Boys swimming: Trumbull doing its best

Trumbull High’s 91-60 victory over Danbury High in an FCIAC boys swim meet on Wednesday was a reminder of how far the team has come in a short time, and the fact even more successful days may be ahead for both the Eagles and the Hatters.

The Eagles, boasting a 17-swimmer roster including St Joseph’s Jay Rajani, took on the 10-strong Danbury squad at Hillcrest Middle School.

Coach Bill Strickland and his group was in the exact same place a season ago, trying to keep up with much larger FCIAC counterparts with a 10-swimmer lineup.

“We’ve been there. It’s tough. Their guys have been pushing through it and my swimmers have been really good sports about it,” Strickland said. “Coming off the close meet yesterday, we were just trying to race today and continue the hard work the guys have been putting in.”

Danbury could not field swimmers in every lane and those who competed did so tired in for the most part.

For the Eagles, nearly doubling its roster size makes things that much easier but there is room for roster growth given the squad still has a smaller lineup that many opposing teams.

Trumbull was swimming a bit tired across the board due to rescheduled meets forcing the team to compete on back-to-back days.

The Eagles pushed Westhill/Stamford to the final event before falling by 10 points in a Jan. 23 matchup on the road. A season ago, the Stamford squad sealed the team before they exhibitioned the end of the competition.

“It’s a little more exciting when you can come close,” captain James Tamarkin said of this year’s meet with W/S. “Last year we were giving it our all. This year we can actually get out and get wins.”

Fellow captain Bowen Regate said: “It’s the best year we’ve had since we’ve been here.”

Strickland moved some of his swimmers around for a chance to compete in events that might not be their primary swims, and for others to have an opportunity to close in on state qualification in secondary events.

Against Danbury, the 200 yard medley relay team of Redgate, Alexander Jozwa, Lachezar Aleksandrov and Tamarkin placed first in a time of 1:55.73. They won in dramatic fashion, just one hundredth of a second.

Anthony Lemma, one of 10 freshmen who have played a significant part this season, won the 200 freestyle race making his final touch in 1:57.46.

Aleksandrov took first in the 200 individual medley, clocking in at 2:24.15.

In the 50 free, the top three finishers were all within a little more than a second of each other. Redgate, freshman Liam Crecca and Tamarkiin had times of 23.75, 24.00 and 25.00, respectively.

Danbury’s Daniel Simmons won the 100 butterfly in 58.26, and Lemma was second in 1:01.96.

Tamarkin, Jozwa and Aleksandrov finished less than a second apart in the 100 free, with times of 55.11. 55.17 and 55.95 for a 1-2-3 result.

Crecca had the fastest time in the 500, finishing in 5:14.95, ahead of fellow freshman Rohit Gunda (5:23.13).

Trumbull had more intra-team competition and a nail-biting finish in the 200 free relay, where the team of Gunda, Crecca, Jozwa and Tamarkin finished in 1:43.32.

The 200 relay of Lemma, Aleksandrov, freshman Joseph Vaitkus and Ryan Johnson clocked in with a time of 1:44.30.

With the team victory in hand, Trumbull then exhibitioned the final three events.

Redgate had the best time in the 100 backstroke (1:01.70).

Jozwa was fastest in the 100 breaststroke (1:12.63).

The best time in the 400 relay was turned in by Redgate, Harshpreet Singh, freshman David Datz and Crecca.

“Their hard work and their resilience for the past few years has been really, really good,” Strickland said. “It takes a toll on the team and the coaching staff when you work hard and lose exclusively because of numbers. The atmosphere on the deck has been great and it’s something we want to continue.”