GREENWICH — It was a battle to the finish.
The team championship at the 2017 FCIAC Girls Swim Championship Saturday night at the Greenwich High pool wasn’t decided until the final leg on the final relay.
Although Staples won the 400-yard freestyle relay, Greenwich High finished one body length ahead of New Canaan High to keep the stubborn Rams at bay.
Greenwich finished the evening with 308.50 points to edge out New Canaan (301). The prize for the Cardinals was their first FCIAC Girls Swim team title since 2008.
“I knew we had a good team but there is such great competition throughout the league this year,” said Greenwich coach Lorrie Hokayem. “The FCIAC title was a good goal to have since we hadn’t won a crown in a while (nine years). It was so exciting going down to the very end.”
Greenwich senior Kelly Montesi swam the opening leg of the 400 freestyle relay to give the Cardinals a boost out of the blocks. It was freshman Meghan Lynch who swam the anchor leg that put a ribbon around GHS’ hard-fought championship.
“We needed the whole army. The girls swam with heart and guts,” GHS coach Hokayem said. “New Canaan swam so well. It took everybody to pull this out. It was a fun evening. We have to say that our (four) divers (Kate Russack, Casey Kirsch, Annabelle Pollack, Maddie Muldoon; who all finished in the top six in Thursday’s FCIAC diving for 60 points) were so awesome. They get better and better. They gave us the boost of momentum we needed.”
New Canaan made a huge run to close to within 278-275 entering the consolation and championship heats of the 400 free relay. The Rams head into the state tournament postseason pleased.
“We did everything we possibly could. I’m so ecstatic with our performance,” said New Canaan coach David Fine. “Kudos to Greenwich. They earned this FCIAC title. It was a long time coming for them. As for our group, we’ve come a long way during what has been a two-year journey. We’re still basically a young team. I couldn’t be happier with the way they responded in this atmosphere (with NC fans and GHS fans going the extra mile in cheering their teams).”
Staples High was third with 270 points followed by Ridgefield 268, Wilton 266 and Ludlowe 191.
“We had a strong FCIAC trials. I’m happy with our finish,” said Ridgefield coach Jeff Bonaccorso. “We didn’t have any points from the diving Thursday. Our team is always about heart and guts and being clutch.”
Ludlowe High senior Sarah Grinalds won the meet’s Most Valuable Swimmer award. She captured the 50 free (23.47), the 500 free (4:59.22) and swam on at least two Ludlowe relays.
Other top performers in the meet included Staples’ Esme Hunter (won the 100 free (51.61) and the 100 backstroke (56.92), Elizabeth Colwell of New Canaan (won the 200 IM (2:06.12) and the 100 breaststroke (1:05.03).
Other FCIAC individual winners included Greenwich’s Lynch (200 Free) and Staples’ Marissa Healy (100 buttterfly). Ridgefield junior Anna Turner collected a gaggle of seconds and thirds while shining in the relays.
2017 FCIAC GIRLS SWIM CHAMPIONSHIP
Team Scores: 1, Greenwich 308.50 points; 2, New Canaan 301; 3, Staples 270; 4, Ridgefield 268; 5, Wilton 266; 6, Ludlowe 191; 7, Norwalk-McMahon 180; 8, Westhill-Stamford 153; 9, Trumbull 133; 10, Warde 102; 11, Darien 78.