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Raiders swimmers look strong in the "Y" pool, would like one of their own.

POSTED January 20, 2015
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: It’s the kind of effort that belies the fact that they spend nearly half the time training on their field of battle.

Or, in the case of the Torrington Raiders swim team, the lack of time they spend in the water yet continue to push out champion swimmers with one of the most consistent programs in the Naugatuck Valley League.

There is an effort underway to try and rectify the lack of pool time the team has by a group that has been working this issue for as long as they can remember.

More on that in a bit but let’s talk about the team that Andrew Marchand has in the water this year.

Marchand enters his 11th year at the helm of the Raiders after plastering the walls of the Torrington YMCA during his storied career at THS.

On Friday night, the Raiders came away with an important 89-81 win over Sacred Heart at home behind strong performances from a slew of swimmers, led by senior captain Matthew Traub.

“Matt has been swimming real well so far this year,” Marchand said, “He has been blowing away his times in the IM (individual medley).”

Sure enough, Traub hit the edge of the pool for the win twice on Friday night in the 200 IM with a time of 2:01:09 (more than 11 seconds better than the second place finisher) and then again in the 100 Breaststroke, this time by a mortal margin of two seconds (1:10:38).

Traub anchored the winning 200 Freestyle Relay as well but Marchand has numerous weapons to throw at opponents and each came through at critical spots against the Hearts.

Fellow captain and senior Jack Wassik ate up points with wins in the 100 freestyle while being part of the Raiders winning 200 freestyle relay.

Michael Hodge took the 100 backstroke for Marchand, who is pleased with how all his swimmers are performing early in the year.

“We haven’t had many meets so far,” Marchand said. “But everybody is getting better each and every time out.”

The effort to get the Raiders more than the seven and a half hours of pool time (about half a school with a pool) has been on the table for a number of year but is gaining steam again with a bit of creative fundraising.

The Torrington Community Pool Project Inc. (they have a Facebook page with info) is getting help from Amazon Smile.

Purchases of select items from the on-line vendor will give back .05% to the project.

Not a huge amount by any means but every penny is going to count in this effort towards giving the Raiders, a strong program despite their restricted time in the water a place to call home every day of the week.

Currently, Torrington practices three days a week from 3-5 and on Saturday from 8-9:30 a.m.

A pool of their own would increase the pool time to six days a week and as important, give Torrington a year round community pool.

“Every kid in Torrington could learn how to swim,” Marchand said. “It’s a skill you can use forever, no matter your age.”

It’s a long climb for the fine folks looking to make this happen but with the determination of a coach who has seen the benefits of being in the water most of his life and an equally motivated Community Pool Project membership, don’t put it by them.

For more from Timothy W. Gaffney click here