By Eliot Schickler

eschickler@bcnnew.com

Although the Fairfield Ludlowe-Warde boys co-op swimming team performed well Wednesday, it ran into a tough Staples team.

Moreover, it was host Staples' senior day, and raised its performance a few levels and its record to 6-2 with a 102-78 victory over Fairfield (1-8).

"Staples is very strong this year and is having a good season," Falcons coach Victor Mirrer said. "We're down a few guys but swam well. I'm very happy with how we did."

Both teams are familiar with each other because they have many members on Westport YMCA Water Rats swimming team.

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There were a few close races, starting with the 200-meter medley relay to open the meet. Junior Nathaniel Boley led off for the Wreckers and gave them a comfortable lead. However, Fairfield rallied behind freshman Tommy Gannon, senior Will Galle, juniors Nikita Noskov and Adrian Tudor whittled down the lead, but Staples was determined behind senior captain Joss Abel, freshman Danny Williams and senior captain Kyle Bacon and edged the Falcons, 1:56.59-1:56.75. The Wreckers took third with sophomores Mike DeLuca and Chris Mombello, senior captain David Katter and junior Marcus Russi (2:04.36).

Speaking of Boley, he set two school records with comfortable victories in the 50-meter freestyle (24.81) and 400-meter freestyle (4:12.21). Tudor (26.67) took second and Katter (27.23) was third in the 50-free, and Wrecker sophomore Jonathan Blansfield (4:46.24) edged out Fairfield sophomore Eric Rasmussen (4:46.29) for second place in the 400-free.

Noskov (1:03.11) grabbed the early lead in the 100-meter butterfly before holding on for the victory.

"This was the first time I did the double kick, and it worked out nicely and I didn't get tired," Noskov said. "I'm more of a 50-type sprinter, and I need to work on my endurance. If there was a 50-fly, I'd do it in a heartbeat."

Although the Falcons took first, Staples won the event, 9-7, with freshman Danny Williams (1:96), Russi (1:08.87) and junior Matt Wetmore (1:09.19) going two-three-four.

In a battle between two Water Rats, Gannon (1:13.13) pulled out a victory over Abel (1:13.92) in the 100-meter breaststroke by slowly edging ahead of him.

"It felt good," Gannon said. "I faced a good competitor from the Rats and it was a good race. I just swam hard the whole time and there was just a few hard meters in the end."

Fairfield won a close race behind Noskov, Gannon, Tudor and junior Will Perret in the 200-meter relay (1:46.86) when the quartet slowly inched ahead, step by step. Senior captain Kyle Bacon, Wetmore, sophomore Justin Krakoff and Katter (1:47.07) kept it close and took second.

Noskov and Galle gave Fairfield's 400-meter relay team the lead while battling Blansfield and Williams in the first two legs. Although Tudor and Perret swam hard in the last two legs for the Falcons, Bacon came on strong and gave the Wreckers the lead and Boley was even quicker and gave Staples a 3:54.35-4:06.36 triumph.

"I always feel like the relays are competitive because they are worth more points and the rest of the team is relying on you," Galle said.

Williams is also a Water Rat teammate of Gannon's and they were both locked in a tight race in the 200-meter individual medley. Although Gannon (2:24.72) hung tough throughout, Williams (2:20.75) slowly pulled ahead and won. Mombello (2:29.51) and Staples freshman North Woods (2:29.60) were three-four.

The Wreckers were consistent in diving with juniors Tanner Blank (185.40) and Andrew Cohen (182.70) going one-two. Falcon senior Katie Craig (165.35) scored high with the judges by sticking her dives in three of them and took third.

"We've progressed through the years," Galle said. "This is our deepest team and we have two meets where we should be competitive coming up."

Fairfield travels to Norwalk today for a 4 p.m. meet and close out the regular season Feb. 17 at Trumbull. The Falcons will compete at FCIACs and Class L after February vacation.

"It's going to be a good meet," Mirrer said on the Norwalk meet. "They have good swimmers and it will be a tight meet. Nikita, Tommy and our three relays did well."

On his goal for the bigger meets, Mirrer said, "I'd like to finish in the top half of Class L. It's our first year of being in L, and I'm not sure with how we'll do."