GNH Warriors Co-Op Holds Keys to Another Successful Season
The Greater New Haven (GNH) boys’ swimming and diving co-op team made several splashes in dual and postseason meets a campaign ago. Now, the Warriors return with a more experienced squad that is long on both numbers and versatility in a multitude of events.
Last season, following an 8-1-1 dual-meet mark, the Warriors secured a top 5 finish for the Class LL State Championship, coming in fifth place with a team tally of 379 points. This winter, GNH again acts as a co-op squad, composed of athletes from East Haven, Guilford, North Branford and North Haven high schools.
The Warriors, with Head Coach Mike O’Brien, have started off their season with a mark of 1-0 after opening the dual-meet slate with a 97-69 decision over Notre Dame-West Haven on Dec. 19. O’Brien notes that there is a lengthy list of logistics when it comes to organizing team events while dealing with a co-op element, but backed by solid senior leadership, the Warriors are jelling and convening upcurrent just fine.
“Naturally, dealing with four different school schedules is difficult,” said O’Brien. “The newer kids have been trying to get to know the rest of the team. Our senior captains have done a great job in helping with that. With the co-op team and the different schools, if one thing changes, kids can be 20-30 minutes late, but the seniors have helped with that, too. It can be a challenge, but these kids are motivated.”
Those aforementioned four senior captains out of a deep 11-member class are Guilford butterfly and backstroke swimmer Lucas Espinosa, Aiden Cohen of Guilford, who was a part of a Class LL state crown in the 200 free relay last year, diver Christian Butler from North Haven, and Guilford’s Joey Gould, who takes part in freestyle and sprint events.
“We have a very large senior class, and so I decided to name all four swimmers who chose to be voted as the team captain as captains,” Coach O’Brien said. “All four of them can do everything. Christian set the school record for diving his sophomore year, and it looks like he will break his own record. Joey is versatile in free and sprint events. I am pretty impressed with these guys. I can mix and match with different people in different events for dual meets.”
The Warriors boast bountiful talent at every grade, with North Branford senior Spencer Carroll, plus a tandem of junior distance event competitors in Guilford’s Sam Mayo and Alex Hansen. Within the underclassmen team tier, Guilford sophomore sprinter Will Cong, sophomore Kyle Januszewski of North Haven (butterfly and individual medley) and freshman Jeffrey Cheng out of Guilford (individual medley and backstroke) will bring added buoyancy to GNH.
“Spencer can be a potential scorer for each meet,” said O’Brien. “Alex and Sam will be big for us in distance events. Will is a great sprinter and is doing a lot with the breaststroke. Jeffrey has been an impressive freshman with the backstroke and IM. All of them are very versatile, and it is great to plug them into different positions. A lot of them swam out of their comfort zones in our first meet, but they enjoyed it.”
The Warriors will wage battle again in Division I of the SCC with the likes of Amity, Cheshire, Hand, Fairfield Prep, and Xavier. While GNH is keyed in on pivotal divisional dual meets, the Warriors will also entertain several upstart squads out of Division II of the league.
“We have three big meets with Prep, Xavier, and Amity, and the team really wants to go up against them. Our tie against Prep last season was very exciting,” Coach O’Brien said. “Hamden’s event times so far look impressive. Foran-Law has a young, talented team. Cheshire is a small, but competitive team. We swim on Senior Night against Hand, which has very talented swimmers. But every dual meet is meaningful for us.”
Also this past postseason, the Warriors finished a lofty sixth overall as a team at the State Open Championship. O’Brien and GNH feel they have the eclectic mix and depth to stay within that upper echelon come March, yet at the surface currently, they are treading above water in terms of swimming to team synergy.
“We are hoping to repeat our dual-meet record from last year,” said O’Brien. “We lost a few key guys, but we look to be a top 10 competitor in the Open meet. The captains have been great at trying to bring the guys together. The whole team has been working on the teamwork aspect as well, which I applaud them for.”
O’Brien is in the midst of his second season as head coach of the Warriors. He is assisted this campaign by diving coach Bob Lewis. GNH has moved over to Class L this year with regards to state championship competition.
The Warriors’ roster is comprised of seniors in Mohan Bahiti (of North Haven), Butler (North Haven), Carroll (North Branford), Cohen (Guilford), Espinosa (Guilford), Ally Farrell (North Branford), Matteo Fraschilla, Gould (Guilford), Natalya Guerrero (North Branford), Ellwyn Michael (North Haven), Dylan Sobelewski (East Haven); juniors of Josue Bravo (East Haven), Roberto DeMacedo (North Haven), Hansen (Guilford), Mayo (Guilford), Parthiv Patel (North Haven), Coleman Tandler (Guilford), RT Trotter (Guilford), Daniel Villabona, Victor Zito (North Haven); sophomores in Cong (Guilford), Johnson Dong (Guilford), Jack Gardner (Guilford), Januszewski (North Haven), Devin Lu (Guilford), Robert O’Connor (North Haven); and finally freshmen Cheng (Guilford), Miko Clavaton (North Haven), Bryson Kluk (North Branford), Griffin McCarroll (East Haven), Remy Mui (North Haven), and Mateo Urbina (North Branford).
Greater New Haven Warriors Boys’ Swimming and Diving 2022-’23 Schedule
Dec. 19: GNH Warriors 97, Notre Dame-West Haven 69
Tuesday, Jan. 3: vs. Foran-Law at 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 17: vs. Cheshire at 4 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 19: at Lyman Hall-Coginchaug at Sheehan at 5 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 23: at Amity at Orange Community Center Pool at 6:45 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 31: vs. Fairfield Prep at 4 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 2: at Hamden at 4 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 6: vs. Hand at 4 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 13: at Xavier at Beman Middle School Pool at 4 p.m.