The Shelton High boys swim team went through a tough stretch at the midway point of the season that prevented them from compiling a winning record.
Coach James Allan’s Gaels turned things around and finished the regular season on a winning note after getting past West Haven, 97-61.
Led by seniors Joe Stein, Tim Maloney, Cole Chavez, Alex Karbowski and Jan Kocur, Shelton went into the postseason meets with confidence and high expectations.
Stein and Maloney earned All-SCC honors, as they led the Gaels to a 10th-place finish in the league championship meet.
Fairfield Prep won the SCC title for its ninth straight championship, scoring a team total of 1,510 points, with Amity second at 815 points and Xavier of Middletown third at 602 points.
Shelton (312 points) was led by Stein, who was runner-up in diving with a season-best score of 411.20.
Maloney put up a season-best effort with a time of 58.82 in the backstroke to finish third and also earn All-SCC status.
The 200 medley relay team of Maloney, Stein, Brett Butler and Kyle Barber finished 10th at 1:56.03, and the 200 freestyle relay squad of Karbowski, Agean Binan, Stein and Trisdan Binan also finished 10th with a time of 1:41.94.
“We had a great meet at the SCC championship with everyone putting up season-best times,” Allan said.
“Both Stein and Maloney earned All-SCC honors and that really gave us some momentum heading into the state meet.”
The Gaels were primed to take on the state’s best teams and showed that confidence by breaking all their best times again in the Class L meet.
Pomperaug of Southbury went on to win the championship putting up a team total of 772 points. Wilton High at 541 points took second and Darien High posted a score of 539 to place third.
The Gaels (112) finished 15th out of the field of 22 teams with Maloney and Stein breaking school records.
Maloney swam to a school record in the 100 backstroke at 57.01 to finish 11th out of the field of 24 swimmers.
Stein posted a new 11-dive mark with a total of 440.45 to finish in second place behind Lee Christensen of Darien with a 450.75.
“We had a real successful meet putting up season-best times again,” Allan said. “And, to have two new school records set it really made for a good meet for the kids.
“All three of our relay teams achieved best times, along with Maloney in the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke. Karbowksi also did his season best in the 200 IM.”
In the IM, Maloney had a 2:10.37 and Karbowski was right behind him with an effort of 2:14.09.
Barber went on to break the two-minute mark in the 200 freestyle with an effort of 1:56.37.
The 400 freestyle relay team of Barber, Karbowski, Butler and Maloney placed 13th with a time of 3:38.73.
The 200 freestyle squad of Karbowski, Trisdan Binan, Stein and Agean Binan posted a 1:41.72 to finish in 17th place.
The foursome of Maloney, Butler, Barber and Stein earned a 1:54.04, good for 18th place in the 200 medley relay.
In the State Open, Stein concluded a remarkable career at Shelton when he landed a score of 386.05 to finish ninth in diving
The Gaels will be losing quite a bit of talent for next season, including Stein, Maloney and Karbowski. But, Shelton has a solid core coming back, with Butler and Barber leading the pack.
Juniors Jake Johnson, Gajaan Sittambalam and Neel Swamy add to the next senior class along with Trisdan Binan.
Sophomore Tom Pertoso has more experience, along with a strong freshman class ready to take on a larger role led by Agean Binan, Zach Johnson, Mike Pertoso, Steve Schmidt, Enea Stafa and John Wise.