Five members of EHHS swim team qualify for states

By Evan Pajer - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Fri., Feb. 1, 2013
A swimmer on the EHHS team comes up for a breath during the meet on Jan. 26. Photos by Evan Pajer.
A swimmer on the EHHS team comes up for a breath during the meet on Jan. 26. Photos by Evan Pajer.

This season has been a good one for the East Hartford High School boys' varsity swim team. The team has won three meets, and five members of the team have qualified for the state tournament, with more potentially on the way before the end of the season. Despite narrowly losing its most recent meet against South Windsor on Jan. 29, the team is looking forward to the state and Central Connecticut Conference tournaments.

The team started the season with three solid meet victories against tough opponents, including Rocky Hill. Coach Jill Piedscalzo called the start of the season better than normal. "I would say we're doing very well this year," she said. "It's the best start we've had in a long time." The team currently holds a 4-3 record after losing the most recent meet with South Windsor, 94-87.

Piedscalzo said the five swimmers who have qualified for the state championship did so on an individual basis. Divers Sheldon Walters and Shariff Lewis, as well as swimmers Larry Funnie, Matthew Whitesell and Ian Pettigrew qualified for states. "We may have one more diver on the way to qualifying before the tournament," said assistant coach David Booth.

Piedscalzo said she will focus on training each of the candidates on an individual basis to compete at the state level. "It will be different for each person who qualified," Piedscalzo said.

On a team level, Piedscalzo said that she has been seeing improvement throughout the season. "We're always looking forward to time improvement across the board," she said. "Every single meet we're seeing time drops and score improvements for the divers." Piedscalzo said that the team's biggest strength is diving, something that showed during the meet with South Windsor. Despite narrowly losing the overall meet, East Hartford managed to solidly lead South Windsor in diving.

The team will also be headed to the Central Connecticut Conference tournament, where Piedscalzo said she hopes to see her swimmers and divers excel. Piedscalzo said that unlike the state tournament, the CCC tournament does not require qualification - every team in the conference makes the meet, regardless of their records. "We're still hoping to do well in the CCC," Piedscalzo said.

Piedscalzo said that the team will focus on technique going into the rest of the season. "We'll be continuing to practice hard and work on technique," Piedscalzo said. "We're looking for individuals to step up and get their best times and scores." Piedscalzo said that the team has held together well through the season.

"We've got great competitive spirit and great sportsmanship," Booth said.

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