Veteran coach Jim Carmellini said he'll always smile while reminiscing about this winter's crew of New Milford High School swimmers and divers.

"I can honestly say these kids were the hardest working, had the most team spirit and were the most fun to coach in my years of coaching," reflected the Green Wave's seventh-year mentor.

The NMHS coed squad, one of the largest in program annals, earned just two wins -- over Bethel and Oxford -- in 10 meets but throughout its campaign offered a positive outlook and team sensitivity.

"I was really impressed with the help, support and camaraderie every one on the team gave to each other -- during practice, at meets and at non-team events," said coach Carmellini. "It was an honor to be a part of this team."

The Green Wave wrapped up its season March 15 as senior Anthony Saitta capped his NMHS pool career and keyed Green Wave efforts with a 23rd-place performance in the 50-yard freestyle at the state class `L' meet at Wesleyan University in Middletown.

Coach Carmellini's crew earned 40 points to place 20th of 21 participating teams.

A week earlier, the Green Wave had finished 11th and last among South-West Conference teams in the league meet at Masuk High School in Monroe. A disqualification in the 200-yard medley relay cost the team a couple of places, said the NMHS coach.

A highlight of the SWC action was freshman Emile Zarba's competition in the 100-yard backstroke, marking the first-ever distaff qualification for a league meet in NMHS boys' swim history.

The 200-yard freestyle relay quartet placed seventh and the 400-yard freestyle crew brought home eighth place.

Individually, Kevin Ortega was 18th in both the 500-yard freestyle and the 200-yard individual medley; Sloan Elsesser was 19th in the 200-yard IM and 18th in the 100-yard freestyle; Anthony Saitta was 15th in the 50-yard freestyle and 17th in diving; Kaelan Donadio was 19th in the 100-yard backstroke and 24th in the 50-yard freestyle.

Also, Jonathan Rajagopalan was 21st in the 50-yard freestyle and 26th in the 100-yard freestyle; T.J. Longcoy was 22nd in the 50-yard freestyle and 31st in the 100-yard freestyle; Steven Eng was 16th in diving; David Mendoza was 2nd in the 500-yard freestyle and Emile Zarba was 22nd in the 100-yard backstroke.

"All in all, it was really my most fun year coaching," concluded coach Carmellini. " This group of kids -- to an individual -- really got along with each other, they supported each other, worked hard and had a lot of fun."

Norm Cummings