Striving to be competitive in the challenging South-West Conference, New Milford High School's boys swim team made significant strides this winter.

"Overall, we had a great season," Green Wave coach Cheryl Caridad said, "with many personal improvements.

"Our team was extremely dedicated to this tough sport, especially the first-year swimmers who started from scratch and progressed so far to even make it to the state Class L championships."

The NMHS swimmers came up short during its dual-meet schedule, but displayed a tenacity which bodes well for future seasons.

"With a very difficult practice schedule and time, our swimmers showed determination and receptivity to progress," Caridad said. "We graduate only three seniors this year, Michael Eng, Amy Carmellini and Ben Hannan."

Along the way through the long winter campaign, the Green Wave was captained by Eng and junior Kurt Zarba.

Among the team's highlights:

Divers Eng and Hannah Seigel qualified for and competed in the South-West Conference championship meet.

Six swimmers competed in individual events at the SWC meet and a dozen Green Wave student-athletes comprised five relays in the league finale.

Zarba swam his way to the state Class L final, earning a personal best time and winning his heat in the 100-yard backstroke.

A pair of relays boasting the talents of Zarba, Nick Edwards, Kendall Stewart, Hunter Seegers, Alex Martin and Kevin Batternay swam in the state Class L meet.

"Next season," said Caridad, who is assisted by Rob Nathan, "we are hopeful to have several seasoned incoming freshman swimmers join the team, as well as some novice swimmers, growing our team and giving us a more competitive edge.

"Coach Nathan and I are looking forward to next year."

For more photos, visit www.newmilfordspectrum.com.

Norm Cummings