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The Foran High boys swim team is out to prove that last year was no fluke, as the 6-2 Lions are ready to put together their second consecutive winning season in a row.

They took a major step in that direction last Tuesday when they upended Branford High, 99-74, for the first win over the Hornets since joining the SCC in 2004.

Foran came into the season needing to replace two key graduated performers from last year’s team that went 8-5 team and finished 18th in the Class M state meet.

Three seniors captains who have set the example to lead Foran this season are Eric Hammer, a three time state qualifier and two time state finalist in the 500 freestyle, along with Matt Tylutki, a state finalist last season, and Ryan Harrington.

“The impact that these three swimmers have left on this program by leading both in and out of the pool is immeasurable,” said Foran head coach Kristin Skuches. “We came back this season with a very strong senior and junior class. What sets us apart is we are very versatile.

“Our line up can change meet to meet. That’s because we have swimmers that can be placed in multiple events and do very well.

“Eric has the talent to be a state qualifier four years in a row. Matt is looking to be a state finalist for the second straight year and Ryan has the ability to make a huge impact for us in the SCC meet.”

The Lions started out with a 2-1 record and then took off, ripping off three straight wins. The streak was snapped two weeks ago with a tough 95-76 loss to Xavier from Middletown. But even in the lose Foran showed signs of being the kind of competitor that can make its mark in the states.

Against Xavier the Lions won four events. Hammer raced to a first place finish in the 200 IM, Ethan Skuches swam to victory in the in the 100 backstroke with Drew Corsi taking first in the 100 breaststroke. The 4x400 freestyle relay team of Max Mauro, Sean Morton, Ethan Skuches and Conor Quinn put up a winning time of 3:49.86.

The question facing the Lions was if they are the real deal how would they bounce back after the tough loss to Xavier. The answer was heard loud and clear with the win over Branford.

Each team won six events, but it was the Lions’ depth that made the difference against a Branford squad that has been a top five finisher at the Class M state finals over the last five seasons.

Hammer led the way with a pair of victories. He swam to a first place finish in the 200 IM at 2:16.86 and took the 100 freestyle at 51.62.

Quinn was the winner in the 100 butterfly with an effort of 1:00.62 and Corsi won the 100 breaststroke at 1:09.90.

The relay squads took two out of the three races.

The 4x200 freestyle foursome of Tylutki, Corsi, Quinn and Hammer raced to victory in a time of 1:38.82 and the 4x400 freestyle relay squad of Morton, Quinn, Corsi and Hammer sealed the deal with a winning time of 3:40.44.

“Quinn, a state qualifier in the 500, has shown immense versatility this year and has the potential to be a state finalist,” said coach Skuches.

“Corsi is a two time state finalist in the 100 breaststroke and will once again lead us in the SCC and the states.”

“Freshman Sean (Morton) and Ethan (Skuches) have the ability to be SCC finalist and possibly go on to the states. They have succeeded in filling the void and bring a good amount of experience to the freshman class.”

The strength and versatility of the junior class will be the key in keeping the Lions in the win column.

“Max (Mauro) has shown great improvement this season and has the confidence to be a state qualifier,” coach Skuches said. “Zach Cavender, James Coon and Matt Panettieri bring experience and have the potential to place high in the SCC and possibly the states.”

Foran is also looking to some newcomers for continued contributions, with juniors Levin Labrias and Sam Worobel, along with sophomore E.J. Asinas and freshmen Gean DeGuzman, Alex Lorenzo and Brendon Riggott.

“Our new swimmers are showing they are not afraid to race and put in the hard work to be successful,” she said. “The team goal is to have a second winning dual meet record and to improve on our finish last year at the Class M meet.”