Greenwich girls swim team takes home CIAC class LL title with 891 points

The Greenwich High School swimming and diving team poses for a team photo with the CIAC class LL championship trophy during Wednesday's meet at Wesleyan University. — Paul Silverfarb photo

The Greenwich High School swimming and diving team poses for a team photo with the CIAC class LL championship trophy during Wednesday’s meet at Wesleyan University. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Although it’s her first year at the helm of the Greenwich High School girls swimming and diving program, Lorraine Najam was able to help the Lady Cardinals bring home its fifth consecutive Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference class LL championship.

“I am ecstatic right now,” Najam said. “We swam really well. We had a lot of lifetime bests and the girls are a ton of hard workers. This is very rewarding for them and it’s very rewarding for me to help them get here. It’s been a blast.”

During Wednesday night’s meet at the Wesleyan University pool, Big Red won the event in convincing fashion, posting 891 points. In distant second was Staples High School with 537 points. Taking home the bronze medal was Norwalk/Brien McMahon with 469 points.

Glastonbury finished the class LL meet fourth with 434 points and Newtown rounded out the top five with 428 points.

“I think everybody was thrilled with all their times,” senior Isobel Walker said. “Across the board we had best times. Going into the LL trials, people were dropping times by multiple seconds in their events, so I think dropping even more time in the finals made everyone feel so good. Winning this was awesome.”

For Walker, this victory, Greenwich’s fifth consecutive class LL championship, meant that she will leave the Lady Cardinals’ swim program never losing the state class LL meet.

“Coming into this season, I was nervous about how things would be different,” Walker said. “But leaving this meet knowing I’ve won it all four years is such a great feeling. The season couldn’t have gone any better than it has been. I’m really happy and happy for our coach as well.”

For the Lady Cardinals, no one had a more memorable day than freshman Sophia Jahan. She started her night by taking care of business in the 200-yard freestyle event. Competing hard with Ridgefield’s Erin McIntee, it was Jahan that touched the wall first and won the class LL champion, posting a time of 1:54.60.

“This is amazing,” Jahan said. “I am really excited that I dropped this much time in a single meet. I was shocked when I touched the wall because I didn’t think I would go this fast. I have never done that before. I really wanted to win and the team really wanted to win. Everybody had great swims.”

Jahan kept the good times rolling in the longest event of the night, the 500-yard freestyle. Pacing strong, the GHS freshman grabbed her second gold of the day by winning the event with a time of 5:11.21. Jahan was three second better than teammate Sarah Bellamy, a junior, as she finished with the silver and a time of 5:14.35.

“She was absolutely out of control,” Najam said. “I can’t even believe how fast she swam tonight. She puts in the work every day and she deserves every bit of what she got today. Those were great races and lifetime bests. I couldn’t ask for more than that. Winning those events are all about how hard you train and for both events she put in the time. She’s a phenomenal freestyler and has a great feel for the water. She had what it took today.”

Also having a standout night was freshman Kelly Montesi, who kept the good times rolling in the 200-yard individual medley.

Although Staples’ Amelia Bullock won the event with a time of 2:05.28, it was Montesi that grabbed the silver and a time of 2:06.92. Right behind Montesi was junior Brooke Collins, who posted a third place time of 2:07.75.

In the 100-yard butterfly event, Montesi once again finished second on the night, touching the wall with a time of 58.08 seconds. Again she was behind Bullock, who won the event with a time of 55.18.

“As a freshman, this is an amazing feeling right now,” Montesi said. “The support of my teammates really helped me today, but we’ve been working on our training for a long time now. I was nervous, but coach told me that I was training for a while now and working really hard. I kept that in my mind and that was a huge help.”

In addition to her third place in the in the 200-yard individual medley, Collins fared one better in the 100-yard breaststroke, grabbing the silver medal with a time of 1:06.38.

“Kelly has been working so hard on her turns and I thought her transitions were great today,” Najam said. “She came in with a great attitude and was ready to go.

In the 50-yard freestyle, the quickest event of the day, senior captain Isobel Walker was lights out in the event. Besting her preliminary time seventh in the event, Walker touched the wall third overall with a time of 24.49 seconds, inches away from Amity Regional’s Dana Chung, who took second with a time of 24.30.

“I couldn’t be happier for Isobel,” Najam said. “She’s one of our captains and has been great all season. She’s here every day and works hard. With a team with so many freshmen, she was showing them what it is like to be ready for a race and to do all the training that they need to do. We are really going to miss her next year.”

Later in the night, Walker took to the pool once more for competition in the 100-yard backstroke and finished the event with the bronze medal, touching the wall with a time of 59.62.

“I am thrilled and went two best times,” Walker said. “It shows that all the hard work we put into this meet has paid off across the board. I couldn’t be happier with how I did and I think everybody else is happy with how they did. We are all leaving this meet feeling really good.”

Also having a stellar class LL finals was Sarah Bellamy, as the junior finished fifth place overall in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:57.35. She also had a much better outcome in the 500-yard freestyle, grabbing second overall with a standout time of 5:14.35.

While Jahan took top honors in the 200-yard freestyle, senior Patricia Kohn wasn’t far behind, as she took fourth overall in the event with a time of 1:57.27. Later in the day, Kohn battled in the 100-yard backstroke event. She won the B-finals and took ninth place overall with a time of 1:01.40.

Another Greenwich High athlete with two top 10 finishes was junior Riley Ennis. Competing in the 100-yard breaststroke, Ennis was strong, touching the wall third overall with a time of 1:08.82. She also took part in the 200-yard freestyle and finished ninth overall with a time of 1:59.20.

Teammate Julia Merrill, a junior, was not going to be denied in two events. During the 100-yard freestyle, she took home a fifth place time of 54.37. In the 50-yard freestyle, Merrill cracked the top 10 by finishing 10th overall (25.18).

Several other athletes had personal best times. Ainsleigh Winget competed in the 50-yard freestyle and took a ninth place time of 24.99. In the 100-yard backstroke, Farrah Frattaroli grabbed a podium spot by finishing sixth with a time of 1:00.71.

Competing in the 100-yard backstroke was Taylor Schinto, who ended the meet seventh overall and picked up a time of 1:01.46.

Finishing in the top 10 of the 200-yard individual medley was freshman Lillian Clishman, as she took home a time of 2:15.53. Clishman also fared well in the 100-yard butterfly, grabbing 12th overall with a time of 1:01.57.

While the Cardinals were on fire individual, the GHS relay team was dominating as well. Leading the way was the 400-yard freestyle foursome of Merrill, Montesi, Winget and Jahan, as they shaved nearly five seconds off their preliminary time and grabbed gold with a time of 3:37.18. They just beat out Staples, as the Wreckers took second with a time of 3:37.37.

Walker, Collins, Montesi and Schinto started the class LL meet by competing in the 200-yard medley relay and finished with the silver and a time of 1:48.81. Winget, along with Merrill, Porter Carlson and Jahan, were teammates in the 200-yard freestyle medley and finished with another second place for Big Red, touching the wall with a time of 1:39.89.

“I have to put this all on the kids,” Najam said. “They have a new coach and still trusted what we were doing. We worked harder than most have been asked to work in a long time. It’s rewarding for the kids to see that they can get this in the end.”

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