What’s ahead for Plainville’s swimming and diving team

By BRIAN JENNINGS

STAFF WRITER

2016-17 REGULAR SEASON

Overall Record—3-8 (2-6 home, 1-2 away).

CCC South Region Record—1-7.

CCC South Blue Division Record—1-4.

2016-17 POSTSEASON

CCC South Blue Championship (at Bulkeley High School, Hartford)—5th/6 (.

Top Finish—200 medley relay (Taegan Brochu, Graham Eyres, Lorenzo Samperi, Kyle Sullivan), 6th, 1:58.80.

CCC South Blue Champion—Middletown.

CCC South Blue Runner-Up—Berlin.

Class S Championship (diving at Plainville High School, swimming at Wesleyan University, Middletown)—20th/32 (5 swims).

Top Finish—100 fly, Taegan Brochu, 16th, 1:03.69.

Class S Champion—Brookfield.

Class S Runner-Up—Holy Cross.

State Open (diving at Middletown High School, swimming at Yale University, New Haven)—DNQ.

State Open Champion—Greenwich.

State Open Runner-Up—Pomperaug.

2017-18 SEASON

Head Coach—Chris Zagorski.

Assistant Coaches—Peter Dalena (swimming), Jan Zagorski (diving).

Key Losses (3 graduated):

Isaiah Bandle (graduated)—state qualifier in 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle.

Lorenzo Samperi (graduated)—state qualifier in 100 fly and 200 individual medley, also swam in freestyles.

Team Captains—TBA.

Other Key Returners:

Graham Eyres (senior)—state qualifier in the 100 breaststroke, will continue to swim in 100 breaststroke this season.

Taegan Brochu (senior)—state finalist in 100 fly (16th), state qualifier in 50 freestyle, will swim in 100 fly and 100 backstroke this season.

Bryan Buckley (senior)—state finalist in diving (19th), will continue to dive this season.

Marcos Gutierrez (junior)—swam as leg of 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay at state meet, will swim in freestyles this season.

Tyler St. Onge (junior)—swam as leg of all three relays at state meet, will swim in freestyles and 100 fly this season.

Kyle Sullivan (junior)—swam as leg of 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay at state meet, will swim in 100 backstroke this season.

The Observer asked Zagorski the following questions about the upcoming season:

Observer—What were your overall thoughts about last season? What did the team/program gain or accomplish?

Zagorski—Last season was a period of growth and transition, as we built up the number of swimmers on our roster with athletes that were new to the sport. We finished a respectable 20th at the Class S finals meet and developed postseason experience, which we hope to carry into the upcoming season.

Observer—What can be taken from last season into this season?

Zagorski—Just having more returning athletes to the program will be a big help in how successful we are this season. It will be a boon to our strong incoming freshman class to have swimmers with postseason experience around to guide them.

Observer—What stands out most about this team? What is unique, different, or interesting about this team?

Zagorski—This year, we have a very talented group of freshmen. As we develop their skills to compete at the high school level, I hope that the competition they bring to the team will inspire the upperclassmen to work even harder, as the spots up for grabs will be harder to hold on to. It should make for an exciting year.

Observer—Plainville’s boys swimming and diving team has been pretty consistent over the past few years, placing in the top 20 with five or six swims at the Class S championship. At last year’s Class S championship, Plainville placed 20th with five swims. Plainville hasn’t placed in the top five since 2011 and 2009. What are the keys to having a successful team/program for the upcoming season, in order to get back to the top five in Class S?

Zagorski—Being successful at the state level requires dedication from the members of the team throughout the year. We currently have athletes that compete year-round for the Wheeler Regional YMCA USS team in town, and as more and more athletes compete at that level, the team will continue to strengthen come the postseason. I expect Plainville to continue its growth in the next few years and, hopefully, compete at that level again.

Observer—What are the team’s strengths? What positions/events or areas of the playing field is the team strongest in?

Zagorski—We currently have our largest team that I have coached here at Plainville High School. This depth will be necessary to compete in a tough CCC South division. As the team grows, so will the talent, and I expect great things from this group of young men this year.

Observer—What are the team’s weaknesses? What does the team have to work on or improve most, in order to be prepared for the upcoming season?

Zagorski—We will be relying on quite a bit of youth at the varsity level, but the hope is that every member of this team will come together to help this team be successful.

Observer—Are there any other major changes from last year, either to the league, schedule, team, or program in general?

Zagorski—We continue to have our one-man-team from E.C. Goodwin swimming with us. Continuing on with us is Josh Donaghy, who medaled with a sixth-place finish in the 500 freestyle at the Class S meet and finished 15th in the 200 freestyle. He was a team captain last year and looks like he will be continuing in that role this year. With him is a freshman from E.C. Goodwin, Steven Mayon.

Observer—Why should people follow the team?

Zagorski—We have an exciting schedule coming up with many close meets on the docket for the season. Come January, we will look to push many teams on our schedule and come away with some hard-fought victories.

Observer—If you had to headline the upcoming season, what would it be?

Zagorski—A Combination of Youth and Experience.

To comment on this story or to contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at bjennings@southingtonobserver.com.