Greenwich High rebounds from FCIACs, dominates class LL swim finals

Greenwich High sophomore Riley Ennis hits the water in the FCIAC championship. During the CIAC class LL finals, Ennis took 10th in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:09.58. — Dave Stewart photo

Greenwich High sophomore Riley Ennis hits the water in the FCIAC championship. During the CIAC class LL finals, Ennis took 10th in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:09.58. — Dave Stewart photo

This was a determined group of Greenwich High School swimmers.

During the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference class LL championship meet, held earlier tonight at Southern Connecticut State University, Big Red started out by winning the first event of the night, the 200-yard medley relay, and never looked back.

Rebounding from a disappointing FCIAC championship meet, the Lady Cardinals came away with the class LL championship with 804.5 points. The next closest team was Amity Regional High School in second with 513 points. Glastonbury picked up the bronze with 500.5 points. McMahon/Norwalk finished the meet fourth overall with 477 points and Staples rounded out the top five with 380 points.

“They are all different, so that’s why (winning) never gets old,” Greenwich High School head coach Dick Hawks said. “This group I have here has so much less talent than some of the other teams that won, but to see them fill in one swimmer in one event and another swimmer in another event, or go back-to-back swims was great. We did stuff tonight that we’ve never done with the lineup and that takes some really tough kids.”

While Big Red didn’t have that dominating swimmer that won multiple events, this year it was a team effort that helped bring the title back to Hillside Road.

Leading the way for Big Red was senior Christina Frias. After she helped her team win the 200-yard medley relay, Frias was right back in the pool for the 200-yard freestyle event. Instead of showing fatigue, Frias grew stronger and finished the event second overall with a time of 1:53.22.

Frias also finished second in the 100-yard butterfly event, bringing home a time of 56.61 seconds.

“It feels amazing to win again,” Frias said. “Everybody on the team is so happy and so proud to come back here and win. It was a team effort and everybody was so happy to be here and help each other out. At FCIACs we were swimming a little tired, but we started tapering and tonight we are almost at the conclusion of our tapering. We are feeling good now.”

Another standout performance came from Isobel Walker. Just like Frias, Walker helped Big Red win the 200-yard freestyle relay event, but was immediately back in the pool the following event, competing in the 100-yard backstroke. In the backstroke, Walker helped the Lady Cardinal net a top five finish and some key points, finishing fourth overall with a time of 59.85.

Walker wasn’t finished. In the 50-yard freestyle, the GHS junior went neck-in-neck with Newtown High’s Amy Martinelli and tied for fourth overall with a time of 25.05.

“I was really happy with how I did, considering this season we worked so hard,” Walker said. “With tapering, it’s really important that you’re rested and everybody feels so much better. It was great to help the team. It was really important that we stayed mentally tough and didn’t let our performance at FCIACs effect how we performed today or at trials. We came into this prepared.”

While only a sophomore, Big Red’s Brooke Collins scored some key points for the team. In the 200-yard individual medley, Collins  finished in second overall, netting a time of 2:10.63 and was nearly three seconds faster than third place Lindsay Gordon of Ridgefield.

Collins continued her impressive evening with in the 100-yard breaststroke, as she was neck-in-neck with GHS senior Katie Evans and Amity’s Megan Lasto. Her time of 1:08.76 was good enough for third overall and just beat out Lasto (1:09.07).

Greenwich really stretched its lead during two events. Competing in the 50-yard freestyle event, Big Red had three finishers in the top eight. Leading the way was senior Kim Hill, who took home the bronze with a time of 24.51. In addition to Walker’s fourth place performance, junior Porter Carlson’s time of 25.12 was good enough for sixth place.

Big Red iced the meet in the 500-yard freestyle, as three of the top five swimmers were all from Greenwich. Leading the way was senior Claire Baxter, who finished second overall with a time of 5:08.52. Fellow senior Jollis Jomo wasn’t far behind, grabbing third overall with a time of 5:10.93. Freshman Olivia Hallisey kept the good times rolling, as she finished fourth overall with a time of 5:11.22.

Cracking the top 10 in the 500-yard freestyle was junior Patricia Kohn, who finished ninth overall with a time of 5:20.18.

Almost three away from the first time she entered the pool in competition for Greenwich, senior Katie Evans returned to action and instantly made her presence felt. During the 100-yard breaststroke, Evans was battling with Ridgefield’s Lindsey Gordon for the top swimmer. However Evans took the silver, netting a time of 1:08.04. Gordon won the event with a time of 1:06.95.

In addition to the individual performances, Big Red had two of the three relay teams finish with the gold. In the opening event, the 200-yard medley relay, the foursome of Walker, Evans, Frias and Hill took top honors with a time of 1:48.09.

In the 200-yard freestyle, the team of Frias, Walker, Carlson and Hill took the gold with a time of 1:38.05. In the 400-yard freestyle relay, Carlson, Hallisey, senior Sara Rogers and Baxter finished fifth overall, posting a time of 3:43.01.

“The 200-free was a good event for us right away,” Hawks said. “We knew the 50-free would really be a strong event for us.”

The Lady Cardinals will finish its swim season on Saturday, when they hit the pool at Yale University for the CIAC class open championships at noon.

“We really need to keep up with our times,” Walker said. “Hopefully some people will do better than they did today and we really need to keep our momentum going. We need to stay strong.”

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