Greenwich High girls swim/dive team wins CIAC class LL crown in commanding fashion

The Greenwich High School girls swimming and diving team were a determined group of Cardinals during the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference class LL finals.

Dominating the meet from start to finish, the Lady Cards grabbed the class LL title with 816 points. In addition, they won the meet in impressive fashion, taking home numerous conference records.

“They were fantastic tonight,” Greenwich High School head coach Dick Hawks said. “We didn’t have a bad swim the whole night. We dropped times at trials, turned around and dropped even bigger drops tonight. They did a great job. It was awesome to watch.”

 

Greenwich’s total was nearly 300 points better than second place Cheshire High School, which took the silver with 555 points. Amity Regional placed third overall with 517 points and Hall High School grabbed fourth with 415.5 points. Glastonbury rounded out the top five with 363 points.

“We were definitely going into this meet on a mission because we saw how fast Darien swam,” GHS junior Katie Evans said. “We definitely had a lot of accomplish and, across the board, every single person dropped from their best time. For the team to do that, that gives me a lot of confidence for the Opens. We just swam out of our minds today.”

Throughout the meet, the Lady Cardinals were shattering class LL records, finishing with four on the evening.

“This was the best feeling,” GHS senior Maddie Dunn said. “We had a lot of high goals going into this and we hit them one by one. We got increasingly better and definitely have a lot of things to look forward to. We had a few meets this year that didn’t go as we planned, so this was a great night for us.”

In the 200-yard individual medley, no one was better than Katie Evans. Her performance dominated the competition, as she touched the wall with a class LL record time of 2:04.25. McMahon/Norwalk’s Stephanie Czulewicz was the next closest, taking the silver with a time of 2:10.12. The old record was set in 2011 and was a time of 2:04.48.

“(Katie’s) older sister was a great at the IM and won the event here,” Hawks said. “She turned around and went faster than her older sister and she’s got a year left. She had a great breaststroke time, but I think she can go faster. For her to go back out and go 53.1 (seconds) in the relay after going 1:05 just before was great. She’s such a tough kid and such a beautiful swimmer. All four strokes are great and there’s nothing to fix.”

Not to be outdone was Dunn in the 50-yard freestyle. Her time of 23.89 seconds not only edged out McMahon/Norwalk’s Dana Grindall, but also captured the class LL record, which was 23.94.

“I’ve been looking at that record for years and to finally break it was awesome,” Dunn said. “To go under 24 (seconds) was amazing. The first time I broke 25 was at this pool and I knew the first time I broke 24 would be here too. It was a great evening.”

Two of Greenwich’s three relays also netted class LL record times. Big Red finished the conference championships in dramatic fashion, as the team of Dunn, along with juniors Kim Hill, Christina Frias and Evans, competed in the 400-yard freestyle. While the outcome of the event wasn’t in question, Big Red touched the wall with a time of 3:30.16, beating the old class LL record time of 3:30.17 set in 2011.

“I was really excited with how I did,” Evans said. “I hit my taper and I had everybody supporting me. Actually the most exciting thing for me about the meet was the last relay because my teammates were upset because we thought we missed the record, but all of a sudden we looked up and beat the record. That was an amazing feeling.”

Another record fell for in the 200-yard freestyle relay, as the Greenwich foursome of Dunn, Frias, sophomore Porter Carlson and Hill smashed the record set back in 2009 by posting a time of 1:37.74. Hall High School took second in the event, but were over a second behind Big Red.

Big Red started the class LL meet in grand fashion, as Big Red took home the gold in the 200-yard medley relay, as the foursome of sophomore Isobel Walker, freshman Riley Ennis, Katie Evans and Porter Carlson touched the wall with a time of 1:48.92, nearly two seconds faster than Amity.

The combination out GHS junior Christina Frias and Kim Hill gave Big Red 53 points in the 200-yard freestyle event, as Hill took second overall with a time of 1:54.04 and Frias grabbed the bronze with a time of 1:55.87.

Big Red added to its lead in the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard freestyle. Frias finished the butterfly event second overall, touching the wall with a time of 56.98. During the 100-yard freestyle, the combination of Dunn and Hill finished strong, battling neck-in-neck throughout. Hill ended up grabbing the gold with a time of 52.08, while Dunn was close behind and took second with a time of 52.46.

“The meet went perfect today,” Hill said. “We got all our goals and now we are going into Opens seeing what we can improve on. It’s going to be a really fun meet and we’re looking forward to it. However, we are thrilled with today. Everybody did well and got best times.”

Three Greenwich athletes reached the podium during the 100-yard breaststroke event. Leading the way was Evans, who won her second gold of the evening, touching the wall first with a time of 1:05.11. Ennis netted the bronze in the event with a time of 1:07.52, while teammate Haley Sylvester, a junior, took sixth overall with a time of 1:09.27.

Competing in the 500-yard freestyle event, GHS junior Claire Baxter finished sixth overall and earned a spot on the medal podium with a time of 5:16.65 and was three seconds better than Norwalk/McMahon’s Lauren Czulewicz.

Other Greenwich High swimmers had a stellar evening at Wesleyan University.

In addition to her swim in the 200-yard medley relay, Walker took 10th overall in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 25.31. Not to be outdone was sophomore Patricia Kohn, who took 11th overall in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:00.70 and 16th overall in the 200-yard freestyle, touching the wall with a time of 2:01.22.

Senior Nicole Bellamy finished the 200-yard individual medley 14th overall, netting a time of 2:18.61.

Big Red had two more finishers in the 100-yard butterfly, as senior captain Kate Madoff took home 10th place overall with a time of 1:00.32 and senior Hannah Bear placed two spots away, picking up a time of 1:00.78.

“It’s awesome coming here and winning this meet my senior year as a captain,” Madoff said. “It’s awesome and it feels really good. This is just helping end the season on a good note. I got a season best and I was happy with that. Hopefully going into Opens I can do better.”

The Cardinals can enjoy the class LL championship for a bit, but soon the attention will be to the CIAC state open finals, which are Saturday afternoon at Yale University.

“We need to enjoy this tonight on the way home, but tomorrow morning we need to get up, go to school, get in the water in the afternoon and swim this meet out of our system,” Hawks said. “We need to fine tune a few things, but there’s not a lot left to do. We’re getting their meet through their system so they can feel good on Saturday.”

“We are going to try and continue what we did today and maybe improve on a couple of things,” Hill said. “We are going in there hoping we could win another year.”

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