If it’s the first week of October, then Amity, Cheshire and Lauralton Hall are likely unbeaten in dual meets.
All stand at 6-0 going into Tuesday’s meets.
Upcoming matchups among Amity, Cheshire and Lauralton Hall will once again determine the regular season SCC Division I title.
In the last six years, Cheshire and Amity have been the dominant teams, finishing 1-2 in the SCC in the regular season. The past two seasons since the Crusaders joined the league they have been the third team vying for the SCC D-I title.
This season, Monday, Oct. 13 and Oct. 17 are the key dates to know when it comes to determining the SCC Division I regular season champion. On Monday, Lauralton Hall hosts Amity at the Foran High pool in Milford at 7 p.m. On Oct. 13, Amity hosts Cheshire at the Orange Community Center Pool at 7:20 p.m., and on Oct. 17 Cheshire hosts Lauralton Hall at the recently upgraded Cheshire Community Pool at 7 p.m.
“We are always excited to race teams like Amity and Lauralton Hall,” said Cheshire girls swim coach Dan Mascolo, in his fifth season as the Rams coach with a 46-2 record. “Amity just moved back down to Class L this year and Lauralton Hall is the two-time defending (CIAC) Class M champion. So it will give us a good warm-up for what to expect at the state level.
“It will probably be the first time this season that we will put in our full lineup and for most of the girls, that will mean the first time with four events in a dual meet (two individual events/two relay events). It will be exciting to see what they can do when we take the restrictor plate off of the team and let them go full tilt.”
Depth has always been the Rams’ strength. Among the many talented swimmers are seniors Danielle Dietrich, Cameryn Guetens, Lily Kurtz, Emily Murphy and Kathryn Robinson, juniors Liz Boyer, Amanda Go, and sophomores Samantha Grenon and Esther Han and junior diver Stephanie Silin. Julia Stevens is among the standouts in a very strong freshmen class.
“Our biggest strength by far has been our depth,” Mascolo said. “Through our first six meets, we have been fortunate enough to mix up our lineup a lot to give the girls an opportunity to swim a myriad of events with as many as 11 girls currently being qualified for states in any given event.
“We have also split our relays a lot to race each other, which has been a lot of fun. For us to win the SCC regular season title, we will need to use that depth to put together a solid lineup against teams like Amity and Lauralton Hall.”
As matchups with Cheshire and Lauralton Hall approach, Amity coach Todd Rainey said the intensity level has been raised in both practices and meets.
“Our swimmers have seen many individual challenges up to now,” said Rainey who is in his 11th season as the Spartans’ coach. “But with these two programs, our girls see a challenge for the whole team. Everyone is going to have to respond and start getting themselves into a postseason mindset.
“The girls all have goals and these meets will go a long way towards achieving those goals. Seeing the times and the depth of those two teams, as well as times we’ve been seeing from Shelton and Hand, helps the team focus more and gives each practice more impact. We realize that the chances to improve ourselves are beginning to dwindle. If they don’t take advantage of the opportunity that each practice or meet provides them to improve, disappointment is a real possibility.”
Among the many top swimmers for the Spartans are seniors Kate Alvarado, sisters Maggie Lasto and Megan Lasto, Elise Grabowski, Jackie Snow, Olivia Smith, Emily Cucurello, Emily Maranets and diver Juliet Melotto.
“Our older girls have been through this and they’re doing a great job at helping our younger girls understand how they need to respond,” Rainey said. “These late-season meets serve as both a goal that we’ve been working towards and a valuable yardstick that we can use to help determine how ready we are for the championship meets at the end of the season.
“Depth has served Amity well up to this point in the season. Now is the time to start seeing more standout performances. If we can have some in the coming meets, chances are much better that we can have many more at the end of the season. Our girls show up and work every day without complaint. Now is the time to begin seeing some of the rewards of that work.”
Winning the SCC regular season title is always one of the many goals for the Crusaders. But win or lose in the upcoming dual meets with Amity and Cheshire, Lauralton Hall coach Fran Pfeiffer sees the competition as a win-win situation.
“Lauralton swimmers look forward to the competition with Amity and Cheshire,” said Pfeiffer, in his 24th season as the Crusaders coach with over 200 dual meet wins and six state titles.
“Traditionally, Lauralton has done their best times at these meets. It is a win for us even if the score doesn’t say so as we approach end-of-season championships. We hope the increased competition will bring the best out of our relays. To date, our flyers and freestylers have been looking good.”
Among the top swimmers for the Crusaders are captains Sasha Somuah, Shanon Dolan and Haleigh McLaughlin and other seniors Shannon Dolan, Haleigh McLaughlin, juniors Maddy Barnick, Kay Begg, Caroline Sargent, and sophomores Georgia Barnick, Ceili Clerkin, Katherine Connolly, Brenna McLaughlin, Bella Peneta, Bella Sacchiaroli and Rory Woods, and senior diver Lauren Buttling and sophomore diver Kelly Shaw.
Postseason use for Cheshire pool
Cheshire coach Dan Mascolo confirmed the recently upgraded year-round Cheshire Community Pool will be used in the postseason.
“We will be hosting the SCC qualifier on Nov. 1 and there are talks in the works to also host the SCC diving on Nov. 2,” Mascolo said. “In the future, I would like to host Class trials or finals at CCP, but I think we would need more spectator seating to host Class trials and new blocks to host Class finals.”