Huffman Sets 500 Free Record, NHS Swimmers Compete At High Level

Newtown High School’s boys’ swimming and diving team won its fourth meet in a row with a 91-82 victory over visiting New Milford on January 24. The Nighthawks established a commanding 91-32 lead after winning the 500 yard freestyle event, then exhibitioned the final four events on their way to improving to 4-1 overall.

Newtown, in a 100-82 win over Masuk in Monroe on January 14, saw a team record set by Richard Huffman. He set the school’s new standard in the 500 freestyle by making his final touch in a time of 4:55.30, nearly three seconds faster than the previous record.

The Nighthawks saw their winning ways come to an end in a tough 94-91 setback at Weston, one of the top teams in the South-West Conference and in the state, on January 28. Newtown Coach Zach Gauvin was more than pleased with his team’s efforts in the clash with Weston, the defending Class S state champs.

“This was the closest meet I have ever coached. It was back and forth the whole time and came down to the last relay. I give all the credit in the world to Weston, who swam an unbelievable final race to take home the win,” Gauvin said. “While losing is always something that hurts, I feel that this was without question the best meet our team swam and dove this season. We had best times in almost every single event and proved that we are on our way to having an even more successful championship season.

“I’m thankful that we have another chance to swim Weston at our conference meet in March, and hope it gives the team a little bit more motivation to finish the season strong,” the coach concluded.

In the Weston meet, Newtown had only three first-place finishes but showed its depth with seven runner-up results and nine third-place outcomes among the 12 events.

The 200 yard medley relay team of Richard Huffman, Seth Barrett, Jacob Branchflower, and Owen Gray placed second. The 200 relay team of Dawson Stout, Hannah Makris, Matt Argraves, and Matt Hess was third.

In the 200 freestyle, Chris Lafky and Austin Adamcheck had a two-three finish. Huffman was first in the 200 individual medley, and Seth Barrett came in third in that event. Jacob Branchflower was second in the 50 free.

Ryan Nathenson earned second in the diving competition, and the Hawks earned three straight runner-up finishes after the diving break: Branchflower in the 100 butterfly (Zach Payne was third in the fly), Adamcheck in the 100 free, and Lafky in the 500 (Stout was third in the 500).

The 200 free relay contingent of Gray, Adamcheck, Payne, and Branchflower was first. The team of Makris, Argraves, Hess, and Lafky came in third.

In the 100 backstroke race, Huffman earned first and Stout placed third. Barrett came in third in the 100 breaststroke event. The 400 free relay team of Adamcheck, Payne, Lafky, and Huffman placed third.

Times were not provided from the Weston meet.

The Hawks had the fastest times in all 11 swimming events versus New Milford, as well as in the diving competition, in which Nathenson picked up his first top finish with a score of 179.95 and, in the process, qualified for the state tournament.

In the first event of the day, the 200 medley relay team of Mike Poulter, Barrett, Branchflower, and Gray had the best time, finishing in 1:53.51. Newtown’s 200 medley relay group of Hess, Caelan Ritter, Argraves, and Adam Hufziger was second in 1:58.57.

Newtown had a one-two-three outcome in the 200 freestyle race. Andy Braun was first in 2:08.67, Brendan Peterson was runner-up in 2:12.24, and David Kent was next in a time of 2:18.03.

The Hawks had a one-two finish in the 200 individual medley race as Stout and Barrett made their final touches in times of 2:16.15 and 2:17.13.

Lafky won the 50 free in 24.25 and Newtown carried a 47-15 lead into the diving break. The Nighthawks led 55-22 coming out of the diving competition and continued to build on its lead with a first, second, and third in the 100 butterfly. Payne was tops in the fly with a time of 58.89, and Argraves and Brandon Qiao were second and third in times of 1:01.45 and 1:14.88.

Branchflower and Adamcheck led the way in the 100 free with Branchflower placing first in 53.38 and Adamcheck just behind in a time of 53.52.

Lafky had another first-place result by winning the 500 free in a time of 5:23.74.

Argraves, Payne, Gray, and Branchflower had the fastest time (1:40.82) in the 200 free relay race, the first of  the exhibitioned events. Stout was the fastest finisher in the 100 backstroke event, finishing in 1:03.04.

Barrett (1:08.16), Ritter (1:13.30), and Alex Klang (1:17.62) were the three fastest swimmers in the 100 breaststroke race.

The 400 relay team of Lafky, Stout, Payne, and Adamcheck (3:56.47) edged out New Milford’s fastest team (3:56.94).

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