Shelton High boys swim coach James Allan knew going into the season that rebuilding the team would take some time.
As Shelton heads down the stretch of the season, with four meets left, the Gaels appear to be ahead of schedule. A 2-6 ledger may not appear to be a successful campaign, but from where they were at the start of the season and where they are now is a big confidence booster.
“It’s no doubt a rebuilding season,” said Allan. “We lost a strong senior class, but we are 18 strong with eight new swimmers who show great potential.”
Shelton ran into some tough opponents to start the season and stood at 0-4 before compiling back-to-back victories over Law of Milford and North Haven.
Recent losses to Daniel Hand of Madison and Lyman Hall of Wallingford hasn’t deterred the Gaels from putting up an all-out team effort, as they have remained competitive.
Senior team captains Joseph Stein and Tim Maloney have been providing the inspiration, along with classmates Cole Chavez, Alex Karbowski and Jan Kocur.
In the first win of the season over Law by a wide 102-59 margin, Shelton showed progress.
Karbowski took first place in the backstroke with an effort of 1:09.22 and was involved in all three victories for the relay squads.
Cole Chavez was a double winner, taking first in the 200 freestyle at 2:20.64 and swam to victory in the 100 butterfly posting a winning time of 1:03.30.
Kyle Barber also picked up a pair of first place finishes — winning the 200 IM in 2:23.63 and taking the 100 breaststroke at 1:17.55.
Neel Swamy swam to a first-place finish in the 500 freestyle putting up a time of 6:15.91 and Trisdan Binan captured a pair of second-place finishes in the 100 butterfly and the 200 IM.
Shelton showed a little bit of depth with Jake Johnson taking second in the 500 freestyle and Gajaan Sittambalam finishing third.
The Gaels racked up a few more points in the 100 freestyle, with Eni Stafa placing third, Zach Johnson fourth and Mike Pertoso fifth.
“Joseph Stein is the defending Class L diving champion and has already broke his school record twice this season,” Allan said. “We have four meets left and we are preparing to even the score and finish with a five hundred record.”
Shelton took a step forward towards that team goal with a 94-81 win over North Haven.
Stein set a new school record with a six-dive score of 271.41 to pace the Gaels to victory. The senior co-captain also swam to a second-place showing in the 100 freestyle at 1:00.94.
Barber took first place in the 100 butterfly in a winning time of 1:00.07.
In the 100 freestyle, Steve Schmidt finished fifth with Zack Johnson taking sixth and Kocur placing seventh.
The 200 freestyle relay contributed with a fourth-place showing with the team of Mike Pertoso, Tom Pertoso, Schmidt and Zach Johnson posting a time of 2:28.60.
The Gaels showed how competitive they’ve become in their last meet against Lyman Hall, putting up an all-out team effort before coming up on the short end of a 96-79 final margin.
Stein rebroke his own record posting a new school mark in the six-dive competition taking first place with a score of 274.80.
Maloney swam to victory in the backstroke with a time of 1:00.66 and took second in the 200 IM.
Brett Butler finished second in the breaststroke, won by Barber who put in a winning time of 1:12.23 with Sittambalam taking third.
The 400 freestyle relay team of Karbowski, Agean Binan, Jack Wise and Maloney swam to victory.
Shelton heads into the final four meets looking to even its mark and visits Masuk of Monroe on Friday.