Lions score top 10 finish

The goal for the Foran girls swim team coming into the 2012 season was simple, but it wasn’t an easy task.
Head coach Kristin Skuches felt the team had the talent to finish with a winning record for the first time since the 2006 season.
The Lions started out slow at 2-5 and it appeared they would miss the mark. But a four-point win over Shelton stopped the losing streak and Foran went on to win the final four meets to finish at 6-5 in the dual-meet season.
Led by senior captains Alexandra Corsi, Makaila Cavender, Valerie Mackin and two-time state finalist Janel Crespo, the Lions were not to be denied.
Seniors Morgan Preiss, Elissa Paulino and Kim Panettieri, along with Kathryn Alderman and Rosario Mariano’s presence on the pool deck helped the younger swimmers raise the bar.
At the Class M state championship meet on the campus of Wesleyan University on Nov. 13, Foran left a lasting impression on a successful season by finishing in the top 10.
Branford won the Class M championship, scoring a team total of 694 points, with Brookfield taking second at 521 points and Wethersfield placed third at 488 points.
The surprise team of the meet was Foran, as the Lions racked up 227 points, good for 10th place in the field of 21 teams — their highest finish in 15 years.
“Given the unfortunate time frame of the hurricane and snowstorm, which impacted crucial practice time, these accomplishments are very impressive,” Skuches said.
“It says a lot about how the girls were not only physically prepared, but mentally prepared to swim and dive their best.”
Last season Foran managed 148 team points and finished in 15th place.
The Lions came right out of the blocks this year at states and got everyone’s attention after posting a season-best time in the 200 medley relay.
The foursome of Cara Dube, Hannah Johnson, Crespo and Cavender set a new school record at 2:01.19, and that set the tone for the remainder of the meet.
Two other school records were broken.
The Lions’ 400 relay team of Mackin, Corsi, Dube and Crespo shattered a 29-year mark with a time of 3:56.38 to finish eighth.
Crespo also set a school mark at the time trials putting up a 1:02.02 in the backstroke.
“The biggest surprise was that initially I was hoping we’d have one record fall this year,” Skuches said. “But to have three is a great feat and it says a lot about how far we have come as a team.”
The 200 freestyle team of Jillian Page, Corsi, Cavender and Mackin posted a season-best time of 1:50.60 to finish 13th, as the Lions continued to raise the bar.
Foran showed its depth when Johnson and Erica Hanson swam to a 21st and 22nd-place finish in the 100 breaststroke in respective times of 1:18.30 and 1:18.39.
Mackin raced to a 13th-place finish in the 50 freestyle at 26.52 and a 20th finish in the 100 freestyle at 59.21.
Dube had a strong sixth-place finish in the backstroke at 1:03.46 and a seventh-place finish in the 200 IM at 2:20.48.
Crespo was seventh in the backstroke at 1:03.66 and placed 11th in the butterfly at 1:03.46.
Junior diver Tiana Lazo was right in the middle of the pack posting solid numbers of 252.70 points to place 16th.
“It’s important at the time trials to swim your fastest,” Skuches after. “I knew after the trials we had that it was possible for us to sneak into the top ten.
“The girls really worked hard for this and their effort showed. Certainly a great season with our highest finish in 15 years.”