FCIAC girls swimming and diving teams star in state meets; Ridgefield hits triple crown

NEW HAVEN – Lily Archibald, a sophomore phenom, came up big to help Ridgefield High School’s girls swimming and diving team win its first State Open championship in school history.

Archibald had a victory and runner-up finish in individual races and swam the leadoff leg on two winning freestyle relay teams to lead the Tigers to the team title at the 2022 Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference State Open Girls Swimming and Diving Championships on Nov. 20 at Yale University’s Kiphuth Pool.

The State Open championship completed a Triple Crown season for coach Paul Marchese’s Tigers.

Ridgefield won its first CIAC Class LL state title on Nov. 16 after having won the FCIAC championships on Nov. 4. It was not the first state class championship in school history, however, as Ridgefield copped a Class L crown in 2004.

Archibald’s and her team’s achievements along with the usual excellence of Staples sophomore Annam Olasewere highlighted many stellar performances by FCIAC swimmers, divers, and teams at the State Open.

Ridgefield won with a team score of 478 points. Darien placed second with 388.5 points as the top two teams and four of the top six teams were FCIAC teams.

Cheshire (342 points) and Glastonbury (320) placed third and fourth, respectively, and were followed by FCIAC teams Staples (303) and defending State Open champion Greenwich (281).

Many conference athletes and teams had previous significant success at the state class championship meets several days before the State Open.

In addition to Ridgefield’s Tigers winning their Class LL state title, Darien won the CIAC Class L Girls Swimming and Diving Championships for the third consecutive season.

Archibald delivered her big performances at the State Open during the last half of the meet to help Ridgefield’s Tigers pull away for the victory by 89.5 points over runner-up Darien.

Archibald won the 100-yard butterfly by about a half of a second with her time of 54.57 in the middle of the meet.

Three events later, in the ninth event, Archibald teamed up with fellow sophomore teammates Madeline Muncy, Bridget Kelly and Keira Giles on the 200-yard freestyle relay team which set a state record for the second time in five days. The winning time of 1:35.48 was 0.14 of a second faster than the previous record of 1:35.62 which those four swimmers set at the Class LL state championship meet on Nov. 16.

There was a minimal break for Archibald as she was back in the pool in the next event to place second in the 100-yard backstroke (57.22).

And then in the meet’s final event, the 400 free relay, Archibald teamed up with Kelly, freshman Ava Ward, and Giles to win that with a 3:28.56. That same foursome in the same order established the new state record of 3:26.3 in the Class LL meet to break Greenwich’s state record of 3:27.0.

Ridgefield sophomore Riley McGerald, Kelly, and Ward all contributed significant points for the Tigers in individual events at the State Open. McGerald won the 100-yard breaststroke (1:05.76) by 0.77 of a second. Kelly scored 52 points by placing third in both the 200 free (1:52.34) and 500 free (5:04.04). Ward was just behind Kelly with a fourth place in the 200 free (1:52.62).

McGerald won two individual events – the 100 breaststroke (1:05.29) and the 200 individual medley (2:09.08) – while helping the Tigers win the state Class LL championship. They got their other three victories from Archibald in the 100 backstroke (57.66) and the two record-setting freestyle relay teams.

Ridgefield won the Class LL meet with 761 points. Defending state Class LL champion Greenwich placed second with 629 points.

Annam Olaseware may still be at the halfway point of her career, but the sophomore from Staples may have already legitimized herself as the best high school freestyle swimmer in state history, considering what she has already done in setting state records, and breaking her own records.

Olaseware is now the state record holder in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle races. She swept the 100 and 200 freestyle races at this year’s State Open.

Olaseware won the 200 free in 1:48.2 and that was .024 of a second behind her own record of 1:47.96. She swam an amazing 49.88 to set the state 100 freestyle record at this year’s Class LL championships and then won that in the State Open with a 50.07. Olaseware had set her state record time of 22.58 in the 50 free as a freshman last year at the State Open.

Annam Olaseware also swam the leadoff leg and was followed by Carly Waldman, Libby Tuner and her twin sister, Ayaan Olasewere, on the runner-up 200 free relay team (1:36.59). Ayaan Olasewere previously placed third in the 100 free (52.82).

New Canaan senior diver Kaitlyn Maggio was the other State Open individual champion from the FCIAC as she and defending champion Hannah Chukas, a senior from Westhill/Stamford, placed 1-2. Maggio surpassed the 500-point barrier with 505.4 points and Chukas had 487.2 points.

Darien junior Miller Ward racked up 53 points in individual events at the State Open by placing second in the 200-yard individual medley (2:03.62) and third in the 100-yard butterfly (55.61) while helping lead the Blue Wave to second place behind Ridgefield.

Ward, Margaret Erickson, Emily Kalvaitis and Natalia Ferranto teamed up to win the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:47.64 which was 0.53 of a second faster than runner-up Cheshire.

Ferranto scored 46.5 individual points by placing fourth in the 50 free (23.92) and tying for seventh in the 100 free (53.39).

Five days earlier Ward won the 200 IM (2:01.98) and 100 fly (55.52), Ferranto won the 50 free (23.89) and took second in the 100 free (52.96), and they were both on the winning medley relay team (1:46.59) with Erickson and Kalvaitis to lead Darien to the state Class L team championship by 201.5 points over runner-up Cheshire.

Coach Marj Trifone’s Blue Wave scored 789.5 points, Cheshire had 588, and FCIAC teams Wilton (478) and New Canaan (467) placed third and fourth, respectively at the Class L meet.

Another pair of swimmers who performed very well at the State Open were Wilton’s Virginia Hastings and Fairfield Ludlowe’s Kathleen Murray. Hastings was runner-up in the 500 (4:58).

Murray displayed her versatile range as a freestyler as she placed fifth in the 50 free (24.07) and later placed fifth in the 500 free (5:07.77).

Leave a Comment