By Eliot Schickler

eschickler@bcnnew.com

Turn back the clock to the winter of 2001.

It was the beginning of President George W. Bush's first term, the WNBA's Connecticut Sun were known as the Orlando Miracle, the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats and NFL's Houston Texans haven't come into existence yet and neither has the DVD.

The year, 2001, was the last time the Staples boys swimming team defeated New Canaan -- until Wednesday. Staples broke its 10-year losing streak to last year's Class L runnerup and 2010 Class L champion with a 98-88 victory at New Canaan.

"This is one of the most exciting meets I've witnessed," Wreckers coach Jeff Schare said. "The guys on the team said it was the most exciting meet they have witnessed. It's one of the meets we focused on and were ready to go. We put in a solid lineup and had more depth than them. We were able to outpoint them in events."

Although Staples didn't win the 200-yard medley relay, it took second and third to keep it close. Senior Matt Wisher, senior captain Joss Abel, freshman Danny Williams, and junior Matt Wetmore took second with a time of 1:49.76, and freshman Max Wimer, sophomore Chris Mombello, junior Marcus Russi, senior captain David Katter took third (1:52.59).

Junior Nathaniel Boley boosted the Wreckers by winning the 200-yard freestyle (1:49.76), edging Rams senior Ian Robert (1:50.03).

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"I knew going into the meet that it would be close and we'd have to squeeze out points wherever we could," Boley said. "I knew the New Canaan swimmer I raced against and knew it would be a tough race. I'm lucky to pull it out."

Sophomores Jonathan Blansfield (1:52.59) and Justin Krakoff (1:58.23) took third and fifth in the 200-free.

Williams (2:09.56) and Abel (2:11.06) were two-three in the 200-yard individual medley to mitigate a Ram victory and keep Staples in the lead. Although the Wreckers didn't take first in the 50-yard freestyle, they still outscored New Canaan because Bacon (24.2), Katter (24.5) and Wetmore (25.0) placed two-three-four.

The Rams dominated diving to take a 40-38 lead. Juniors Tanner Blank and Andrew Cohen were three-four in diving for Staples. New Canaan increased its lead in the 100-yard butterfly, 9-7. Wisher (59.34), Russi (1:00.40) and Wetmore (1:02.08) were two-four-five in the 100-fly. In the 100-yard freestyle, the Rams took first again but their lead remained at four because Boley (50.52), Bacon (52.21) and Mombello were two-three-five.

Blansfield showed character in a comeback win in the 500-yard freestyle (4:56.35). He trailed New Canaan senior John Santoro for most of the race and trailed by a half a body length with 100 yards remaining. In the end, the Wrecker sophomore pulled it out.

"I was feeling down because he was a body length ahead of me, but when I looked up after I breathed, I saw my teammates cheer for me and it definitely pushed me," Blansfield said. "It gave me a lot of motivation."

Williams (5:08.12) and Krakoff (5:26.61) were four-five in the 500-free.

The Rams won the 200-yard freestyle relay but Staples took second and third. Boley, Wetmore, Bacon and Krakoff took second (1:35.07) while Russi, sophomore Tyler Crowder, Katter and Blansfield took third (1:39.64) in the 200-free relay.

In the 100-yard backstroke, the tide turned with Wisher winning it. Wimer (1:03.71) and sophomore Michael Deluca (1:04.04) were three-four in the 100-back and the Wreckers led, 79-77. New Canaan took first in the 100-yard breaststroke but Staples increased its lead to 88-84 because Abel (1:06.71), Mombello (1:07.87) and freshman North Woods (1:09.87) were two-three-four.

In order to win the meet, the Wreckers needed to take second and third in the 400-yard freestyle relay. They clinched the meet with Blansfield, Bacon, Williams and Boley winning the event (3:26.89).

"I knew the 400-free relay was the deal-breaker so I went out and tried to get the best start possible for my teammates," Blansfield said.

Rams senior ace Austin Wolff led off for the hosts and gave his team a slight edge. When Boley jumped in, the race was tied. In the end, he edged his counterpart and New Canaan's team (3:26.94) fell .05 short.

"They started with their top 100 swimmer," Boley said. "Jonathan, Kyle and Danny did well. I had a little energy left, saw we were neck and neck and gave it my all."

Krakoff, Russi, Abel and Wisher took third in the 400-free relay (3:40.15).

"The win was a huge confidence booster for the team and we felt we could do it," Schare said.