Losing a four-time high school All-American swimmer to graduation would certainly impact most swim teams.
But despite losing four-time All-American swimmer Dana Grindall, now competing for the University of Wisconsin, the Amity Spartans haven’t lost a beat with a 4-0 start to this dual meet regular season (not including Tuesday’s meet hosting West Haven).
“After losing performers like Dana Grindall and even Anna Lu, and Amanda Craig to graduation, there are definitely holes to be filled in the lineup,” Amity coach Todd Rainey said. “But our seniors have done a great job of taking over the leadership roles from last year’s class. Our four captains each have specialties where they have shown leadership.
“Jenny Schwartz and Liz Lubin in the freestyle events, Melissa Gulia in the breaststroke and Jessica Kochiss in the 200 free and the butterfly have all responded well along with other the seniors. (Seniors) Natalie Ambrosey has responded well in the breaststroke and also Kaitlyn Merriam and Kiley Saxa in the diving event. Our seniors have seen a good deal of success through their careers and are doing a good job of sharing their experience with the younger girls.”
The Spartans will have their biggest test of the season on Thursday at Glastonbury at 5 p.m. Other top meets include at Branford on Oct. 18 at 4 p.m. and with host Cheshire on Oct. 22 at Hamden Hall at 6 p.m. (Cheshire’s pool is not available due to the collapse of its bubble roof last winter).
Amity, Cheshire and Branford are considered the teams to beat for the Southern Connecticut Conference meet championship, which will be held Oct. 30 at Southern Connecticut State University.
“As far as being one of the teams to beat, we have some talent and depth but we’re a very young and untested team,” Rainey said. “It’s going to be interesting to see how the girls respond when they’re facing Glastonbury, Branford, or Cheshire. With the potential that these girls have and the work that they’ve been putting in, we hope to be able to challenge those teams.”
In addition to the aforementioned swimmers, Maddie Snow and Dana Chung are among the top competitors for the Spartans.
“Maddie Snow and Dana Chung have continued to improve and look to add to their previous accomplishments,” Rainey said. “Both are very versatile but we’ve seen Maddie excel in the 200 freestyle and the 500 freestyle while Dana is more of a sprint freestyler. The freshmen and sophomores have been very impressive early on and should provide quality depth as the season moves on.
“With Glastonbury on Thursday, the girls won’t have wait long to see how they will stack up against a state power. The (CIAC) Class LL championships and the (CIAC) State Open meet seem far off but the girls have their eyes on them already. A top-10 finish at each of those meets seem like reasonable goals.”
SUCCESS FOR SEYMOUR
The Seymour girls’ swim team improved to 5-0 on Sept. 23 with a 92-78 win over St. Paul. With this win, Seymour matched its total wins (five) from last season. The Wildcats followed that up with a 82-78 win over East Haven on Sept. 25 to improve to 6-0.
“We have nine meets to go and Seymour hasn’t had a season like this since the fall of 2009 when we finished 11-1,” said Seymour coach Missy Orosz. “What a great start and team effort it has been.”
Among the top swimmers for Seymour are Emma Crocamo, Amber Kay, Raeanne Geffert and Rose Washbrook.