Storylines to watch
Cheshire makes its move up to Class LL
Greenwich won the team title at the State Open Championships for the fourth straight season in 2018, finishing ahead of runner-up in a meet that was decided in the last event – the 400-yard freestyle relay. The Rams and Cardinals should be in contention for the State Open title again this season, but they will also meet a few days before the Open. Cheshire has moved up to Class LL this year, meaning it will test its skills against Greenwich and the best the class has to offer at the state meet.
“We are excited about it,” Cheshire coach Dave Modzelewski said. “The State Open was an exciting meet all the way through and we our girls are looking forward to competing in another meet against great teams like Greenwich and Ridgefield.”
New coach at Staples
Mike Laux stepped down as coach at Staples after 22 seasons. One of the most respected and knowledgeable coaches in the state, Laux guided a strong program at Staples, which was always in the mix in the competitive FCIAC and state meets. In final season at the helm in 2018, Laux guided Staples to a fourth-place finish at the State Open Championships and a third-place showing at the Class LL finals. Mike Anderson, who has coached at the University of Alabama and the University of Hawaii, is Staples’ new coach.
Who will be the team to be in Class L now that Cheshire has moved up?
With Cheshire moving up to Class LL, look for Darien, Wilton and New Canaan to duel for the Class L title. Cheshire won the Class L championship the past two seasons.
Can Greenwich continue its reign of supremacy?
The Cardinals usually have depth in each event, including diving, and face a competitive dual-meet schedule, which prepares them for the postseason. Meghan Lynch returns to a squad that lost several key contributors from last season, but has promising first-year varsity swimmers. Greenwich has won the State Open title the past four seasons and has garnered the Class LL championship every year since 2010. Cheshire came close to edging the Cardinals at the State Open last season and will also compete against Greenwich in the Class LL competition this fall. Darien, Ridgefield and New Canaan should make their mark in the state meets as well.
10 meets to watch
Ridgefield vs. Greenwich, Sept. 18, at Barlow Mountain Pool in Ridgefield, 4 p.m.: The Cardinals are the defending State Open, Class LL and FCIAC champions, while Ridgefield placed second at the LL meet and was fourth at the conference finals in 2018. Both teams are deep in each event, so every race should be competitive in this FCIAC duel.
Wilton vs. Darien, Sept. 20, at Darien YMCA, 3 p.m.: The Blue Wave and Warriors placed second and third, respectively, at the 2018 Class L Championships and were sixth and seventh, respectively at the State Open. They were also close in the team standings at the 2018 FCIAC Championships.
Seymour vs. Woodland Regional, Sept. 27, at Woodland High School, 4 p.m.: Seymour won its first NVL championship since 2007 last fall, while Woodland, the 2017 league champion, placed third. Seymour defeated Woodland on its way to an undefeated regular season in 2018.
Darien vs. New Canaan, Oct. 3, at New Canaan YMCA, 3 p.m.: The Blue Wave and Rams are rivals in every sport and swimming is no different. Darien finished ninth at the State Open Championships last season, while New Canaan was ninth. At the Class L Championships, the Blue Wave and Rams were second and fourth, respectively.
New Canaan at Greenwich, Oct. 4, 4:30 p.m.: It’s always a close, ultra-competitive meet when these longtime FCIAC rivals test their skills against each other. Both squads have solid divers.
East Lyme at Waterford, Oct. 8, 3:30 p.m.: At the ECC Championships last season, East Lyme captured the team title with a team score of 633 points. Waterford was the runner-up. East Lyme defeated Waterford during the dual-meet season in 2018.
Conard at Southington, Oct. 18, at Southington YMCA, 3:45 p.m.: In a back-and-forth meet, Conard posted a 91-89 victory against Southington when the squads met in 2018. Southington was second in the CCC West Division Championships last season, while Conard placed third.
Hall vs. Southington, Oct. 23, 4 p.m., at Southington YMCA: Hall edged Southington for the CCC West Division team championship last season, 303.5-294.5. Hall also pulled out a 94-87 win against Southington during the regular season last fall. Hall was 12th in the team standings at the State Open Championships, while Southington was 13th.
Cheshire vs. Amity, Oct. 25, at Cheshire Community Pool, 7 p.m.: The defending SCC champion Rams went undefeated during dual-meet season last fall and Amity is always one of their biggest rivals. Cheshire placed first in the team standings at the SCC Championships in 2018, while Amity was the runner-up.
CIAC State Open Championships, Nov. 24, 2 p.m. Yale University: The season ends with this always anticipated meet at Yale’s historic venue. Last season’s State Open concluded with Greenwich edging Cheshire for the team title. Each event features outstanding performances and eye-opening times.