AVON, Dec. 9 — A new era in Avon High swimming begins this winter. Clayton Northgraves has resigned after 22 years as head coach, allowing long-time assistant Diana Cesaro to step forward. Cesaro expects to end up with a team of about 45 swimmers and five divers.
Avon went 7-5 a year ago as an independent. Cesaro didn’t offer a prediction on wins and losses. “My personal goal is to work technique and all aspects of the race,” she said. “In doing this, everyone will improve. We have a number of swimmers who could step up this year and really add to our depth.”
The top swimmer is probably Cesaro’s son, Zac, a senior freestyle and backstroke specialist who finished fifth in the backstroke at last year’s Class M championships, the only Falcon swimmer to earn a medal by finishing in the top six. Senior Jordan Alter (butterfly, individual medley), junior Charlie Anderson (sprint freestyle and butterfly) look sharp early along with senior Max Pierce and junior Thomas Yukabinas (diving).
Since Avon doesn’t offer girls swimming in the fall, girls train and compete with the boys team. They can qualify for the Class M trials but they must qualify under the boys times. Junior Kelly Culkin (freestyle, butterfly), sophomore Erin Hartigan (distance) and freshman Tara Toppazzini (freestyle, backstroke) have swum well in early practices.
The girls do have a chance to compete against girls at the Splash Classic, a statewide meet for girls that compete during the boys swimming season. Avon has won the last five Splash Classic events. Avon hosts their home meets at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington and will compete against valley rivals Farmington (Jan. 27 at Miss Porter’s) and Simsbury (Feb. 16 at Westminister) this winter.