With the regular season quickly coming to a close and the postseason approaching, it’s just about time for high school swimmers to post the times they’re aiming for in each race.
Watching Wednesday’s meet between Greenwich Academy, Sacred Heart Greenwich and School of the Holy Child, it’s apparent the squads are primed for the postseason.
Greenwich Academy, which entered the meet held at Purchase College (Purchase, N.Y.), with only one loss to its ledger, continued its standout season, registering victories against Sacred Heart (52-41) and Holy Child (55-38). Sacred Heart, which is also in the midst of a successful campaign, topped Holy Child, 48-46.
GA has won the NEPSAC Division I Championships team title the past three seasons and has also been the team to beat at the FAA Championships in previous years. They got back on the winning track, after losing their first meet of the season to rival Suffield Academy this past Saturday.
“We’ve been definitely building up our strength,” GA junior Claire Michalik said. “Even though we lost against Suffield we had a lot of fast swims. Everyone had their season-best times and we broke a few pool records, so overall in terms of our swimming, that was promising. We were down a couple of swimmers for that meet, I think we would have won. By March, we are going to be ready and at full strength.”
Michalik won the 200-yard freestyle at last season’s NEPSAC Championships with a time of 1:50.94 and broke a Greenwich Academy pool record in the 200 freestyle last week against Suffield.
“I wasn’t expecting that at this point of the season,” Michalik said of her record. “So I was surprised and really happy with that. It’s good to have that as a junior.”
Wednesday, Michalik and junior teammate Ashley Hu, helped lead the Gators. Hu finished first in the 100-yard butterfly and 500 freestyle (5:29.1) against Sacred Heart and Holy Child.
Michalik, meanwhile, touched the wall first in the 200-yard individual medley (2:13.90) and the 100 breaststroke (1:10.60).
“Our team is doing really good, we had some people out last week, because of injuries and illness, but we have some people that have been swimming good times,” Hu said.
Hu also achieved a GA pool record at Brunswick against Suffield this past weekend, in the 100 breaststroke.
“That was a surprise, it was exciting to do something positive like that for the team,” said Hu, who was the runner-up in the breaststroke at the New England Championships last winter. “We won New Englands the past few years, so our goal is to win it and to just be there for each other and support each other. We do good as a team when we are supporting one another.”
Sacred Heart was paced by Alexandra Bastone on Wednesday. A freshman, Bastone registered winning times in the 200 freestyle (1:58.17) and the 500 freestyle (5:11.48) for the Tigers. She’s emerged as one of the premier distance swimmers in the league.
“This is my first year swimming for Sacred Heart and it’s been a blast,” Bastone said. “Overall, I think we did really strong today. I was proud of how I performed, even though it wasn’t my fastest.”
Bastone sparked Sacred Heart at the Catholic Championships, held recently in Loyola, Maryland. She was the 200 and 500 freestyle winner and earned Most Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet honors.
“It was amazing, I didn’t know I was going to win it,” said Bastone, who swims throughout the year for the Greenwich YMCA Marlins. “Being at that meet was such a great experience.”
Said Sacred Heart senior captain Sally Carter, who competed in the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke on Wednesday: “It was an amazing achievement for Alexandra, the whole team rallied around her. We have a lot of young girls on the team — a bunch of eighth-graders and freshmen — and it has been fun integrating them into the team. Our young talent on the team this year is awesome.”
Junior Sophia Moore won the 50 freestyle for GA on Wednesday, clocking in at 25.30. Grace Lillis posted a time of 26.99 in the event for Sacred Heart.
Greenwich Academy’s Elizabeth Xiu, Hu, Michalik and Hutton Saunders combined for a winning time of 3:50.80 in the 400 freestyle. Sophomore Elisa Taylor posted a time of 1:13.30 for Sacred Heart in the 100 breaststroke.
Xiu, Hu and Saunders were also part of the Gators’ winning 200 medley relay squad (1:53.90).
The Gators have a meet against Hopkins at Brunswick School on Saturday, before turning their attention to the postseason meets.
“We’re definitely hoping to win FAAs and New Englands and just continue our fast swimming,” said Michalik, who noted Suffield Academy and Hopkins are teams to contend with. “We want to continue our streak, especially for our seniors. We want them to win New Englands all four years and continue the winning legacy.”
Lillis had a time of 26.99 seconds in the 50 freestyle for the Tigers, while teammate June Cary, an eighth-grader, clocked in at 1:00 in the 100 freestyle.
“The captains are doing a good job of keeping morale up and we have a strong group of juniors, who are going to be leaders next year,” Tigers coach Keegan Reed said. “We are ready for the end of the season.”