GREENWICH — Following a season in which it won the FCIAC, Class LL and State Open titles, Greenwich’s girls swimming team is undefeated more than halfway through its regular season and once again, resembles a squad on a mission.
With the seniors building upon their strong junior campaigns, the juniors flourishing and the underclassmen making their mark, the Cardinals are deep in each event and could be tough to top this season.
Facing one of its main FCIAC rivals, host Greenwich received two first-place finishes from Meghan Lynch and won seven events in its impressive 114-72 victory over New Canaan.
Greenwich, which has claimed the State Open championship the past four seasons, is 5-0 with four regular-season meets remaining.
“This was a great meet against a very good team,” GHS coach Lorrie Hokayem said. “Our girls get fired up to swim against New Canaan, which is well-trained and super well-coached. I’m happy with our performance, we are in a tough part of our training right now, so I’m happy we were able to swim fast.”
Added Lynch: “It was a really exciting meet, we knew there was going to be great competition. Our kids swam really well and we were able to take a lot of first places, after training hard all week.”
The Cardinals set the tone of the meet early, winning the 200-yard medley relay. Junior Samantha Ennis, Lynch, sophomore Caterina Li and senior Jenna Handali combined for a winning time of 1:50.56. New Canaan (3-3) placed second in 1:52.77.
“I’m really happy with the 2 medley, we dropped two seconds on our in-season time,” Lynch said.
Lynch came right back and won the next race — the 200-yard freestyle — with a time of 1:54.87. Rams junior Maddie Haley finished second (1:59.73), followed by Cardinals sophomore Emma Robinson (2:01.87).
“My time in the 200 freestyle is right where it should be right now,” said Lynch, who won the State Open title in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke in 2018. “When I taper, it will be a good drop.”
In the 200 individual medley, the Cards finished 1-2-3 to open a 34-12 lead. Freshman Victoria Liu touched the wall first (2:14.49), followed by Ennis (2:16.60) and junior Julia Lucey (2:19.39). Sophomore Skylar Mascarinas of New Canaan won the first of her two individual events, posting a time of 25.65 in the 50 freestyle. Teammate Alexandra Mehos was the runner up in 25.73 and Greenwich’s Handali took third (25.87). Mascarinas also had a first-place finish in the 100 freestyle (55.92) for the Rams, with Handali taking second (56.10).
“I was really happy with our performances,” New Canaan coach Kat Munson said. “We tried a lot of things out in terms of what we might look like in the championship season. We’ve had a tough week with Darien (a loss) and Greenwich, but we have to learn how to swim tired and get up and race and our team did that today.”
The diving competition was one of the most exciting events of the meet. Junior Charlotte Frank, the 2018 FCIAC champion, registered a first-place total of 281.70 points through six dives.
Frank drew two scores of 8.5 in the first round and was consistent with her front and back dives throughout.
“The season is going pretty well, this was my personal-best score,” Frank said. “I’ve been working on a lot of new dives that I haven’t done before. I was solid all-around and consistent. My best dive today was my inward double, which really helped me.”
Said Munson: “She (Frank) has really come into her own and is going to challenge for one of the top spots at the championship meets.”
Greenwich senior Saylor Kirsch was second on the 1-meter diving board (256.43), followed by Olivia Quinn of the Rams (235.58).
“I feel like I got a lot of my simpler dives down,” Kirsch said. “I got to put in some new dives and I got some more height to them that I hadn’t been able to get before, so overall, it was a really good day. It’s awesome to be able to compete against tough competition.”
The 100-yard butterfly winner was Li, who has sparked the squad as a sophomore. She clocked in at 1:00.18, followed by Mehos (1:00.79) and Robinson (1:02.41).
“We had some really big competitors today,” Li said. “My time in the 100 butterfly was a good in-season time.”
Isabella Malchow showed her stamina in winning the 500 freestyle in 5:29.78. Lucey was second (5:30.82).
“I’m very happy with my time,” Robinson said. “I love swimming with other teammates, because we push each other to do our best. Every single person put in good times and I’m proud of our teams. It’s good we have these challenges, it pushes us.”
The 200 freestyle relay went to New Canaan (Maddie Haley, Mehos, Macarinas, Kelci Haley, 1:44.42). Greenwich was second (1:45.47).
Maddie Haley then came right back and touched the wall first in the 100 backstroke (57.43), leading from the start.
“We have a very young team, we only have three seniors, so we’ve been counting on our young swimmers to get the top places,” said Maddie Haley, who placed fourth in the event at the 2018 State Open. “My time in the backstroke was near my time at states. I’m excited for how the state championships are going to go.”
Lynch’s second victory came in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.19), as she took it out quick.
“My 100 breaststroke time is my fastest time in a non-championship meet,” Lynch said. “I’m really happy with our team.”
The Cards concluded the meet with a victory in the 400 freestyle relay (Handali, Robinson, Alexandra de la Sierra, Lynch, 3:43.47).
“We are having people step up and we are showing our versatility,” Hokayem said. “This meet showed the competitive spirit between the two teams.”
ATHLETES OF THE MEET
Lynch won two individual events and was a part of two winning relays. Frank was the diving winner.