Greenwich wins two state titles in banner year for FCIAC swimming & diving

NEW HAVEN – Kelly Montesi and Meghan Lynch each excelled in postseason championship meets with many victories while also setting meet and state records in individual races to help Greenwich’s girls swimming and diving team sweep the state Class LL and State Open championship meets for the third consecutive year.

Montesi, a senior, was a double champion in individual races. Lynch, the freshman phenom, had a record-setting victory and a tie for second place.

Montesi and Lynch were also teammates on victorious and runner-up relay teams to lead the Cardinals to a convincing victory at the 2017 Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference State Open Girls Swimming and Diving Championships at Yale University on Nov. 18.

Greenwich scored 633.5 points to win the State Open by a comfortable margin over runner-up Cheshire, which had 477 points.

The Cardinals led a dominant showing by the FCIAC at the State Open. Conference teams finished in three of the top four places, there were six FCIAC teams among the top eight and seven in the top 10.

Staples placed third with 344 points, just three ahead of fourth-place Ridgefield. New Canaan (322.5 points), Darien (283) and Wilton (248) finished in places 6-through-8, respectively. The Brien McMahon/Norwalk cooperative program was 10th with 177.5.

Greenwich won its seventh consecutive CIAC Class LL Girls Swimming and Diving Championships and led a conference sweep of the top seven positions in the team standings four days prior to the State Open.

Greenwich racked up 828 points in the Class LL championship meet on Nov. 14 at Wesleyan University. Ridgefield placed second with 535 and was followed by Staples (475), Brien McMahon/Norwalk (397), Trumbull (369.5), Fairfield Ludlowe (303.5) and the Westhill/Stamford cooperative program (299).

Darien placed second at the Class L championship meet while leading a trio of FCIAC teams in places 2-through-4. Cheshire won with 854 points and was followed by Darien (665), New Canaan (611) and Wilton (581).

Montesi won the 100-yard butterfly and 100 backstroke as she and Lynch led Greenwich to its 10th State Open crown since 2005.

Montesi established two new records when she won the 100 fly in 53.88. She broke her own year-old state record of 54.03 and the previous meet record of 54.16 which Amity’s Dana Grindall set in 2012. Montesi dominated the butterfly as she touched the wall 3.09 seconds ahead the runner-up. She later won the backstroke (54.87) by 1.91 seconds.

Lynch had a victory in the 200 individual medley and tied New Canaan senior Lizzy Colwell for second place in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.38). Lynch won the 200 IM in 2:00.08 to break the previous state and meet records by .82 of a second as Faith Martin of St. Paul set those previous records of 2:00.9 at the 2010 State Open. Lynch won the 200 IM by 3.51 seconds.

Also placing high for the Cardinals in individual events at the State Open, senior Lillian Clisham was runner-up in the 200 freestyle (1:51.54) and fourth in the 500 free (5:01.11), senior diver Katherine Russack (481.5 points) was third, and senior Juilia Merrill took fifth in the 100 free (52.77).

The quartet of Montesi, Lynch, Clisham and Merrill won the 400 free relay (3:27.0) in the final event of the meet after Montesi and Lynch teamed up with freshman Samantha Ennis and senior Louisa Bjerke to placed second in the 200 medley relay (1:44.53), the meet’s opening event. Merrill and Bjerke were later joined by juniors Kortney Knudsen and Emily Warner on the runner-up 200 free relay team (1:37.98).

Lynch set two meet records and Montesi also won two individual races at the Class LL championships.

Lynch won the 200 IM in 2:01.34 to break Montesi’s meet record of 2:03.26 (2016), and her winning time of 1:03.14 broke the 100 breaststroke meet record of 1:03.67 which Greenwich’s Emily Weir set in 2009.

Montesi won the backstroke (55.07) and butterfly. Montesi’s butterfly victory in 54.03 broke her own year-old meet record of 54.91.

Russack was the Class LL diving champion (486.1 points) for the Cardinals.

Esme Hunter, a sophomore, and junior Marissa Healy led Staples to its third place in the State Open team standings by combining to score 113 team points.

Hunter won the 100 free in 51.3 and was runner-up in the 100 backstroke (56.78) to score 57 individual points and Healy scored 56 points with a victory in the 50 free (23.63) and a third place in the 100 butterfly (56.99).

Hunter and Healy both placed second in their two respective specialty races while leading Staples to third place in the Class L championship meet. Hunter was runner-up in the 100 free (51.89) and 100 backstroke (57.37) while Healy took second in the 50 free (23.54) and 100 fly (56.64).

New Canaan junior Claire Ross won the one-meter diving with 498.6 points as the FCIAC had individual champions in six of the nine individual events at the State Open. Ross previously became the Class L diving champion with 498.1 points.

New Canaan senior Lizzy Colwell placed third in the 200-yard IM (2:05.47) before she and Greenwich’s Lynch finished in that dead-heat tie in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.03) at the State Open. Three days earlier at Wesleyan, Colwell was runner-up in the breaststroke (1:03.03) and third in the 200 IM (2:06.99) at the Class L meet.

Darien senior Carly Rutledge placed third in the 500 free (5:00.11) and fourth in the 200 IM (2:05.98) while her senior teammate, Isabel Blaze, was fourth in the butterfly (57.12) at the State Open.

In the Class L meet, the Blue Wave finished second and was led by runner-up finishes from Rutledge in the 200 IM (2:05.83) and 500 (5:00.51), and junior Cassandra Maroney in the 50 free (24.3) and 100 free (52.69).

Ridgefield junior Anna Turner was third in the 200 free (1:52.43) at the State Open four days after she won that race in 1:51.25 at the Class LL meet.

Ludlowe senior Sarah Grinalds established a new meet record of 23.22 when she won the Class LL 50 freestyle in 2016 and incredibly enough she tied her own meet record with that exact same time while defending her title. Grinalds won by .32 of a second over Staples’ Healy, who was second with a 23.54, which was actually .9 of a second faster than Healy’s State Open winning time of 23.63. Grinalds, who did not swim in the State Open, displayed her versatility when she won the Class LL 500 in 4:55.1.

NOTES: Former Westhill/Stamford diving star Rachel Burston still has the meet and state records of 534.75 points. As for the former FCIAC swimmers who still hold state or State Open meet records in the individual races, Ridgefield’s Marcella McGuire set the state and meet record of 54.13 in the 100 backstroke two years ago, and Darien’s Kaki Christensen set the State Open record time of 1:02.56 in the 100 breaststroke last year.

Greenwich swept the state class and State Open championships for the 15th time since it first accomplished that feat in 1980. Since then, the Cardinals have collected 28 state class meet titles and 18 State Open championships.

Meghan Lynch and the Greenwich Cardinals swimming and diving team won FCIAC, Class LL and State Open titles in 2017. — Dave Stewart/HAN Network photo

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