Swimmers ready to make waves in the postseason

Plainville seniors (random order) Zach Dery, Wyatt LaCombe, Tyler Mandeville, Zach McGough, Jared Serrano-Aviles, Dominic Sousa, Christopher St. Lawrence get together on senior night for a group photo. The seniors have been instrumental in building the program from 14 swimmers four years ago to 26 members this season.

Four years ago the boys swim team was looking to build a solid foundation with 14 swimmers on the roster. On Feb 21 the Blue Devils celebrated senior night thanking the seven seniors who were instrumental in helping Plainville post back-to-back 6-6 seasons.

The team of 26 has grown by leaps and bounds over the past four seasons, led by seniors Chris St. Lawrence, Dominic Sousa, Tyler Mandeville and Wyatt LaCombe along with Zach Dery, Jared Serrano-Aviles and Zach McGough.

Plainville was assured a .500 season for the second year in a row with a 95-79 victory over Lewis Mills on senior night. Sousa swam to a first place finish in the 100 freestyle at 54.59, qualifying for the Class S meet and a second place effort in the 50 freestyle at 25.09.

The Blue Devils have eight swimmers that have qualified for the state meet the most under head coach Chris Zagorski. Last year the team sent five swimmers to the Class S meet and for the third year in a row saw improvement in their standings at the state meet.

Besides Sousa, the Blue Devils will have junior Brady Stevens and freshman Spencer Michalek qualifying in one event for the Class S meet. Plainville will rely on the strength from four of last year’s qualifiers with juniors Joe Michalic (4 events) and Brandon Paznokas (4 events) leading the way.

Juniors Nate Lyman and Colin Blake return to the Class S meet qualifying in three events and making the state meet for the first time is junior Matt Lagassey in three events, as well.

“We still have the CCC conference meet to try and qualify a few more swimmers,” said Zagorski. “We are hoping to reach our goal of 12 swimmers at the state meet. But even if we only increase our number to ten it will be a marked improvement.”

Plainville came right out and took control of the meet against Lewis Mills opening up a 10-4 advantage. The 200 medley relay foursome of Paznokas, Lyman, Lagassey and Michalic posted a winning time of 1:52.45 and the squad of Stevens, Michalek, Sousa and Justin Niziolek finished third.

Lyman had a first (200 freestyle) and a second (100 freestyle) place finish. LaCombe was first (100 breaststroke) and third (200 freestyle) with Blake adding a first 200 IM) and third (100 fly) to give the Blue Devils a commanding lead. Zach Dery finished first in diving as the lead got out to 46-26.

Lagassey won the 500 freestyle, Michalic took first in the 100 fly and Paznokas was first in the 100 backstroke. Michalek finished second in the 500 freestyle, Nico Fasold was second in the 200 IM. The Blue Devils also got strong performances from St. Lawrence with a third (50 free) and a fourth (100 fly) and Stevens with two (200 IM, 100 free) fourth place finishes and Mandeville with a fifth place in the 100 breaststroke.

Assistant coach Pete Dalena has been working hard preparing divers Dery and freshman Christian Ellis to give Plainville another scoring option heading into the CCC South meet on March 6.

“Last year we had only three swimmers that qualified in multiple events at the Class S meet,” said Zagorski. “This year that number is five swimmers, and that could improve based on what we do at the CCC conference meet.”

The postseason is just the icing on the cake. By any measure, this senior group has already made waves.

“We have seen improvement in each of the last three years at the Class S meet and we are looking for that trend to continue this season. As we head into the post season swims I think we are in a great position to do well,” said Zagorski, who credited the team’s success to his seniors. “Going from 14 swimmers to 26 this year shows the leadership and commitment of these seniors who have helped to turn this program in the right direction. They have played a big role in expanding our numbers.”

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