MIDDLETOWN—It was literally a battle to the finish as the Daniel Hand High School girls swim team captured the 2018 Class M championship Tuesday night at the Wesleyan University pool.
Hand led by a scant 5.5 points heading into the final event. Hand’s Ruby Redlich, Erin Reilly, Ava Keane and Kayla Mendonca combined to win the 400 free relay and allow their team to take home the giant Class M swim plaque.
Hand amassed 588.5 points to hold off North Haven (569). Brookfield (461) was third just ahead of East Lyme (450.5). Mercy (353) was fifth with Joel Barlow (310) in sixth.
“Tonight just solidified that a Hand team keeps building on tradition,” said Hand coach Jen Lyman. “Our motto is ‘Together everyone achieves more.’ And tonight our team represented that philosophy.”
State Championship Plunge pic.twitter.com/OxnGOS7cl5
— @Handtigers (@HandTigers) November 14, 2018
It was fitting that Daniel Hand and North Haven would be the top combatants.
North Haven beat Hand in the regular season. Hand edged North Haven in the league championship.
And Hand won the third meeting Tuesday.
“Jen Lyman and I had coached together for 16 years before she went over to Hand High,” North Haven coach Martha Phelan said after taking proud photos with the runnerup plaque. “So I couldn’t be happier for her. We made a valiant effort. But North Haven has been the Class M runnerup the last two years. I’m thrilled with our girls performance. It was a great night with so many close finishes.”
Hand used its depth to grab success in the 24-place scoring structure.
North Haven received a grand individual performance from junior Angela Gambardella. She won two events and swam a leg in two relays as well.
“It’s great to be champions,” Hand’s Lyman said. “But we knew it would be a nailbiter start to finish.”
In the 200 Yard medley relay, North Haven’s quartet of freshman Brooke Nebor, junior Angela Gambardella along with sophomores Riley Jooss and Madeline Bergin won in 1:50.10. Brookfield (1:52.19) was second. Daniel Hand (1:53.30) took third.
In the 200 Yard freestyle, RHAM senior Tylor Mathieu was the Class M champ in 1:51.07. Madeline O’Connor of Brookfield (1:56.10) was second. Jordan Macdonald of Foran (1:56.77) was third.
In the 200 Yard individual medley, Angela Gambardella of North Haven was the winner in 2:06.46. Brookfield’s Anna Weinstein (2:07.71) was runnerup. Torrington’s Julia McCarthy (2:11.61) took third.
In the 50 Yard freestyle, North Haven’s Madeline Bergin won the blanket finish in 24.27. Elizabeth Stoelzel of Masuk (24.56) was second. East Lyme’s Mary Kathryn Taylor (25.46) finished third.
In the 100 Yard Butterfly, Foran’s Jordan Macdonald won in 57.57. Madeline O’Connor of Brookfield (59.11) was runnerup. Brookfield’s Katherine Sharkey (59.93) was third.
After six events, including the diving points from last week’s M championship, North Haven led with 291 points. Brookfield (264), East Lyme (226.5) and Daniel Hand (213) were next.
In the 100 Yard freestyle, North Haven’s Bergin won her second event of the night with a winning time of 52.74. Daniel Hand’s Ruby Redlich (53.84) and Ava Keane (55.70) followed.
In the 500 Yard freestyle, senior Tylor Mathieu was the amazing one-woman team from RHAM as she captured her second victory, taking the 500 yard free by 25 yards in 4:55.91. Brookfield’s Katherine Sharkey (5:11.44) was runnerup. Daniel Hand freshman Abbigail Chemacki (5:14.05) took third.
In the 200 Yard Free Relay, North Haven extended its lead with the winning 60 points from the foursome of Gambardella, Noelle Carmody, Riley Jooss and Madeline Bergin who posted a 1:40.45. East Lyme (1:41.51) was runnerup. Masuk (1:43.46) took third.
In the 100 Yard Backstroke, Kayla Mendonca gave Daniel Hand a 35-point edge over North Haven with two events left as she won the event in 58.02, setting a new Class M meet record. Julia McCarthy of Torrington (59.59) was runnerup. Masuk’s Elizabeth Stoelzel (59.86) took third.
In the 100 Yard breaststroke, North Haven’s Gambardella showed more leadership as she captured the event in 1:03.63 to lift her team to within 5.5 points of Daniel Hand. East Lyme freshman Nicole Hahn (1:07.44) was runnerup. Brookfield’s Anna Weinstein (1:07.50) took third.
CLASS M CHAMPIONSHIP
At Wesleyan University pool.
TOP 10 TEAM SCORES: 1, Daniel Hand 588.5 points; 2, North Haven 569; 3, Brookfield 461; 4, East Lyme 450.5; 5, Mercy 353; 6, Joel Barlow 310; 7, Branford 298; 8, Masuk 294; 9, Windsor Locks co-op 263; 10, Foran 200.