Swimming, diving stars shine at FCIAC Regional championships

The FCIAC girls swimming and diving teams did get to compete in postseason meets to conclude their respective seasons and there were many superb performances by individuals and teams at the three regional championship meets during the second week of November.

The East, Central and West regional meets were held at separate sites and those meets had to be conducted as sort of a hybrid of dual meets/virtual meets formats to limit the amount of participants at each site.

Two teams swam against each other at the same site on the same day in most cases and then the clocked times of the swimmers and the points totals of the divers from each regional meet would determine the placings of the individuals in each respective region.

There were two separate meets for each region with two teams swimming against each other in five of the six separate meets and the three teams of Ridgefield, the Norwalk/Brien McMahon cooperative team and Danbury at one of the two Central Region meets.

Many names which the FCIAC swimming and diving fans may recall from past accomplishments in FCIAC and state championship girls meets in previous recent seasons racked up plenty of victories in individual and relay events to conclude their superb careers at these regional championships.

Greenwich won the West Region team championship, Ridgefield was the Central Region champion and Trumbull won the East Region title.

There were seven FCIAC swimmers who won two individual races from all three regional championship meets combined. And most of those double individual champions were also vital members of championship relay teams.

Meghan Lynch and Caterina Li of Greenwich, New Canaan’s Maddie Haley, Ridgefield’s Rylie Giles, Wilton’s Ava Fasano, and Trumbull teammates Lauren Walsh and Kristen Racicot were the seven swimmers who each won two races at their respective meets.

Lynch and Li both won two individual events and were teammates on a pair of winning relay teams to lead Greenwich to the West Region championship with 622 points. Darien was runner-up with 521, New Canaan placed third with 348 and the Westhill/Stamford cooperative team had 260.

Greenwich swam against Darien on Nov. 11 one day after New Canaan swam against Westhill/Stamford at the same Greenwich High School pool and then the placings in each event were combined to tabulate the team scoring.

Lynch, a senior tri-captain bound for Stanford University, established new state and FCIAC records when she swept the distance freestyle events. She won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:47.83 and then the 500 free in 4:46.76. Lynch broke a 15-year-old record in the 200 (1:48.53) which was held by Daniel Hand’s Kristen Frost.

Li won the 100 butterfly (58.06) and 100 breaststroke (1:06.79). Li and Lynch opened the meet by teaming up with Samantha Ennis and Sabrina Hobert to win the 200 medley relay in 1:47.35 and then the quartet of Lynch, Hobert, Li and Payton Foster ended the meet with a victory in the 400 free relay 3:30.89.

Foster enabled Greenwich to have 1-2 finishes in those distance freestyle events as she was runner-up behind Lynch in the 200 (1:55.13) and 500 (4:58.26).

Annie Bingle got Greenwich’s other individual victory when she won the diving with 461.25 points, the highest points total from all three regional meets in the FCIAC.

Victoria Liu contributed significant points toward Greenwich’s title by placing second in the 200 individual medley (2:10.87) and third in the 500 free (5:13.24). Sydney Jee was runner-up in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.6) for the Cardinals.

Maddie Haley of New Canaan was one of the three double individual champions in the West Region meet as she won the 200 IM in 2:08.42 and the 100 backstroke in 56.6. Haley’s winning times were the fastest times from all three regional meets in her events.

Kendall Luecke led Darien to second place as she won the 100 free in 54.0, placed fourth in the 200 free (1:56.94) and swam the anchor leg on the victorious 200 free relay (1:39.91).

Natalie Ferranto won the 50 freestyle in 24.5 and joined Luecke, Maggie Sedlak and Emily Kalvaitis on that winning 200 free relay team. Also for the Blue Wave, Olivia Golden was runner-up in the 100 backstroke and third in the 100 free.

Annie Edwards led the Westhill/Stamford cooperative program with a pair of runner-up finishes in the 50 free (25.38) and 100 free while diver Hannah Chukas placed second with a very good score of 422.1 points.

Giles led Ridgefield’s Tigers to their Central Region team title by winning the 200 free in 1:53.81 and 500 free in 5:02.74.

Hannah Seward won the 100 butterfly in 55.98 and just a short while later with minimal recovery time she dove back into the pool in the next event and placed second in the 100 free (53.45) for Ridgefield.

The Tigers also got a victory from Miranda Bonitatebus in the 200 IM (2:11.72).

Fasano’s two individual victories led Wilton to second place in the Central Region. Her clocking of 24.03 was the fastest 50 freestyle time among all three regional championship meets and she later won the 100 backstroke in 56.85.

Jessica Qi won the 100 free with a 53.17 which was the fastest time from all three regional meets, she was runner-up in the 200 free (1:55.67) and a member of two winning relay teams while leading Staples to third place.

Hannah Strauss had runner-up finishes in the 200 IM (2:14.33) and 100 fly (2:14.33) and placed third in the 100 free (54.81), and she and Qi both teamed up with Sophia Mechanic and Ella Alpert on two winning relay teams – the 200 free relay (1:41.04) and 400 free relay (3:38.92).

The Norwalk/Brien McMahon cooperative program and Danbury placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Central Region meet.

Norwalk/McMahon had a pair of individual champions in Morgan Saunders, who won the 100 breaststroke in 1:089.02, and diver Alexandra Pereira with 327.05 points.

Walsh and Racicot got their two individual victories and also were teammates with Norah Hampford on a pair of winning relay teams to lead Trumbull to the East Region championship.

Walsh won the 100 breaststroke with a 1:02.12, which was the fastest time among all three of the conference’s regional meets, and she had earlier won the 500 free in 4:58.13. Racicot was the 200 IM (2:18.34) and 100 butterfly (1:03.4) champion. Hampford won the 100 backstroke (1:03.02) and was third in the 100 free.

Daniele Tanaka Sales of St. Joseph won the 100 freestyle in 55.69 and was runner-up in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.69).

Bridget Negron, Mary Ryan and Elizabeth Fletcher led Fairfield Warde to second place in the East Region.

Negron won the 200 freestyle in 2:06.36 and was fifth in the 100 free while Ryan had runner-up finishes in the 50 free (25.32) and 100 free (56.44).

Fletcher was runner-up in the 200 free (2:06.87) and then in one ironic example, given that the timing format is officially timed to the 1/100th of a second, the fingertips of  Fletcher and Rebecca Kushel, her Warde teammate, hit the wall at the same precise moment in the 500 free and they tied for second place with their identical times 5:46.08. Kushel had earlier placed third in the 100 fly.

Also for Warde’s Mustangs, Julia Stellato was runner-up in the 100 backstroke and third in the 50 freestyle.

Kate Murray of Fairfield Ludlowe won the 50 free in 25.1.

The results of the top five individuals in each of the three regional meets are listed below:

FCIAC Girls Swimming and Diving 

West Region Championships

Team Scores: Greenwich 622, Darien 521, New Canaan 348, Westhill/Stamford 260.

200 Yard Medley Relay – Greenwich (Samantha Ennis, Meghan Lynch, Caterina Li, Sabrina Hobert) 1:47.35; New Canaan 1:51.97; Darien 1:52.99.

200 Freestyle – Lynch (G) 1:47.83; Payton Foster (G) 1:55.13; Maggie Sedlack (D) 1:56.7; Kendall Luecke (D) 1:56.94; Paige Volpe (NC) 1:57.2.

200 Individual Medley – Maddie Haley (NC) 2:08.42; Victoria Liu (G) 2:10.87; Samantha Ennis (G) 2:12.5; Gracie Spataro (D) 2:13.05; Kelci Haley (NC) 2:14.21.

50 Freestyle – Natalie Ferranto (D) 24.5; Annie Edwards (Wst/Stm) 25.38; Sabrina Hobert (G) 25.37; Lily Bradbury (D) 25.55; Emma Gustafsson (G) 25.78.

Diving – Annie Bingle (G) 461.25; Hannah Chuckas (Wst/Stm) 422.1; Natalie Penman (NC) 417.5; Kaitlyn Maggio (NC) 401.85; Ella Olafsson (NC) 386.95.

100 Butterfly – Li (G) 58.06; Hope Murray (D) 59.05; Kelci Haley (NC) 59.16; Emily Kalvaitis (D) 59.97; Sedlack (D) 1:00.03.

100 Freestyle – Luecke (D) 54.0; Edwards (Wst/Stm) 54.51; Olivia Golden (D) 55.21; Hobert (G) 55.5; Sofie Wang (G) 55.62.

500 Freestyle – Lynch (G) 4:46.76; Foster (G) 4:58.26; Liu (G) 5:13.24; Spataro (D) 5:14.17; Daisy Decker (G) 5:15.26.

200 Freestyle Relay – Darien (Sedlak, Kalvaitis, Ferranto, Luecke) 1:39.91; New Canaan 1:43.05; Greenwich 1:43.48.

100 Backstroke – Haley (NC) 56.6; Golden (D) 58.41; Ennis (G) 58.53; Isabella Malchow (G) 59.95; Milena Judge (Wst/Stm) 1:01.39.

100 Breaststroke – Li (G) 1:06.79; Sydney Jee (G) 1:08.06; Sophia Sichtnik (G) 1:08.15; Kaylana Couture (NC) 1:10.93; Wang (G) 1:12.06.

400 Freestyle Relay – Greenwich (Lynch, Hobert, Li, Foster) 3:30.89; Darien 3:41.93; New Canaan 3:43.84.

Central Region Championships

200 Yard Medley Relay – Ridgefield 1:51.12; Wilton 1:52.07; Norwalk/McMahon 1:58.49.

200 Freestyle – Rylie Giles (R) 1:53.81; Jessica Qi (S) 1:55.67; Virginia Hastings (W) 1:55.82; Abby Gardner (W) 1:59.58;

200 Individual Medley – Miranda Bonitatebus (R) 2:11.72; Hannah Strauss (S) 2:14.33; Olivia Crisafulli (W) 2:14.4; Sydney Lillis (W) 2:16.3; Libby Turner (S) 2:17.85.

50 Freestyle – Ava Fasano (W) 24.03; Emma Levine (R) 25.53; Sophia Mechanic (S) 25.75; Carolyn Hendricks (W) 25.95; Kira Tomoda (S) 26.41.

Diving – Alexandra Pereira (N/M) 327.05; Maddie Thomas (R) 316.1; Sofia Cueva (N) 303.4; Kaelyn Talisse (R) 297.95; Ella Arghirescu (W) 284.85.

100 Butterfly – Hannah Seward (R) 55.98; Strauss (S) 2:14.33; Crisafulli (W) 2:14.4; Lillis (W) 2:16.3; Turner (S) 2:17.85.

100 Freestyle – Qi (S) 53.17; Seward (R) 53.45; Strauss (S) 54.81; Kongettira (W) 55.1; Avery Newcomer (W) 55.45.

500 Freestyle – Giles (R) 5:02.74; Hastings (W) 5:12.01; Gardner (W) 5:21.47; Caroline Kelly (R) 5:25.39; Sophia Gimby (W) 5:32.61.

200 Freestyle Relay – Staples (Qi, Mechanic, Ella Alpert, Strauss) 1:41.05; Wilton 1:41.5; Ridgefield 1:44.64.

100 Backstroke – Fasano (W) 56.85; Riley Riebling (R) 1:00.39; Alpert (S) 1:00.64; Turner (S) 1:01.99; Alejandra (N/M) 1:03.28.

100 Breaststroke – Morgan Saunders (N/M) 1:08.02; Newcomer (W) 1:08.79; Bonitatebus (R) 1:09.35; Levine (R) 1:12.37; Georgia Milton (R) 1:12.72.

400 Freestyle Relay – Staples (Alpert, Mechanic, Strauss, Qi) 3:38.92; Ridgefield 3:40.58, Wilton 3:41.37.

East Region Championships

Team Scores: Trumbull 574, Fairfield Warde 459, Fairfield Ludlowe 322, St. Joseph 270.

200 Medley Relay – Trumbull (Norah Hampford, Kristen Racicot, Lauren Walsh, Jacqueline Dale) 1:53.4; St. Joseph 1:59.33; Fairfield Warde 2:00.34.

200 Freestyle – Bridget Negron (FW) 2:06.36; Elizabeth Fletcher (FW) 2:06.87; Lauren Clark (T) 2:09.66; Caitlyn Dale (T) 2:09.75; Camilia Rosales (T) 2:09.88.

200 Individual Medley – Kristen Racicot (T) 2:18.34; Abigail Ripka (FW) 2:22.04; Abby Hanson (T) 2:24.11; Hailey Arman (FL) 2:25.57; Clara Patterson (FW) 2:29.6.

50 Freestyle – Kate Murray (FL) 25.1; Mary Ryan (FW) 25.32; Julia Stellato (FW) 25.63; Jacqueline Dale (T) 26.14; Kelsey Farber (FL) 26.53.

100 Butterfly – Kristen Racicot (T) 1:03.4; Caitlyn Dale (T) 1:05.38; Rebecca Kushel (FW) 1:05.64; Sumanvi Annavajjhala (T) 1:07.29; Erin Racicot (T) 1:08.9.

100 Freestyle – Daniele Tanaka Sales (SJ) 55.69; Ryan (FW) 56.44; Hampford (T) 56.94; Rosales (T) 59.68; Negron (FW) 59.88.

500 Freestyle – Walsh (T) 4:58.13; Elizabeth Fletcher (FW) and Rebecca Kushel (FW) tied for 2nd, 5:46.08; Kylie Totten (T) 5:52.25; Hannah Natlo (T) 5:52.26.

200 Freestyle Relay – Trumbull (Lorlai Dale, Clark, Audrey Kehley, Dale) 1:46.37; Fairfield Warde 1:48.22; Fairfield Ludlowe 1:51.83.

100 Backstroke – Hampford (T) 1:03.02; Stellato (FW) 1:03.09; Dale (T) 1:05.35; Murray (FW) 1:05.38; Clark (T) 1:06.19.

100 Breaststroke – Walsh (T) 1:02.12; Tanaka Sales (SJ) 1:09.66; Ripka (FW) 1:14.5; Anisha Kurup (T) 1:17.72; Patterson (FW) 2:29.6.

400 Freestyle Relay – Trumbull (Rosales, Hampford, Kristen Racicot, Walsh) 3:47.86; Fairfield Warde 3:54.6; Fairfield Ludlowe (3:58.8).

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