NEW HAVEN — As usual, the Cheshire girls swim team had the depth to win the team title at the Southern Connecticut Conference Girls Swim Championships, but it was North Haven that came away with some impressive awards and individual victories.
Sophie Murphy won the 200 freestyle in 1 minute, 52.65 seconds and teammate Julia Stevens was second (1:56.08) to lead Cheshire to their eighth straight SCC girls swim meet team title with 1,225 points. The Rams also won the 200 freestyle reay (1:39.76) and the 400 freestyle relay (3:36.91).
This was the 26th SCC girls swim meet and the Rams have won the SCC title 25 times.
— Dan Nowak (@NHRDanNowak) November 5, 2019
“We graduated a lot of kids from last year’s team, so we challenged ourselves to do well in this meet,” Cheshire coach Dave Modzelewski said. “We focused on this meet a little more than we usual do and that should help us in states since we move up to Class LL this season.
“Depth is the key to win any swim championship. You need swimmers in the top three places, another in the top five and another in the top 10. The points all add up. A lot of our swimmers did well. Sophie Murphy’s swim in the 200 freestyle was outstanding. This is a nice springboard to the state meets.”
North Haven’s Madeline Bergin was a double winner in the meet with wins in the 50 freestyle (24.14) and the 100 freestyle (52.30).Teammate Angela Gambardella won twice too in the 200 individual medley (2:07.13) and 100 breaststroke (1:03.37).
— Dan Nowak (@NHRDanNowak) November 4, 2019
Prior to the start of the meet, Gambardella was named SCC Division I Athlete of the Year. North Haven coach Martha Phelan was named SCC Division 1 Coach of the Year and at the end of the meet Bergin was named the Outstanding Swimmer of the SCC Swim Championships.
Gambardella led from start to finish in the 200 individual medley.
“We started off the meet with a win in the 200 medley relay and that gave us all confidence,” Gambardella said. “I do well in the IM because my best event is the breaststroke and I build off that.
“I am so happy to get Athlete of the Year. That is amazing with all the great swimmers we have in the SCC. Starting off with a win and getting Coach of the Year and Athlete of the Year really pumped up the whole team.”
Bergin said a lot of hard work paid off for her.
“I know how hard I work at this and it is so gratifying to see it pay off,” Bergin said. “As a team, we are all so close and we all support one another. We’re all so happy, this is a great way to prepare for the Class meet (Class M).”
Phelan is a realist heading into the SCC meet.
“Cheshire is the perennial powerhouse, they are so deep,” Phelan said. “This is a very tough conference meet and to see Madeline Bergin get two wins and outstanding swimmer is special. All our girls have done well tonight. But this is just the beginning. Class M will be tough but we have high expectations for that meet too.”
In other events, Jordan Macdonald of Foran won the 100 butterfly (57.71), Norah Rome of East Haven/Wilbur Cross won the 500 freestyle (5:09.58) and Kayla Mendonca of Hand won the 100 backstroke (57.39).