Given the high volume of swimmers who enter into the campaign already with club team yardage under their belts, Newtown High School boys’ swimming and diving Coach Zach Gauvin has his team training hard in preseason.
“We’re starting off with a bang,” said Gauvin, adding that the team members are already swimming the number of yards in practice — about 8,000 per day — that they were up to midway through last season.
“We have a solid core of club swimmers who have dedicated themselves for this season,” said Gauvin, adding that having them swim less distance now would be stunting their progression. Instead, he’s taking advantage of the fact they came into the campaign already in midseason form. “They’ve already been training at that level with other teams,” he said. “We’re hitting the ground running.”
As for what this means in terms of the level of competitiveness of the team remains to be seen, but Gauvin knows it will be a challenging campaign, especially given the South-West Conference boasts a trio of the state’s four class champions — Pomperaug of Southbury, Brookfield, and Weston in Class L, M, and S, respectively. Gauvin isn’t predicting his team will win a title, but he is confident the squad will be formidable.
“I think we’ll be able to hold our own pretty well against the best teams in the conference,” he said.
The captains are Austin Adamcheck (100 yard butterfly/mid-distance freestyle events), Adam Hufzinger (butterfly/freestyle), Billy Begg (sprint free), and Mike Lally (distance free).
Another key swimmer is senior Richard Huffman, whom Gauvin refers to as one of the top backstrokers in the state.
The strength of the team lies in the butterfly and 100 and 200 freestyle events, Gauvin said.
The team will have to overcome the loss of a handful of state point scorers, led by Nick Lafky who holds four school records. All of the team’s divers graduated and Gauvin is starting from scratch in that event since he takes over as the diving coach this year as well.
Newtown has a new assistant coach this winter as Steven Cusano, who was a swimmer at Southern Connecticut State University along with Gauvin, comes on board.
The regular season begins with the Hawks needing to be at least in midseason form with a December 18 visit to defending SWC champ Pomperaug. Newtown’s first home meet is a December 30 clash with Oxford.