Darien, Greenwich lead way as FCIAC teams star in state swimming and diving

As is the case every year, the FCIAC certainly acquitted itself quite well with much success at the recent girls swimming and diving state championship meets.

Darien won the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class L Girls Swimming and Diving Championships, Greenwich was runner-up in both the Class LL and State Open championship meets, and the conference had five individual champions out of the nine individual events at the State Open.

The FCIAC had Greenwich, Staples and Darien place second through fourth, respectively, and six conference teams placed in the top 10 at the State Open.

Darien was the championship team which led a trio of FCIAC teams to a first-through-third finish in the Class L meet as Wilton was runner-up and New Canaan placed third. Darien scored 779 points, Wilton had 720 and New Canaan had 546.5.

Kendall Luecke, a junior, won the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:54.84 and swam the anchor leg on a pair of victorious freestyle relay teams while freshman Natalia Ferranto won the 50 freestyle with a 24.08 and teamed up with Luecke on the winning 200 free relay team to lead the Blue Wave to the Class L team title.

Seniors Lexi Punishill and Sloan Latimer joined Ferranto and Luecke on that winning 200 free relay team (1:37.76). Punishill, Latimer Luecke and junior Olivia Golden teamed up to win the 400 free relay (3:33.65).

Punishill also contributed 51 points to the team scoring in individual events as she was runner-up in the 100 free (52.9) and fifth in the 50 free (24.77).

Also for Darien: Golden placed third in the 100 backstroke (58.43) and was joined by Hope Murray, Emma Mansourian and Ferranto on Darien’s runner-up 200 medley relay team (1:49.31) and Maggie Sedlak took fourth in the 200 free (1:57.12).

Darien won state Class L championship on Nov. 20 at Wesleyan and four days later, on Nov. 24 at Yale, the quartet of Punishill, Lily Bradbury, Ferranto and Luecke won the 200 free relay (1:36.72). Shortly after that Punishill, Latimer, Golden and Luecke placed third in the 400 free relay (3:33.85) to help the Blue Wave place fourth at the State Open with 323.5 points.

Cheshire scored 428 points to win the State Open team title by just eight points over defending champion Greenwich (420).

Staples senior Esme Hunter had a victory and a runner-up finish to lead the Wreckers to third place at the State Open as they totaled 326 points.

Hunter won the 100 backstroke (56.16) and placed second in the 50 free (23.85) and she swam the first 50 yards on the runner-up 200 free relay team (1:36.8) which included Anne Bowens, Jessica Qi and Morgan Lenoce.

Wilton scored 251 team points to place eighth at the State Open while New Canaan (227) was ninth and Ridgefield (210) took 10th.

Greenwich junior Meghan Lynch won the 200-yard individual medley in 1:59.5, placed second in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.74) and was on a pair of victorious relay teams to lead the Cardinals to second place at the State Open.

Lynch swam the second leg on the winning 200 medley relay team (1:45.99) which included Samantha Ennis, Caterina Li and Jenna Handali and in the final event of the meet Lynch and Li were joined by Victoria Liu and Jenna Handali on the winning 400 free relay (3:32.14).

Also for Greenwich: senior Regina Frias won the one-meter diving with 504.25 points and Saylor Kirsch placed third in the diving (481.35).

Hannah Seward and Rylie Giles, a pair of Ridgefield juniors, were two of the best swimmers at the State Open. Seward won the 100 butterfly (55.5) and placed third in the 100 free (52.26) while Giles was runner-up in both the 200 free (1:53.4) and 500 free (5:02.34).

Trumbull sophomore Lauren Walsh was the fifth swimmer from the FCIAC to become a State Open individual champion as she won the 100 breaststroke in 1:01.96.

As for some other high placings from FCIAC swimmers at the State Open: Fairfield Ludlowe senior Lily Kernaghan was runner-up in the 100 free (52.16) and Norwalk-McMahon senior Ashley Calderon placed fourth in the 100 fly (57.65).

Cheshire dethroned Greenwich twice – first in the Class LL championship and then five days later at the State Open.

Cheshire scored 655 points to win the Class LL championship on Nov. 19 at Wesleyan.

Greenwich placed second with 586 points to lead a group of five FCIAC teams which placed among the top nine. Staples was third with 475 points, Ridgefield took sixth with 321.5, Trumbull was eighth (294) and Norwalk-McMahon was ninth (236).

Lynch won the 200 IM, placed second in the 100 breaststroke and was on the winning 200 medley relay team with Ennis, Li and Handali and Kirsch was the diving champion to lead Greenwich.

Hunter of Staples won 100 backstroke, was runner-up in the 50 free and she led off for the winning 200 free relay team which included Bowens, Qi and Lenoce.

Trumbull’s Walsh was the Class LL 100 breaststroke champion.

Wilton senior Emma Babashak had an excellent Class L meet to lead the Warriors. Babashak won the 100 butterfly (57.47) and 500 free (5:05.3) individually and swam on the victorious 200 medley relay with Ava Fasano, Avery Newcomer and Carolyn Hendricks and a runner-up 400 free relay with Abbey Gardner, Fasano and Ellen Holmquist, another Wilton senior who won the Class L 200 IM in 2:06.49.

New Canaan had a pair of Class L individual champions. Maddie Haley won the 100 backstroke (56.02) and Charlotte Frank won the one-meter diving (425.05 points).

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