Stop (Or Start) The Presses: Staples Swimmers Sink Greenwich!

February 6, 2018 by ·  

Stop (Or Start) The Presses: Staples Swimmers Sink Greenwich!

HAN FCIAC Winter Preview: Staples Boys Swimming & Diving 2017-18

January 30, 2018 by ·  

HAN FCIAC Winter Preview: Staples Boys Swimming & Diving 2016-17

December 19, 2016 by ·  

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

2014-15 All-Area Team

April 14, 2015 by ·  


By George Albano

The All-Area MVP from Staples who culminated his scholastic career by winning a share of the State Open championship in the 500 yard freestyle … Tied Karl Bishop of Cheshire for first after finishing second to him at the LL state meet, more than five seconds behind … Also won the 500 free at the FCIAC Championships, while finishing runner-up in the 200 IM and swimming on the second-place 400 free relay … Added a fourth-place finish in Class LL and seventh at the Open in the 200 IM … Led off the 200 medley and 400 free relays which both placed fourth and qualified for Opens.

Anthony Dell’Isola
Norwalk-McMahon – Senior

The FCIAC’s 200 freestyle champion who helped lead Norwalk’s co-op boys swim team to a 7-5 record and first winning season in 13 years … Also finished runner-up in the conference in the 500 free … Followed that 1-2 finish with a second place in the 200 free and a third in the 500 at the Class LL state meet … Was also a member of the medley relay team that came in fifth and anchored the 400 free relay to an eighth-place finish … Qualified for the State Open in all four of his events, placing fourth in the 200 free and sixth in the 500 freestyle.

Justin Summer
Weston – Senior

Named the ‘Most Outstanding Swimmer’ at the South-West Conference Championships after winning both the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly … Also helped the 200 free relay team to a second-place finish … Added a pair of runner-up finishes at the Class S state meet in the 200 free and butterfly to lead the Trojans to a third straight state crown … Was a member of the state-title winning medley relay team while anchoring the 400 free relay to a second-place finish as he had a hand in 168 of Weston 683 team points, or nearly 25 percent.

Willy Suchy
Wilton – Sophomore

Warriors’ leading point getter at the Class L state meet with a third-place finish in the 200 yard freestyle and a fourth-place showing in the 500 free … Swam anchor leg on both 200 freestyle relay which finished second in Class L, and 400 free relay that came in fifth … Had a hand in 153 of Wilton’s 387 points as he helped the Warriors to an impressive fourth-place finish in the Class L team standings … Qualified for the State Open in all four of his events.

Eddie Donovan
Norwalk-McMahon – Senior

The other half of the NHS-BMHS co-op team’s potent one-two punch who capped off his scholastic career with a stellar postseason showing … Finished runner-up in the 100 butterfly and third in the 200 IM at the FCIAC Championships … Then at the Class LL state meet was third in the butterfly and fifth in the IM … In his final scholastic swim meet finished fifth in the fly and sixth in the IM at the State Open … Joined Dell’Isola on the medley relay which finished fifth in LL and 10th at the Open, and the 400 free relay that placed eighth at state meet and 13th at Opens.

North Woods
Staples – Senior

The FCIAC runner-up in the 100 yard freestyle who also finished third in the breaststroke to help the Wreckers to a fourth-place finish as a team … Also a member of the second-place 400 free relay team at the conference meet … Then came in third in the breaststroke and ninth in the 100 free at the Class LL state meet, while anchoring the medley and 400 free relays to fourth-place finishes … Qualified for the State Open in all four of his events, led by a fifth-place finish in the breaststroke.

Derek Benison
Wilton – Junior

Junior swimmer from Wilton High who came on strong in the postseason … Finished fourth in the 50 yard freestyle at the FCIAC Championships, which represented Warriors’ best individual showing … Then placed third in the same event at the Class L state meet while also qualifying for the State Open … Was also a member of the 200 freestyle relay team that finished runner-up in Class L, while anchoring the 200 medley relay to a fifth-place finish … Both relays also qualified for Opens.

Lucas Billing
Weston – Junior

The SWC diving champion from Weston who captured top honors at the conference meet with a score of 398.60 points … Followed that up with a fifth-place effort at the Class S state meet to help the Trojans win a third straight title … Also came in fifth as a sophomore in 2014 after an eighth-place finish as a freshman.

Honorable Mention
Nick Roldan, Norwalk-McMahon, Liam Simons, Weston, Charlie Palsho, Weston, Ryan Robb, Wilton, Jack Lewis, Wilton, Ethan Hunter, Staples, Nicolas Ortega, Staples, Mark Schachter, Staples, Maximilian Wimer, Staples

Reprinted from The Hour

Williams Ends Career with State Open Win

April 14, 2015 by ·  


By Pete Paguaga

Heading into the final turn of the 500-meter race at the State Open, Staples’ swimmer Daniel Williams made his move, giving it everything he had and touched the wall, coming back to win the Open Championship, tying him with Cheshire’s Karl Bishop.

“He was pulling him in, within halfway through the race,” Staples head coach Frisk Driscoll said. “It didn’t look like he had enough space to catch him, but the last turn you knew he would catch him. For Danny, that’s business as usual. It’s a one of a kind ability there.”

Williams is a closer. He paces himself and then waits for the opportune time to attack and that’s what made Williams The Hour’s All-Area MVP for the 2014-2015 season.

“I thought I could catch him in the last 100 (meters),” Williams said. “I just put my head down and see what happens.”

What happened was Williams caught Bishop.

“He was keeping Karl in his sights, in the last 150 (meters) he would make his charge and catch him,” Driscoll said. “The last 30 (meters) left, I thought he would catch him.”

Williams finished the race with a time of 4:35.61.

“I came up and saw that we tied,” Williams said of his State Open win. “I definitely didn’t know what to think. It’s pretty cool to go out on top, well tied.”

It didn’t even sink in for Williams that he had won a State Open Championship because he had other events to worry about.

“I was like “Oh, this is cool,” but I was focused on a relay that I had to do. I was still in race mode,” Williams said. “It sunk in after.”

The State Open championship was just the icing on the cake for what was a successful postseason for the senior.

He first won the FCIAC title in the 500 (4:37.29), holding off Norwalk/McMahon’s Anthony Dell’Isola (4:44.72).

“I knew I was going to be (in) first or second,” Williams said. “We’ve always been going at it for a couple of years. I knew it was going to be a battle.”

Then came the Class LL state meet, where Williams would finish in second place (4:38.81) to Bishop (4:33.79) by five seconds.

Four days later, Williams would come back to tie Bishop at the State Open.

“I was trying to find that pace, find that groove,” Williams said about the practices leading up to the State Open.

Driscoll saw it as a fitting end to a season that Williams worked so hard at.

“He had a plan from day one. I know him as a water rat,” Driscoll said of his senior. “In September he had big plans, maybe not titles in mind, but he wanted to race his races, to reach certain splits.

“What he was able to do was to set up a great season,” Driscoll added.

Heading into this season, Williams had a big swim cap to fill.

The Wreckers’ Jonathan Blansfield graduated in 2014, capping off quite the career. He won the FCIAC, Class LL and State Open titles as a junior. As a senior, Blansfield repeated as FCIAC champion before coming down with a stomach bug on the day of the Class LL Trials, forcing him to miss the Class LL meet and not qualifying for the State Open.

They would also compete with each other every day at practice.

“It was nice having him in the other lane pushing me. We suffered together,” Williams quipped.
For Driscoll, he enjoyed seeing the two go at it in practice.

“It was fun, at least for me,” said Driscoll, who swam the 500 at Staples and won the FCIAC title. “The nice thing about them is they complemented each other. Jonathan started fast and Danny closed quick.”

Williams will swim at Division III Bowdoin College next season and he said he couldn’t think of any better way to end his high school career. He will also miss the team spirit.

“It’s a great feeling to know I’m going out on top,” he said. “Most of all, we had great spirit, going crazy, we liked to have fun.”

For Driscoll, he is going to miss more than Williams’ accolades.

“Daniel, in my short time, he’s the smartest swimmer I’ve coached, his pacing and race strategy,” Driscoll said.

Reprinted from The Hour

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