Swimming wraps up a strong season in the pool


KO’s boys and girls swimming and diving teams had a successful season with growth in all areas of the team. As their season winds down to an end, KO’s boys and girls swimming and diving teams have begun to reflect on a successful season in the pool. 

Although they are technically two separate teams, for competition purposes, the two teams practice as one and like to consider themselves one unit. 

Compared to other seasons in the past, the team has had a much more consistent practice location this year at Weaver High School in Hartford. This allows the team to practice at more normal times throughout the season. 

The team started their season with practices shortly before Thanksgiving break in order to prepare for their first meet on Nov. 30, versus a historically competitive Hopkins team. Although the final scores from this meet did not favor KO, it was a good meet for the team, as many of the swimmers never swam competitively before this year. 

“I think a strength is that people are generally willing to learn new stuff and they’re not holding back too much on trying,” boys Head Coach Alex Kraus said. This aspect of the team has allowed them to put their best foot forward at the meets and earn some wins.

Following this meet, the team got their legs under them a little more as they accumulated more practice time in the pool. All the swimmers’ hard work and effort paid off at their meet against Wilbraham and Monson Academy where they secured the win. 

Furthermore, the team was able to sneak in a one-point win versus a strong Canterbury team on Jan. 21, highlighting the team’s hard work. 

One highlight of the season for the team was their annual KIT meet on Dec. 10. This is one of the few home meets that the team was able to host due to the lack of a pool on campus, and upwards of eight teams came to compete. 

“It was a huge event, lots of noise, lots of energy,” senior Co-captain Charlotte Eberle said. In addition, multiple team members set personal records or tried a new event that they had never before done. 

To add to the excitement, the meet also offered unique, fun events that you wouldn’t normally see at a traditional swim meet such as an underwater relay race. Although every swimmer has contributed greatly to the success of the team so far, a few athletes, in particular, have stood out. 

On the boy’s side, senior Captain diver Eli Brandt came home with the Founders Diving Championship title for the third time, and he also broke his own school record yet again. In addition, junior Damian Czartoryjski and freshman Samit Virmani have helped the team succeed by putting up incredibly competitive times. Czartoryjski was even able to break the league record for the 100 butterfly at the Founders Swimming Championship on Feb. 25 which is a tremendous accomplishment.

On the girls team, many swimmers have been crucial for the team’s success as they are a smaller, less experienced group. For example, sophomore Miya Scranton has been outstanding in the 100 breaststroke as well as in relays for that stroke. “She’s been doing amazing and she definitely leads our pack when it comes to that aspect,” said Eberle. 

Furthermore, freshman Alex Doering swam the 200 free for the first time versus Westminster despite recently coming back from illness. “She put 100% of what she had into it and that was amazing to see,” Eberle said. 

All of the team’s hard work throughout the season culminated at the Founders League Championships on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Hotchkiss School. The boys team placed fourth while the girl’s team placed eighth out of all the teams in the league. In addition, Brandt and Czartoryjski placed third in two of their respective events, highlighting their strong performances. 

At New Englands Championships on Saturday, March 4, the boys team took home the second place trophy and many notable performances. Additionally, Brandt took home another New England Diving Championship on Wednesday, March 1. Brandt broke three records, setting a new pool record, New England record, and setting a new personal best, earning a 524.00.

Additionally, Brandt won the  Babcock Award which recognizes an outstanding male performer. 

Eli Brandt ’23 wins the Babcock Award in recognition of his outstanding athletic performance. Photo courtesy of Alex Kraus.

Czartoryjski won the 200 free (1 minute, 41.47 seconds) and 100 fly (1:41.47), setting school records in both events. The girls got last place, but set personal records in every event.

Brandt, senior Mason Zimmer, sophomore Eudel Ma, and Czartoryjski placed third in the 200 free Relay with a time of 1:34.46. Additionally, Brandt, Ma, freshman Samit Virmani, and Czartoryjski placed second in the 400 free relay with a time of  3:25.76.   

Congratulations to Coach Alex Kraus, coaching since 1986, who was the 18th coach ever to receive the NEPSSA Distinguished Service Award. Coach Kraus has made such a positive impact on the team, and the team is so grateful to be coached by him.

Congratulations to both teams for a great season and we look forward to seeing their continued success next year.