MIDDLETOWN >> Mercy High’s swim team’s Baptism of Fire is over.
The Tigers were forced to open their season against four of the five best teams in the Southern Connecticut Conference, namely Cheshire, Lauralton Hall, Daniel Hand of Madison and — Thursday night at Wesleyan — powerhouse Amity Regional of Woodbridge.
Amity handed the Tigers their fourth consecutive loss, 98-80. It was that close because Amity coach Todd Rainey swam the last three events unofficially. Otherwise, the score would have been 134-52.
“Those four along with Branford are the SCC’s best,” Mercy coach Keith Nichols said. “The kids knew what they were up against; they understood. But 0-4 is still mentally challenging. That’s why we are looking forward to Middletown today and teams next week because we will be playing teams with which we are much more competitive.”
Mercy didn’t win a single race. Amity also went 1-2-3 in the 500-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke and went 1-2 in all three relays. But Nichols saw good things.
“I was very impressed with our IMers [Rachel Gerzabek, Abigail Monaco and Suzanne O’Hara] as they all had good drops in times,” Nichols said. “But it’s hard to get a gauge when you’re up against this kind of competition.
“We need to develop depth as we don’t have a lot of swimmers, but they are coming along nicely.”
Mercy’s divers did well, going 2-4-5 in a six-diver competition with Cecilia Vess taking down second place with a score of 154.50 points.
Mercy got a third in the 200-yard freestyle and a second from Claire Strom in the 100-yard butterfly. They also got a third from Emily Frost in the 100-yard freestyle.
Amity got firsts from its 200-yard medley relay team, from Kayleigh Foley in the 200-yard freestyle (2:04.49), Elise Grabowski (2:34.) in the 200-yard individual medley (2:34.66), Amanda Hendrick in the 50-yard freestyle (:26.52), Juliet Melotto in diving (168.55 points), Alejandra Barry-Ruiz in the 100-yard butterfly (1:06.49), Megan Lasto in the 100-yard freestyle (:57.39), Vera Belfonti in the 500-yard freestyle (5:41.85) and the 200-yard freestyle relay team.
Amity also won the final three events, but all were unofficial.
“We’re pretty good,” Rainey understated. “I’m very happy with our depth, we’re working hard and making progress and if we keep that up, we’ll get where we want to be at the end of the season.”
Where 4-0 Amity wants to be is in state championship contention.
Mercy’s meet at Middletown starts at 4 p.m. at the Parmelee-Baldwin pool at MHS.