WALLINGFORD — Sheehan and Lyman Hall have joined forces in boys swimming to create the Wallingford Co-Op.
The team, the first of its kind in Wallingford, will launch its inaugural season this winter at the Sheehan pool. Sheehan’s Keith Cargan will be the coach.
The rivals are teaming up due to low numbers. In recent years, Lyman Hall had combined with Coginchaug in a co-op. A couple of Blue Devil swimmers will still train with the two Wallingford schools, but compete individually as a ‘team of one’ at meets.
The decision was made to combine the Wallingford schools in the offseason when numbers appeared down following large graduating senior classes last year.
“We wanted the kids to have a place to swim and this was the best option,” Lyman Hall Athletic Director Steve Baker said.
Cargan has been involved with Sheehan swimming since 2011. He's been the boys head coach since then and took over as the Sheehan girls swimming head coach in 2022 after being an assistant in that program for many years.
The Sheehan boys were SCC Division II champions in 2019, but numbers dropped drastically after the COVID season of 2020 and haven’t rebounded since. The Titans haven’t won a meet in the last two seasons.
“The idea had been tossed around to co-op for a while and one of the teams was too big or too dominant, but since COVID the numbers have been down on both sides,” Cargan said. “We had eight or nine swimmers and they had 11 or 12. Both teams were too small and we finally combined.”
Cargan said the Titans are excited about the change. He added that his limited interactions with Lyman Hall swimmers have been positive as well.
“They all grew up swimming together and they are friendly, and I think it will be a good match,” Cargan said. “We will start the season with about 20 swimmers and I think we will be competitive.
“Year after year, we’ve been swimming against co-ops and this was a natural progression for us to get the teams together.”
The Wallingford Co-Op will compete in Class M and SCC Division II.
As part of its schedule, Wallingford will face a trio of ECC co-ops this winter — home against Fitch/Stonington/St.Bernard/Wheeler and on the road against East Lyme/NFA and Waterford/Ledyard.
Those three ECC co-ops are swimming a SCC schedule this winter. After the regular season, the ECC programs will compete in their own postseason event, not in the SCC Tournament.
“Boys swimming is in a precarious state right now, with more and more teams choosing to co-op, and we had an odd number of teams so we scheduled the three ECC teams,” SCC commissioner Al Carbone said. “We figured the more teams we could schedule the better, and give more kids a chance to compete.”