GREENWICH — Meet-record performances, personal-best times, school-record efforts — Thursday’s FCIAC Girls Swimming Championships had it all, including a repeat team champion.
And the team that earned the sweet repeat is the squad that ended the meet in style.
Winning the final event — the 400-yard freestyle relay — in an FCIAC meet record time of 3:31.28, put the finishing touch on a championship night for Greenwich, which won the conference title for the second straight year.
The host Cardinals claimed the FCIAC championship with a team score of 363.50 points. Darien was the runnerup (298), followed by Wilton (265), Ridgefield (257) and Staples (254). Trumbull was sixth (212), New Canaan placed seventh (188) and Westhill/Stamford was eighth (146).
Greenwich entered the meet with a sizable points advantage over its competitors by posting a lot of diving points, then increased its lead as Thursday’s meet progressed.
“Our divers did a great job, setting us up nicely,” GHS coach Lorrie Hokayem said. “We had breakout swims Tuesday at the trials that also put us in great position for today.”
Greenwich sophomore Meghan Lynch won two individual events and broke the FCIAC meet record in the 200-yard individual medley. She set the previous record at Tuesday’s FCIAC trials (2:04.26), then broke it last night, winning the 200 IM in an eye-opening time of 2:01.55.
Staples’ Esme Hunter placed second in the 200 IM (2:04.90), followed by Darien’s Kaitlyn Holmes (2:08.75) and Lauren Walsh of Trumbull (2:09.26).
“It was really cool to break that record in the IM,” Lynch said. “I am right around where I want to be. Hopefully, I will be even better in my next meet.”
Lynch also captured the FCIAC title in the 100 freestyle, touching the wall in 51.34 seconds. Darien freshman Kelly Dolce finished second in 52.69, while Wilton senior Taylor Loud took third (53.08). Mia Zajac of Trumbull placed fourth (53.21) and Lexi Punishill from Darien was fifth (53.48).
“We all swam really well, this is one of the toughest meets,” Lynch said. “We are all swimming really hard right up to it. Everyone on our team was close to their times, or on their times. I know in the next meet, they will break it.”
Lynch shared the Meet’s Most Outstanding Swimmer Award with Staples’ Marissa Healy. A senior, Healy garnered the first-place medal in the 50-yard freestyle (23.39), then after a short break she was right back in the pool for the 100 butterfly. In the butterfly, Healy established an FCIAC meet record, winning the event in 54.91
“Swimming those events back-to-back was tough, but my whole team cheering me on really helped me,” Healy said.
Cassandra Maroney (Darien, 24.50) finished second in the 50 freestyle, while Loud of Wilton placed third (24.55) and Greenwich’s Hannah Seward (24.71) took fourth. Zajac of Trumbull was a close fifth (24.77).Read Full Article
Seward got the second-place medal in the 100 butterfly in 57.69 and New Canaan sophomore Alex Pastushan was third (58.46).
“Hannah swam a great butterfly,” Hokayem said. “Having another sophomore out there like Meghan (Lynch) is great.”
The FCIAC Championships began with Staples winning the 200-yard medley relay in 1:47.22. Hunter, Annie Bowens, Healy and Sophia Mechanic represented the Wreckers in the 200 medley relay. Trumbull placed second (1:48.62), followed by Greenwich (1:48.66).
The 200-yard freestyle saw Ridgefield junior Anna Turner capture the title, clocking in at 1:51.29. Junior Lauren Diagnault (Norwalk/McMahon) was the runnerup in 1:52.78, while Darien freshman Kelly Dolce was third (1:53.97). Ridgefield received fourth- and fifth-place finishes in the event from Rylie Giles and Stephanie Bishop, respectively.
“I was really happy with my performance in the 200,” Bishop said. “It was a bit tight in the preliminaries, but in all of my races tonight, I was really focused. It felt really good to get that first-place finish. Our whole team really stepped up today and we received one good performance after another.”
Giles was the 500 freestyle champion for Ridgefield, clocking in at 5:05.49.
“I just paced myself really well and tried to finish fast at the end,” Giles said. “The 200 freestyle was a really good event for me too. This was a tough meet with some great competition and it was a lot of fun to compete in it.”
Greenwich senior Allison Brea took the second-place medal in the 500 freestyle (5:12.55), followed by Anais Wentzel of Wilton (5:12.89), Michelle Kennedy (Staples, 5:13.92) and Maya Watson (Westhill/Stamford, 5:15.71).
“It was definitely a long race, it was one of the longest races of the meet,” said Brea, one of the Cardinals’ captains. “I took it out safe, so I could save some energy at the beginning with the hopes of coming back strong.”
The 200-freestyle relay saw Staples quartet of Hunter, Bowens, Lenoce and Healy swim an FCIAC meet time of 1:36.29. Darien was second (1:37.56), followed by Wilton (1:39.54).
“Our relays kind of got pulled together during the season,” Healy said. “We had faith in each other and pulled it out toward the end.”
Hunter was the 100 backstroke winner (56.09), with Pastushan placing second (58.05) and Fairfield Ludlowe’s Lily Kernaghan taking third (58.17).
“We have been training so hard during practice and coach (Mike Laux) has helped us improve in every way possible,” Hunter said. “It was a total group effort tonight.”
Greenwich’s 400-freestyle relay squad of Emily Warner, Seward, Jenna Handali and Lynch ended the meet by winning the event in a meet-record time of 3:31.28. Ridgefield was the runnerup (3:32.74).
“The last relay put the exclamation point on the meet for us,” Hokayem said. “All four girls had great splits and it put a really good feeling for us going into states next week.”
Ridgefield’s Jenna Leonard took home the first-place medal in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.47). Trumbull coach Bill Strickland received an award for being named as the FCIAC Coach of the Year.
“This was an amazing performance from our team, from trials to tonight’s effort,” Strickland said. “We had only seven girls in the meet and they accomplished so much. Our 200 medley relay, 50 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle — those were the events that we set school records in tonight.”
Holmes placed second in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.03), followed by Walsh.
“We went 7-2 in dual meets this season and we came in here with a lot of confidence and ready to go,” Darien coach Marj Trifone said. “We were ready to make a statement and we had a lot of kids swim great times. I’m really happy with our performances.”
Indeed, competing in the FCIAC Championships brings out the best in the numerous competitors.
“I always swim so much better at these meets, compared to dual meets,” Lynch said. “You want to go faster for your team.”
Said Brea: “It’s definitely a competitive atmosphere, with everyone cheering you on. It gets you really motivated.”
FCIAC GIRLS SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Greenwich 363.50; Darien 298; Wilton 265; Ridgefield 257; Staples 254; Trumbull 212; New Canaan 188; Westhill/Stamford 146; Norwalk/McMahon 103; Fairfield Ludlowe 92; Fairfield Warde 30.50
200-yard medley relay: 1. Staples (Esme Hunter, Anne Bowens, Marissa Healy, Sophia Mechanic) 1:47.22; 2. Trumbull 1:48.62; 3. Greenwich 1:48.66; 4. Darien 1:50.56; 5. New Canaan 1:51.95; 6. Wilton 1:52.72; 7. Norwalk/McMahon 1:52.85; 8. Fairfield Ludlowe 1:54.75.
200-yard freestyle: 1. Anna Turner (Ridgefield) 1:51.29; 2. Lauren Dignault (Norwalk/McMahon) 1:52.78; 3. Kelly Dolce (Darien) 1:53.97; 4. Rylie Giles (Ridgefield) 1:54.18; 5. Stephanie Bishop (Ridgefield) 1:56.18; 6. Regan Ryan (Trumbull) 1:56.56; 7. Dariana Gonzales (Westhill/Stamford) 1:56.69; 8. Emily Warner (Greenwich) 1:57.56.
200 individual medley: 1. Meghan Lynch (Greenwich) 2:01.55; 2. Esme Hunter (Staples) 2:04.90; 3. Kaitlyn Holmes (Darien) 2:08.75; 4. Lauren Walsh (Trumbull) 2:09.26; 5. Maddie Haley (New Canaan) 3:09.72; 6. Jenna Budicini (Ridgefield) 2:13.11; 7. Ashleigh Piro (Trumbull) 2:14.83; 8. Julia Weiner (Ridgefield) 2:17.64
50 freestyle: 1. Marissa Healy (Staples) 23.39; 2. Cassandra Maroney (Darien) 24.50; 3. Taylor Loud (Darien) 24.55; 4. Hannah Seward (Greenwich) 24.71; 5. Mia Zajac (Trumbull) 24.77; 6. Hannah Snyder (Ridgefield) 24.89; 7. Annie Bowens (Staples) 24.96; 8. Jenna Handali (Greenwich) 25.03
100 butterfly: 1. Marissa Healy (Staples) 54.91; 2. Hannah Seward (Greenwich) 57.69; 3. Alex Pastushan (New Canaan) 58.46; 4. Julia Nevins (Trumbull) 58.57; 5. Regan Ryan (Trumbull) 58.69; 6. Cassandra Maroney (Darien) 58.91; 7. Emma Babashak (Wilton) 59.96; 8. Elissa Clancy (Ridgefield) 1:00.13.
100 freestyle: 1. Meghan Lynch (Greenwich) 51.34; 2. Kelly Dolce (Darien) 52.69; 3. Taylor Loud (Wilton) 53.08; 4. Mia Zajac (Trumbull) 53.21; 5. Lexi Punishill (Darien) 53.48; 6. Katherine Stevenson (Wilton) 53.62; 7. Dariana Gonzales (Westhill/Stamford) 53.63; 8. Jenna Handali (Greenwich) 53.69
500 freestyle: 1. Rylie Giles (Ridgefield) 5:05.49; 2. Allison Brea (Greenwich) 5:12.55; 3. Anais Wentzel (Wilton) 5:12.89; 4. Michelle Kennedy (Staples) 5:13.92; 5. Maya Watson (Westhill/Stamford); 6. Kendall Luecke (Darien) 5:19.22; 7. Kortney Knudsen (Greenwich) 5:20.74; 8. Arisa Cowe (Wilton) 5:23.93
200 freestyle relay: 1. Staples (Hunter, Bowens, Lenoce, Healy) 1:36.29; 2. Darien 1:37.56; 3. Westhill 1:39.54; 4. Ridgefield 1:39.62; 5. Greenwich 1:40.30; 6. Trumbull 1:40.45; 7. New Canaan 1:41.44; 8. Westhill/Stamford 1:42.56
100 backstroke: 1. Esme Hunter (Staples) 56.09; 2. Alex Pastushan (New Canaan) 58.05; 3. Lily Kernaghan (Fairfield Ludlowe) 58.17; 4. Maddie Haley (New Canaan) 58.32; 5. Faith Somody (Westhill/Stamford) 58.68; 6. Samantha Ennis (Greenwich) 59.04; 7. Megan Phelan (Fairfield Ludlowe) 59.82; 8. Julia Weiner (Ridgefield) 1:00.14
100 breaststroke: 1. Jenna Leonard (Ridgefield) 1:06.47; 2. Kaitlyn Holmes (Darien) 1:07.03; 3. Lauren Walsh (Trumbull) 1:07.11; 4. Hanna Sotolongo (Ridgefield) 1:07.21; 5. Avery Newcomer (Wilton) 1:08.19; 6. Caterina Li (Greenwich) 1:08.71; 7. Anais Wentzel (Wilton) 1:08.91; 8. Nicole Vanderlee (New Canaan) 1:08.94
400 freestyle relay: 1. Greenwich (Warner, Seward, Lynch, Handali) 3:31.28; 2. Ridgefield 3:32.74; 3. Darien 3:35.29; 4. Wilton 3:35.87; 5. New Canaan 3:39.14; 6. Staples 3:39.60; 7. Westhill 3:42.07; 8. Trumbull 3:43.49