MIDDLETOWN >> There’s a sign on the wall of the pool at Wesleyan University’s Freeman Athletic Center that reads: This is CARDINAL country.
It refers, of course, to the Wesleyan Cardinals. But it works just fine for Greenwich, too.
The Cardinals cruised to their fifth consecutive Class LL girls swim championship on Wednesday evening, far outdistancing runner-up Staples 891 to 537.
“We have a great group of kids who train really hard, especially during the high school season,” said first-year coach Laurie Najam. “We put the emphasis on team, both in practice and in meets. Dick Hawks built this program and the kids love to swim for Greenwich High.”
It doesn’t look like the Cardinals’ run is going to end anytime soon. The best performer for the state champs was Sophia Jahan, who won both the 200-yard freestyle (1:54.60) and the 500 freestyle (5:11.21). Jahan is a freshman.
“She is a phenomenal freestyler,” Najam said. “I could have put her in any freestyle event and she would have been competitive, but we decided the 200 and the 500 were best for her.”
Greenwich led almost from the beginning and built its lead throughout the evening. The only other first place taken by the winners was the 400 freestyle relay, but the Cardinals’ overwhelming depth piled up seconds, thirds and fourths and so on.
There were two other double-winners. One was Marcella Maguire of Ridgefield, who won both the 100 freestyle (51.81) and 100 backstroke (55.47). The other was Staples’ Amelia Bullock. She won the 100 butterfly (:55.18) and the 200 individual medley (2:05.28).
“Amelia is a great team leader and a great example for the rest of the kids,” Staples coach Mike Laux said. “She is also a great motivator and a helluva swimmer.”
Other first places were taken by Ridgefield in the 200 medley relay (1:48.14), Sarah Grinalds for Fairfield Ludlowe in the 50 freestyle (24.00), Newtown in the 200 freestyle relay (1:38.35) and Lindsay Gordon of Ridgefield in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.72).
Rachel Burston of Westhill won diving with 475.30 points, easily beating runner-up Kari Djonne of Newtown, who had a score of 439.05 points.
The top team from the New Haven area was Amity with 408 points, good for sixth place. The best performance from an upstate team was turned in by Glastonbury, which finished a strong fourth with 434 points.
McMahon was third with 469 points, Newtown was fifth with 428, Ridgefield was seventh (401), Trumbull was eighth (292), Ludlowe was ninth (241) and Southington was tenth (176).
The State Open will be Saturday at Yale.