Savoring the competition
Green Wave boys' swim team caps solid season in the pool
The swimmers and divers of New Milford High School's wintertime boys' squad could hold their heads high as the 2011-12 season wound down in recent weeks.
Coach Jim Carmellini's Green Wave posted just a 3-7 dual-meet record, but among the defeats were several tight setbacks. Generally, the New MIlford athletes acquitted themselves well amid the rigors of dueling several state powers in the South-West Conference.
"The season has been just great," said coach Jim Carmellini, who began the season on the sidelines but returned at the helm early in the winter.
"The team had very good depth this year, which made our meet lineups very flexible," the veteran Green Wave mentor said. "Scott Martin, Tyler Gangell and Anthony Saitta have provided consistent top finishes in our swimming events, while Anthony Saitta and Steven Eng contributed top finishes in diving throughout the season."
Seven athletes qualified in five events for state Class L competition -- Scott Martin in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100 butterfly; Anthony Saitta in the 50 freestyle; Tyler Gangell in the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke; Saitta, Gangell, Jonathan Rajagopalan and Martin the 200 freestyle relay and Wade Elsesser, Gangell, Saitta and Martin in the 400 freestyle relay.
The Green Wave totalled 131 points at the March 14 event at Wesleyan University in Middletown to claim 14th place of the 22 schools scoring points. SWC rival Pomperaug won the Class L title with 671 points.
For the SWC meet held March 2 at Masuk High in Monroe, coach Carmellini's pool crew had qualified 16 athletes.
Among the New Milford highlights during the day's competition were Scott Martin's second place at 1:47.37 in the 200-yard freestyle, 2.5 seconds faster than his seed time, and the fleet senior's fourth in the 100 butterfly in 55.37, more than a second and a half quicker than his seed time.
Tyler Gangell captured 10th place in the 100-yard breaststroke with a personal-best 1:09.18.
The 200 and 400 freestyle relay quartets each grabbed a fifth place, with Jonathan Rajagopalan filling in ably for Wade Elsesser for his leg of the 400.
Personal bests were also attained at the SWC meet by Anthony Saitta, Kaelan Donadio and Austin Santos in the 500 freestyle, Anthony Saitta in diving, Peter Coleman and Emilie Zarba in the butterfly, Wade Elsesser in the 100 freestyle, David Mendoza in the 500 free, Peter Coleman in the 100 back and Howard Luo in the 100 breast.
"Swimming powerhouse is not what comes to mind when you think New Milford swimming, but this year's team, as in years past, is solid," Coach Carmellini said. "The kids push each other to do their best, they respect each other, they enjoy victory but value competition. That's what New Milford swimming is all about."
Graduating this spring from the Green Wave squad will be seniors Steven Eng, Scott Martin, David Mendoza, Anthony Saitta and Candice Weiss.
For more photos, check www.newmilfordspectrum.com.