Woods (S) 2:21.44; 50 freestyle: DeLuca (S) 26.02; 100 butterfly: Williams (S) 1:02.81; 100 freestyle: Baker (D) 55.34; 400 freestyle: Blansfield (S) 4:07.27; 100 backstroke: Weeks (D) 1:03.30; 100 breaststroke: Ethan Hunter (S) 1:11.63; Diving: Lee Christiansen (D). Records: Darien 4-5; Staples 5-3.

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