Wreckers Swimming Aims to Bounce Back

December 16, 2016 by ·  

By Ryan Lacey

WESTPORT — In summarizing how the Staples swim team fared a year ago, head coach Frisk Driscoll referenced his group’s finish in the State Open in 2016.

“We’re a lot better than the 18th best swim team in the state,” Driscoll said. “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be in the top 10.”

The Wreckers are out to improve upon that finish in a big way. Staples went 6-4 in dual meets a season ago and finished fifth at FCIACs, but the illness bug hit hard and the team had to settle for an eighth-place finish at Class LL and a 18th at Opens.

Staples has several standouts capable of placing at or near the top of the leaderboard at the end of the season. Nico Ortega was one of the Wreckers who missed states through illness, but he placed second in the 500 freestyle and third in the 200 freestyle at the FCIAC meet last season.

He’s joined by another junior in Dashiell Hunter, who will swim in the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke. Driscoll has coached both during the club season with the Water Rats and is pleased with how they’ve trained in the last year.

“I’ve coached them since they were 8th graders,” Driscoll said. “They are both intelligent racers they observe other people who are good in their events and make good notes of what they are doing and what. They are students of the sport.”

Staples has just five seniors on the roster; four of them — Sam Breeden, Anders Hovstadius, Jean-Luc Lefebvre and Daniel McVaney — were named captains. Junior Josiah Tarrant (sprints) and sophomores John McNab (freestyles, 200 IM and 100 breaststroke) and Austin Twiss (100 butterfly and 100 backstroke) should also shine for Staples, Driscoll said.

The Wreckers also have three divers ready to leave their mark, including junior Zach Cooper, who placed 10th at the Class LL meet last season.
With a mix of youth and experience, the Wreckers hope to be healthy at the right time and secure a top finish.

“We want to do better than what we did last year,” Driscoll said. “We know we are a better team than what we showed last year. I know a lot of people are fired up and ready to do better than that. That’s kind of where the bar has been set, but they want to clear it by a big margin.”

The Wreckers begin the season Dec. 22 with a dual meet at Danbury, and will face Darien, New Canaan, Ridgefield and Greenwich in the New Year.

Reprinted from the Westport News

Staples Swims Past Norwalk

February 11, 2016 by ·  


By Ryan Lacey

With Staples boys swim coach Frisk Driscoll away in California filming Sports Jeopardy, the job of navigating the Wreckers through their meet against Norwalk on Wednesday afternoon at the Bears pool fell to assistants Peter Mesavage and James Francis.

Driscoll’s message to the duo before taking the pool?

“To not lose the meet,” Franics joked.

Staples got a strong test from Norwalk before pulling away 109-76 behind a pair of wins from both Dash Hunter and Sebastian Ortega. The meet was close for a long period before a strong performance in the last several events, including wins in the 100 backstroke (Nico Ortega) and 100 breaststroke (Hunter).

“We’re holding down the fort here,” Mesavage said. “That’s more or less the strength of our meet. We had some miscues in the first half of the meet; we got swept in the 50 free.

Staples overcame an unusual circumstance in one race to prevail. Sophomore Charlie Nadel had his swimming goggles snap at the start of the race, forcing him to swim above water throughout. That didn’t stop him from finishing in fourth place.

“Right on the start his goggles split,” Mesavage said. “He toughed it out and still finished fourth. He swam heads up the whole way; Norwalk gave us a heck of a meet.”

Norwalk freshman Kevin Bradley took top spot in the diving while Wrecker teammates Zach and Dobson Cooper placed second and third. Hunter (59.81) nipped Norwalk’s Nicholas Roldan (1:00.14) by less than a second to win the 100 butterfly. Ortega took the 200 freestyle in 1:59.7, ahead of teammate Austin Twiss (2:00.89).

“Dash can do anything; we throw him wherever we need him,” Mesavage said. “Sebastian has lately been doing more sprint-orientated stuff but today we decided to throw him in more distance stuff, which is what he had done in the past.”

The Wreckers will visit New Canaan on Friday in a tough matchup against one of the FCIAC’s top squads.
“We’re having a strong season, we lost some really good swimmers who graduated last year,” Francis said.

“Some of our younger guys are coming on really strong right now at the right time. I think we’re going to have a strong finish going into conference championships and states.”

Reprinted from the Westport News

Staples Pulls Away to Beat Norwalk-McMahon

February 10, 2016 by ·  


By Pete Paguaga

NORWALK — The Norwalk-McMahon boys swimming team lost to Staples, 109-76, on Wednesday afternoon but for the co-op, even though they didn’t win in the pool, they still felt victorious.

“This is the first meet we’ve had in six meets where I have had my entire team. We just got our rear ends kicked by sickness, kids got strep (throat), and we had to cancel practice just because everyone was sick,” Norwalk-McMahon head coach Chris Passamano said. “We haven’t had an entire contingent of the team in six meets, so here is everybody, we had some really good swims today, we kept it closer than I think they probably anticipated it being.

“Believe me it’s a win at this point,” Passamano added. “To have an entire team here is an absolute win in my book.”

Staples jumped out to an early advantage finishing in first and third place in the 200 medley relay and then took first and second in the 200 free as senior Sebastian Orteg won in 1:59.70.

“Sebastian is doing more sprint oriented stuff, but today we decided to throw him in more distance type stuff, which is what he has done on the past,” Staples assistant coach Pete Mesavage said.

Mesavage and fellow assistant coach Jim Francis stood in for head coach Frisk Driscoll who is competing in Sports Jeopardy in California.

Staples grabbed another win as Simon Ginsberg won the 200 IM but Norwalk took second and third place to pull them within 12 points, 29-17, heading into the 50 free.

Norwalk junior Valentin Brito led the way winning the 50 free in 23.79 and was followed up by teammates Joshue Balderrama and David Maya who finished in second and third place, pulling Norwalk within two points heading into diving.

“Val swam really good today,” said Passamano of his junior swimmer who also won the 100 free and is just 0.7 seconds away from qualifying for states in the event. “He just missed the cut, he’s getting it tomorrow. He’s going to qualify for states tomorrow, if I have to get in the water and push him.”

Freshman diver Kevin Bradley continued his dominance on the diving board giving Norwalk the win and the teams would remain close for the next three events.

Staples’ Dashiell Hunter would win the 100 fly in 59.81 but the co-op would take second and third place.

Brito took home first place in the 100 free, but Staples then took second and third place in the event.

Ortega won his second individual event of the afternoon in the 500 free in 5:21.80, as Norwalk’s Mateo Roldan took second and Staples’ Charlie Nadel took third place.

Nadel had some trouble in the 500 free as his goggle broke right at the beginning of the event and swam the whole event with his head up.

Staples won the 200 free relay and Nick Ortega won the 100 backstroke and the Wreckers began to pull away as they led 85-68.

“That’s more or less our strength is the back half of the meet,” Mesavage said.

Hunter won the 100 breaststroke, his second win the day, in 1:05.19, before the Wreckers took home first place in the 400 free relay.

“Dashiell, he could do anything, we throw him anywhere where we need him,” Mesavage said.

Staples heads to New Canaan on Friday at 3 p.m. in one of their biggest meets left on the schedule.

“Some of our younger guys are coming on really, really strong right now at the right time,” Francis said. “We’re going to have a strong finish, going into the conference championship and states.”

Norwalk-McMahon finishes up its regular season on Thursday when they travel to Waterbury to swim against Kennedy and Jonathan Law before the FCIAC meet.

“Now’s the time because we got a tri-meet tomorrow, so we have two teams we can try to beat which is always awesome,” Passamano said. “Then we have a week and a half and then it’s FCIACs. If I am getting everyone back healthy now, so we can roll up into FCIACs, it’s a win.

“I’d rather be healthy now then before,” he added. “Because FCIACs is where everything happens.”

Reprinted from The Hour

Greenwich Swims Past Staples

January 15, 2016 by ·  


By Ryan Lacey

WESTPORT — With the boys swimming dual meet season not starting until after the new year, the busy regular season schedule sandwiched into a seven-week window. That presents an opportunity for stacked teams like Greenwich to mix and match lineups.

The altered lineups created a trio of dramatic races against FCIAC rival Staples on Friday. The Cardinals prevailed 111-69 with their usual depth at the Wreckers pool to improve to 4-0.
Though Greenwich kept its top swimmers from their respective top events, athletes shined in new ones to pull away from the Wreckers.

“I thought we did very well,” said Greenwich coach Terry Lowe. “We swam a mixed lineup to give people as many good races as possible. We took it easy with (Jack) Montesi. I’m happy with our relays; we came through very well.”

One tight race came in the 400 freestyle as Staples sophomore Nico Ortega (4:13.30) held off a hard-charging Alex Jahan (4:13.40) of Greenwich to win by a tenth of a second.

“(Jahan) is no joke, the 400 isn’t his best event but the kid is a superstar,” said Staples coach Frisk Driscoll.

“For him to go out there and swim a heck of a race and hold him off at the end was very impressive.”
Another was in the 100 freestyle where Nick Hyden (57.86) just edged Staples Sebastian Ortega (57.91) and teammate Conrad Moss (57.98). In the 200 IM, Aedan Lewis (2:17.70) nipped Staples’ Dash Hunter (2:17.80) by a tenth of a second.

“Seeing Aedan eking it out in a showdown race like that was impressive,” Lowe said.

Pat Clisham was the busiest swimmer for Greenwich as he won a pair of events — the 100 butterfly (1:01.65) and the 50 freestyle (25.63) — and swam in two relays to help the Cardinals win the 200 medley and the 400 freestyle.

“He’s coming on so strong,” Lowe said. “I thought he had a great 100 butterfly and swam strong in the relays.”

In the 1-meter diving, Greenwich’s Devan Satir took first while Sergi Shaw was second. Montesi won the 200 freestyle in 1:58.19, Nick Hyden took the 100 freestyle (57.86) (G) 57.86; and Nick Handali (1:04.57) won the 100 backstroke.

It was a learning experience for the Wreckers against the State Open champions, but Driscoll was pleased with what he saw from his bunch.

“I was really impressed,” Driscoll said. “With midterms this week we hadn’t training with the intensity that we normally do. I saw a different side of them today; they were tough.”

After Friday’s win, Greenwich now enter a busy part schedule that includes four meets in seven days.
“It’s very difficult to have two and three meets in a week,” Lowe said. “Hopefully this is the only year (the season starts in January).

GREENWICH 117, STAPLES 69 (AT STAPLES): Relays: 200 medley relay: Greenwich (Matt Li, Alex Jahan, Pat Clisham, Nick Hyden) 1:55.76; 200 freestyle relay: Greenwich (Jack Montesi, Russell Winget, John Dustin, Conrad Moss) 1:44.99; 400 freestyle relay: Greenwich (Jack Montesi, Alex Jahan, Ray Warner, Pat Clisham) 3:49.85 Individual events: 200 freestyle: Jack Montesi 1:58.19; 200 IM: Aedan Lewis (G) 2:17.70; 50 freestyle: Pat Clisham (G) 25.63; 100 butterfly: Pat Clisham (G) 1:01.65; 100 freestyle: Nick Hyden (G) 57.86; 400 freestyle: Nico Ortega (S) 4:13.3; 100 backstroke: Nick Handali (G) 104.57; 100 breaststroke: Dash Hunter (S) 1:08.64. Records: Greenwich 4-0, Staples 2-1.

Reprinted from the Westport News

Boys Swimming Reloads with New Faces

December 22, 2015 by ·  


By Ryan Lacey

Faced with the daunting task of replacing a host of talented seniors that graduated from the team, Staples boys swim coach Frisk Driscoll took a look at the pool and a host of talented young athletes in it.

With the current potential and the increased strength of the program, Driscoll realized that almost as fast as standouts leave the group, new faces come in looking to keep the tradition of a top-five FCIAC team alive and going.

“We’re very lucky in a sense when you lose a senior class, you hear the term rebuild,” Driscoll said. “While we’re not reloading, we’re pretty darn close. We’re a lot closer to reload than rebuild, which is nice. I’ve think we’ve done something right, and the Staples community is recognizing that.”

One event that this rings true the most is the 500 freestyle. Before graduated senior Daniel Williams it was Northwestern sophomore Jonathan Blansfield. Now, sophomore Nico Ortega — coming off an excellent freshman season that included an eighth-placed at the Class LL meet last March — is ready to take the next leap into one of the top distance swimmers in the state.

“We’ve picked up where we left off in the distance freestyle events,” Driscoll said. “Nico placed well at FCIACs and states last year as a freshman. He already got significantly faster this year, compared to what got at states.”

A new crop of freshman have entered the program with bounds of potential, according to Driscoll, who has worked with several of them in his role as a coach for the Westport-based Family Y Water Rats youth program.

“I’ve worked with a handful of them,” Driscoll said. “They’re lucky enough to get indoctrinated to what we do at Staples. Everybody knows each other; it’s a good sense of family and that helps this team year in and year out.”

The Wreckers will be captained by Harrison Knapp (IM and backstroke), Mark Schachter (freestyle sprints, butterfly) and Simon Ginsberg (IM and backstroke). All are in position to score at the FCIAC and state level.

“Harrison is a real leader in every sense of the word,” Driscoll said. “He leads by actions and his words. “He loves to work hard and that energy is contagions to his teammates.”

Unlike many of his competitors, Knapp isn’t a year-round swimmer and proof of what an athlete can be even if his interests aren’t narrow, according to Driscoll.

“The results he has shows you don’t have to drop all your other interests and commit to swimming, as long when you’re committed to something, you’re all in on it,” Driscoll said. “I think a lot of people really respect the path that he has taken to get where he is today.”

Staples placed fourth in the FCIAC, fifth at Class LL and eighth at the State Open a year ago to remain one of the most consistent programs in Connecticut. Despite the changing faces, the goal remains the same this winter.

“We’d like to think we’re a top 5 FCIAC team,” Driscoll said. “Funny enough I think we’re even an higher (Class LL) state team, which shows how tough the FCIAC is. The jury is still out but I think we can be a top 10 team again (at the State Open).”

Reprinted from the Westport News

Max Wimer to Swim Across America

August 27, 2015 by ·  

Today, Staples students returned to school, but I don’t go to college until next week.

Two weeks after I start my freshman year, I will join my Wesleyan Swimming and Diving teammates for Swim Across America.

We will be swimming one mile each in the ocean off of Rhode Island to raise money for the fight against cancer.

I invite you to visit my SAA page to learn more and to contribute. Donations in any amount are welcome, because the fight against cancer will be won one dollar at a time.

Thank you.

Max Wimer
Staples, 2015

PS: Good luck for a great season this year. (I hope to see you in my new home pool when you come up for championships.)


We’re Almost at $40,000!

June 9, 2015 by ·  

Y Monitors - Swim for Nepal copy

We only need $55 to reach $40,000 for Swim for Nepal, so we are keeping our Crowdrise site up until the end of the month and we are going to continue fundraising until the end of school.

If you haven’t contributed yet, please consider doing so. Click to read more about our Swim for Nepal and make an online donation.

And if you can think of any other friends or family might donate, please ask them before the end of next week.



May 27, 2015 by ·  

We never use exclamation points, so you know something big just happened for Staples Swimming.

Tonight, during our Swim for Nepal, we surpassed our fundraising goal and we can’t help ourselves. So, so amazing and you should definitely tell everyone in the world about it right now. We raised $35,241!

But don’t give up just because we reached our goal. Definitely keep going; keep asking for donations. The Crowdrise site will remain open until Wednesday, June 10th.

Let’s try to break our last record: $43,262, which we raised during Swim for the Philippines in 2013.

Don’t forget to show you Swam for Nepal by wearing the t-shirt. Tomorrow is the deadline to order online from ASF Westport, which is donating all proceeds to Save the Children, so come on, show your team pride and say:

“I Swam for Nepal.”

You deserve it!

Time to Swim for Nepal

May 21, 2015 by ·  

Staples swimmers who are participating in Swim for Nepal are invited to swim 6:30p to 8:00p at the Westport Weston Family YMCA 14 Allen Raymond Lane, CT 06880.

For details email Mark Schachter, who will be co-captain next year.

If you want more information, or would like to support Swim for Nepal, visit our website.

Show You Swam for Nepal

May 18, 2015 by ·  

Y Monitors - Swim for Nepal copy

Show you Swam for Nepal by wearing the t-shirt.

Seymour Schachter (Mark’s father) and ASF Westport have created an official “I Swam for Nepal” t-shirt, which you can now order online. Click to go to the ASF online store.

The online store will be open until May 28, the day after Swim for Nepal, and t-shirts will be available for pick-up two weeks later on, or around, June 11th.

ASF is donating all proceeds to Save the Children, so come on, show your team pride and say:

I Swam for Nepal.

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