TORRINGTON >> Torrington’s girls swimming team got its first win under new coach Christine Harding 87-79 against Holy Cross in a meet that took bizarre twists from beginning to end.
The Crusaders came with just nine swimmers, winning every event.
“It’s a small class,” said Coach Mary Racevicius, who looks at the bright side in her ability to offer plenty of individual coaching.
“You see the results,” she smiled.
Torrington has 21 girls, but just six seniors and one junior. The rest are freshmen and sophomores, most with no previous experience.
“I like it this way; it allows us to build,” said Harding, a college All-American swimmer whose long coaching experience includes seven years at Marist College, where her teams won four conference championships before she relocated to Litchfield.
With a mix of experience and depth, the Red Raiders threatened to stay close throughout the meet.
Holy Cross’ Hannah Brown, Allie Brown, Maddie Mowad and Alyana Ward won the opening 200 freestyle, but Torrington was second and third.
Elena Cavallo and Hannah Brown were first and second in the 200 free, but Torrington’s Lauren Jamieson and Ashley Lander were third and fourth.
In between, one of the Holy Cross swimmers lost her goggles, hyperventilated and crashed into the far wall, straining her neck badly enough for an emergency squad to remove her on a stretcher.
Both coaches decided to move on. The pattern continued. Maddie Mowad, Ward, Cavallo and Hannah Brown piled up victories.
Torrington pecked away with seconds and thirds by Sydney Offerdahl, Amanda Thiel, Jamieson, Maria Herczeg, Tori Masucci and Lexi Smith.
By the final event, for all their wins, the Crusaders led by just four points, 79-75.
Holy Cross won the 400-yard freestyle relay with Torrington in second and third – for an initial 87-81 Holy Cross win.
Then another shoe dropped.
One of the girls on the winning team swam five events (rules allow just four), even though one of them was an exhibition heat that didn’t count.
The winning relay team was disqualified. Torrington won.
“I feel bad,” said Coach Harding. “It’s unfortunate; they’re a very good team, but it was a great meet with great wins.”
Both teams promise many more, without the twists.
“(Coach Harding) is great, just like (former coach Katie Gregory),” said Jamieson, in her fourth year swimming for the Raiders. “They each fix different things, so the combination meshes.”
“Both of them have the same goal – to encourage everyone,” said Keller, a sophomore who swam for Coach Block a year ago.
Torrington 87, Holy Cross 79
At Torrington YMCA
200-yard free relay: 1. Holy Cross (Hannah Brown, Allie Brown, Madelynn Mowad, Alyana Ward); 2. Torrington; 3. Torrington. 200 freeestyle: 1. Elena Cavallo (HC); 2. H. Brown (HC); 3. Lauren Jamieson (T). 200 Individual Medley: 1. M. Mowad (HC); 2. Sydney Offerdahl (T); 3. A. Brown (HC). 50 free: 1. Ward (HC); 2. Amanda Thiel (T); 3. Jenna Mowad (HC). 100 butterfly: 1. Cavallo (HC); 2. Julia Keller (T); 3. Tori Masucci (T). 100 free: 1. Ward (HC); 2. Jamieson (T); 3. Maria Herczeg (T). 500 free: 1. H. Brown (HC); 2. Keller (T); 3. Thiel (T). 200 free relay: 1. Holy Cross (Ward, Cavallo, J. Mowad, M. Mowad); 2. Torrington; 3. Torrington. 100 backstroke: 1. M. Mowad (HC); 2. Offerdahl (T); 3. Alexandra Kolaj (T). 100 breaststroke: 1. H. Bown (HC); 2. Masucci (T); 3. Lexi Smith (T). 400 free relay: 1. Torrington (Jamieson, Keller, Thiel, Offerdahl); 2. Torrington; Holy Cross D.Q.
Records: Holy Cross 1-1; Torringon 1-1.