Area swimmers gear up for SCC championship meet
Depth is a beautiful thing when it comes to success in high school girls swimming, and it’s a major factor when it comes to team titles in the postseason. Talent doesn’t hurt, either.
As the dual meet regular season winds down, depth will once again be a major factor for Cheshire, Amity and Lauralton Hall at the Southern Connecticut Conference championship meet. SCC qualifying will be held at Cheshire Community Pool on Nov. 1 at 5 p.m., the SCC diving championship will be held at Cheshire Community Pool on Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. and the SCC championships will be held at Southern Connecticut State on Nov. 3 at 6 p.m.
Cheshire is the overwhelming favorite to win the SCC team title. The Rams defeated two-time defending CIAC Class M champion Lauralton Hall on Monday 98-75 to finish the regular season 11-0 and clinch the SCC Division I title.
Cheshire has won 21 of 22 SCC meet team titles with Amity winning the title in 2011.
While Cheshire looks formidable as a team, many of the 16 SCC squads have individuals who will challenge for wins. One team is Foran and its best chance for an individual title will come in diving with Emma Longley. She won the event at last year’s meet and recently set a school record with 291.15 points in a 97-76 win over Sheehan.
“Emma’s strengths in diving are her athleticism and her drive,” said Foran coach Kristin Skuches. “She is a perfectionist and strives for the best in every dive she executes. Overall at the SCC meet, I see Cheshire as the team to beat followed by Amity and Lauralton Hall. Cheshire has extreme depth along with the talent necessary to win the meet.”
Other Foran swimmers who are possible contenders are Jordan MacDonald (100 Butterfly) and Sarah Fitzgerald, who won the 100 breaststroke at the SCC meet last season.
Additional defending champions to watch are Hand’s Allie Mascia, who won the 50 freestyle last year and was second in the 100 freestyle, Amity’s Katherine Alvarado, who won the 100 butterfly and Lauralton Hall’s Katherine Begg who won the 100 freestyle.
Other swimmers from outside the “Big Three” to watch include Casey Loughlin of Lyman Hall, Simona Visinski and Louise Kim of Shelton, Kayla Mendonca of Hand and Isabel Albinger and Gabija Karosas of Branford.
Among the many talented Cheshire swimmers are Danielle Dietrich, Cameryn Guetens, Lily Kurtz, Emily Murphy and Kathryn Robinson, Liz Boyer, Amanda Go, Samantha Grenon, Esther Han and diver Stephanie Silin. Swimmer Julia Stevens is among the standouts in a very strong freshmen class.
Among the many top swimmers for the Spartans are Alvarado, sisters Maggie Lasto and Megan Lasto, Elise Grabowski, Jackie Snow, Olivia Smith, Emily Cucurello, Emily Maranets and diver Juliet Melotto. Among the top swimmers for the Crusaders are Sasha Somuah, Shanon Dolan, Haleigh McLaughlin, Shannon Dolan, Haleigh McLaughlin, Maddy Barnick, Kay Begg, Caroline Sargent, Georgia Barnick, Ceili Clerkin, Katherine Connolly, Brenna McLaughlin, Bella Peneta, Bella Sacchiaroli, Rory Woods, and divers Lauren Buttling and Kelly Shaw.
The Seymour girls swim team hasn’t missed a beat this season with a 9-0 start after finishing 12-0 during the dual meet regular season in 2015. While the Lady Wildcats have the disadvantage of having no divers, they have compensated with depth and talent.
Helping with that depth is a group of freshmen making an immediate impact. Seymour coach Missy Orosz said freshmen making an impact are Ania Mrozik (50 freestyle/100 freestyle/relays), Jackie Pereira (backstroke), Lexi Robinson (distance events) and Elisa Hasaj (breaststroke).
“I am pleased we are 9-0 so far. We were lucky to have many new girls with a swimming background to join the team,” Orosz said. “We have a very strong returning group of swimmers led by Sierra Cripps (50 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke, relays). Hannah Tricarico is our most versatile swimmer who swims the 200 IM, 100 free and relays. But like Sierra I can put her anywhere to help secure points.”
Other top swimmers include co-captains Taylor Robinson and Skyler Szerszen who provide depth in sprinting and distance events and Tanya Sokatska excels in butterfly and breaststroke events. Other contributors include Stephanie Tabaka and Claudia Iacomacci.
The Lady Wildcats’ goals are to try to win the NVL meet (they were third last season) and improve on last season’s eighth-place finish at the Class S meet.
“We are always at a disadvantage at every meet because we have no diving board at our home pool and when we hit the road we have no divers,” Orosz said. “We lose valuable points that others have the opportunity to get. So our swimming is really spot on at times to make up those points.
“A big meet coming up for us will be a SCC matchup against Shelton on our senior night (Tuesday, Oct. 25). (Shelton coach) Tom Jurzynski was my longtime assistant coach and has a great program of his own. Many of the girls are excited that he can share in our senior night. We are going to have some great races that night.”
On Monday, the Lady Wildcats had their annual “Swim for Hope” Pink Meet to raise money for breast cancer awareness. The team sold tickets for raffle baskets and there was a 50-50 raffle with all proceeds donated to the Seymour Pink Foundation. The team raised $795.
Hopkins senior girls swimming standout Erin Earley has announced she will attend and compete at the University of Virginia.
Earley is coming off an exciting summer where she competed in three events at the United States Olympic Women’s Swimming Team Trials. She was 47th in the preliminaries of the 200 backstroke (2:15.31), 72nd in the preliminaries of the 100 backstroke (1:03.28) and 63rd in the preliminaries of the 400 individual medley (4:55.84).
At Hopkins, Earley won the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke at the 2016 NEPSAC Division I Swim Championships. She holds the New England Prep School records in the 200 individual medley, 100 backstroke, and 500 freestyle.
“Versatility and dedication to her sport has been the reason for Erin’s success,” Hopkins coach Chuck Elrick said. “She loves to be in the water. Her college choices came down to Virginia and Michigan. Both are excellent programs with excellent coaches but Virginia won out in the end.”
Dan Nowak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Dan on Twitter @NHRDanNowak.