WATERBURY >> Defending champion Sacred Heart brought its whole team back to Saturday evening’s NVL championships.
To no one’s surprise, the Hearts won going away, 871 points to second-place Seymour’s 601.5.
The only suspense came for the lower places: Seymour held off Watertown (561) for second; Oxford (483.5) topped Naugatuck (460.5) for fourth; and Torrington (418) stayed ahead of Woodland (407) for sixth.
“It’s always nice to repeat,” grinned Sacred Heart coach Butch Savage, whose team won all three of the relay races and three of the individual races for the big point spread.
The Hearts enjoy it all the more because it was 22 years between last year’s championship and their previous one, Savage said.
For now, the others took what they could get.
“We’re where we figured we’d be,” said Torrington coach Katie Gregory, who had two outstanding finishers among “a lot of best times.”
Torrington senior Payton Welch was disappointed with a fourth-place finish behind Sacred Heart winner Meaghan Spagnolo in the 200 IM in spite of swimming her best time.
Then she turned in another best time for first place in the 100-yard butterfly.
“She was upset with her finish in the IM; I think she put that energy into the fly,” said Coach Gregory. “She’s one of my best fighters in the last few years.”
“This is my main event,” said Welch, whose winning time was 1:02.84. “I kept seeing (Sacred Heart’s Erin Brown) next to me. I just knew I had to keep going faster. My goal for the whole season was to get under 1:03.”
Brown finished in 1:02.98.
Brown came back to win the 100-yard backstroke for the Hearts. Again, a Torrington swimmer was glad to be around her.
Torrington junior Jessica Gray chopped almost two seconds off her qualifying time, moving up from fourth to third.
Red Raider Jenn Friscia cut three seconds off her time in an earlier heat.
It was the kind of meet where almost everyone walked away happy.
Holy Cross finished eighth as a team, but senior Brittany Steinfeld took home the James Farrar trophy as the most valuable swimmer of the night.
Steinfeld won the 50 and 100-yard freestyle races and anchored two relay teams – the 200 medley (fourth) and the 200 free (second).
The next stop is the state meets in two weeks.
Sacred Heart was third in the Class S Class Meet last year.
“We’ll be in the top five again,” said Coach Savage.
NVL Swimming and Diving Championships
At Kennedy High School
Team Scores: 1. Sacred Heart 871; 2. Seymour 601.5; 3. Watertown 561; 4. Oxford 483; 5. Naugatuck 460.5; 6. Torrington 418; 7. Woodland 407; 8. Holy Cross 341; 9. St. Paul 255; 10. Wilby 182; 11. Kennedy 152; Wolcott 102.
Events: 200-yard medley relay: 1. Sacred Heart, 1:57.57; 2. Watertown; 3. Seymour. 200 freestyle: 1. Kimberly Hylan, St. Paul, 1:59.72; 2. Abby Walsh, Sacred Heart; 3. Alizabeth Sullivan, Sacred Heart. 200 IM: 1. Meaghan Spagnolo, Sacred Heart, 2:19.95; 2. Madelynn Mowad, Holy Cross; 3. Connor Carrington, Wolcott. 50 free: 1. Brittany Steinfeld, Holy Cross, :25.31; 2. Sarah Bowes, St. Paul; 3. Kiersten Snyder, Sacred Heart. Diving: 1. Sara Fowoler, Woodland, 341.95; Liz Lombardo, Holy Cross; 3. Alexa Gallino, Sacred Heart. 100 butterfly: 1. Payton Welch, Torrington, 1:02.84; 2. Erin Brown, Sacred Heart; 3. Connor Carrington, Wolcott. 100 free: 1. Steinfeld, Holy Cross, :54.46; 2. Hylan, St. Paul; 3. Walsh, Sacred Heart. 500 free: 1. Sullivan, Sacred Heart, 5:36.44; 2. Bowes, St. Paul; 3. Emily Waehler, Oxford. 200 free relay: 1. Sacred Heart, 1:45.42; 2. Holy Cross; 3. Seymour. 100 backstroke: 1. Brown, Sacred Heart, 1:02.09; 2. Lindsay DiFelice, Watertown; 3. Jessica Gray, Torrington. 100 breaststroke: 1. Emma Crocamo, Seymour, 1:08.92 (Meet record); 2. Spagnolo, Sacred Heart; 3. Mowad, Holy Cross. 400 free relay: 1. Sacred Heart; 2. Watertown; 3. Torrington.