Cochran takes over for boys swimming

Everybody in the water. It's training time.

First-year Darien boys swimming coach Jason Cochran got his first experience at coaching varsity swimming last season, when he was an assistant.

But this year, he's the one they'll all look to in good times and, if they come, bad.

Over the summer the school decided to make a change, putting Cochran in after former coach Matt Czaplicki left the program.

As you'd expect, Cochran's outlook is as positive as can be, even in a conference that's as tough and competitive at the top as any in all sports of the FCIAC.

"I think the potential is definitely there to be one of the top teams in the conference and the state," Cochran said. "We're increasing in the training, focusing on what it takes to be a championship team."

The team focused on in-water training in the preseason, and since the core of the team are year-round swimmers as is (participating with the Piranhas at the Darien Y), they're all in ready-to-compete shape.

"The first two weeks are swim-specific, trying to get a feel for the races they'll be doing," Cochran said. "It's longer yardage and more intense."

As the season is underway now, the guys have gotten more into the dry-land program, which entails weight-training, core training (pushups, sit-ups, stretch bands, crunches) and things of that nature.

Twenty-six swimmers and divers are on this year's team -- just one or two less than last season. This team isn't heavy in one class, but it will be carried by its seniors, according to Cochran.

Jake Greene, senior co-captain, will contribute in 500 freestyle, the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke.

Fellow senior and captain Chris Weihs will lift the team in the 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke.

The third captain, Chris Janson, will be specializing in the 50 and 100 freestyle, and there remains a possibility he'll be used in relay events as well.

Chris Brook is also a leader for this team, one Cochran pointed out specifically.

Right now, the first-year coach is working on getting his group of guys to "want to work harder than they have to this point in their swimming careers."

Cochran said sophomore James Baker will be a critical member of this team, as he'll carry the load of being a top-tier swimmer in the 100 butterfly and the 500 free, while junior Tyler Gould is the speed specialist. Gould will be going against the fastest swimmers in the county in the 50 and 100 freestyle, some of the most exciting seconds to watch in high school sports.

This isn't a loaded team, but it's going to win its fair share of meets this season.

"Right now I think we're going to have strengthen our IM swimmers, our 100 breaststroke and the relays," Cochran said. "While they should be competitive, improving them is a focus in the preseason."

The Blue Wave should earn its points in the sprint events and the 500 free, certainly.

"I expect us to be highly competitive in the FCIACs and in states," Cochran said.

At practice last week, no one took advantage of Cochran. Everyone focused, hopped in the pool when asked to and remained driven. The Blue Wave isn't the best team in the FCIAC, but it was training like it wanted to be, that's for certain.

The team opened up with Greenwich on, Dec. 15, which was the test Cochran wanted to start the season.

The Cardinals are always tough, and following that, the bigger challenges come toward the end of the season. Now, a lull, though; Darien won't race against until Jan. 5 against Norwalk/McMahon, and then it's five races in 14 days