Boys swimming: Shelton Gaels run into state buzzsaw

After getting off to a 3-0 start to the season and having more than a week away from competition, Shelton High’s boys swim team faced perhaps the toughest challenge it will have all season long.

Perennial Southern Connecticut Conference and state powerhouse Fairfield Prep visited the Shelton Community Center on Monday afternoon and cruised to a 91-71 triumph and 4-0 start to the campaign.

Prep had the fastest time in every event expect the 50 yard freestyle, as the Gaels, coming off three convincing wins, fell to 3-1.

Shelton’s Reid Chavez won the 50 with a time of 23.42, edging Prep’s Kristoffer Davis, who clocked in at 23.88.

The 200 yard medley relay team of Marc Maleri, Chavez, Jack Marciano and Korey Barber was third in 1:48.00, four hundredths of a second behind Prep’s second-place relay contingent.

Barber was second in the 200 individual medley, making his final touch in 2:09.30.

Chavez was runner-up in the 100 butterfly race in a time of 55.86.

Matt Richard had Shelton’s best time in the 100, finishing in third place in 54.21.

Barber came in second in the 500, finishing in 5:18.70.

The 200 free relay of Marciano, Matt Christiano, Maleri and Richard placed third in 1:40.80.

Prep exhibitioned the 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 400 relay after locking up the team win,

Marciano had Shelton’s best time in the backstroke, finishing his race in 1:07.19.

Maleri and Christiano both finished the breaststroke race in 1:11.22.

The 400 relay of Chavez, Barber, Richard and Cristiano clocked in with a time of 3:38.40.

“We’re not really on their level, but there are not a lot of teams who are. They’re one of the best teams in the state every year,” Shelton coach Tom Jurzynski said of the Jesuits.

Jurzynski said his team was mostly focused on preparing for its next competition, Thursday’s visit to Xavier of Middletown.

“That’s our big meet this week,” the coach noted.

But there was still something to be said for matching up against a stronger team in Prep.

“A lot of our young guys haven’t seen talent like this yet,” Jurzynski said.

That includes Barber, a freshman, who stepped up to record some strong placements.

“We need to be challenged more often. Even though it’s a loss you’re going against people who will challenge you and make you go faster,” said Maleri, a captain.

“If someone’s ahead of you, just out of nature, you’re going to chase them,” Jurzynski said.

Marciano, also a captain, agrees that there is a benefit to this sort of meet.

“It really inspires you to work harder because you know you’re facing some of the best kids in the state,” Marciano said.