GREENWICH — Meghan Lynch never seems to leave a championship swim meet empty-handed and Saturday morning, the 15-year-old Greenwich resident certainly had her hands full following the Greenwich Point One-Mile Swim.
A rising Greenwich High School junior, Lynch exited the 32nd annual competition with two trophies and a medal in her possession after, once again, showcasing her championship caliber swim skills.
Lynch was the overall winner of the 32nd annual Greenwich Point One-Mile Swim, finishing the 1,600-yard event in a time of 17 minutes, 31 seconds. Ally Howe, 23, who swam at Stanford University, placed second in 18:32, followed by 28-year-old Rachel Ripley (18:38) and 2014 Staples graduate Verity Abel (18:48).
Ethan Saulnier of Beverly, Mass., who finished fifth in 18:59, was the top men’s finisher in the race, which included 207 competitors. Annie Fittin (19:01), 13-year-old Alex Drienk (19:22), Roger Dent (19:33), Alan Svensen (19:54) and Feroz Dewan (19:55) rounded out the top-10 finishers, in the event, which was run in three heats — 39-and-under, 40-49 and 50-and-over.
Katie Meili, who earned the bronze medal in the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2016 Summer Olympics, was 13th Saturday with a time of 20:12.
Saturday’s conditions were idyllic at race time, making it comfortable for the competitors, who rose early to participate in the 7:30 a.m. event.
“I actually felt really good during the race, better than I thought I was going to,” Lynch said. “The water was a nice temperature, so you didn’t really get tired — it was easier to get going. I prefer swimming in the pool of course, but when you have a long freestyle swim, I like open water. You don’t have to do the flip turns, so it goes by much faster, since you can swim straight through the race.”
Lynch, who qualified for the 2020 Olympic Trials in the 200-meter individual medley after excelling at the Swimming Winter Nationals this past fall, also won the Greenwich Point One-Mile Swim in 2018.
“I remember last year the water here was freezing, but it was nice today,” said Lynch, who besides swimming for GHS, competes for the YWCA Dolphins. “The conditions were really nice, which helped us swim fast.”
The GameTimeCt 2018 Girls Swimmer of the Year, Lynch is coming off a sophomore season for the Cardinals that saw her receive All-American, All-State and All-FCIAC Team accolades. She won the 200 individual medley title at the State Open and Class LL championships and also captured the first-place medal in the 100-yard breaststroke in both meets. She will serve as a captain this fall for Greenwich, which claimed the State Open, FCIAC and Class LL titles in 2018.
“Being captain is going to be cool, it’s going to be a really fun season,” said Lynch, the 2018 Connecticut High School Coaches Association Swimmer of the Year. “I’m excited for the upcoming season.”
Her summer includes plenty of training.
“I’ve been doing doubles three times a week,” Lynch said. “We swim at Playland (Rye, N.Y.) in the morning and at the YWCA at night. Next week, we’ll be at Wesleyan for the Connecticut Senior Championships, then I’ll go to Senior Nationals in California.”
Howe, who grew up in California, was a member of a Stanford squad that won the NCAA national championship two straight seasons (2016-17, 2017-18). She qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2012 and 2016 in the backstroke and keyed Stanford in the backstroke, IM and butterfly events.
“This was my first time doing open water. Normally I am a sprinter and I swim backstroke, so this is definitely a little bit different for me,” said Howe, who was one of numerous swimmers that represented New York Athletic Club’s team at the event. “It was kind of fun getting to swim open water, a mile is not too bad. With this being my first open water event I didn’t know what to expect, so I’m happy with the strong pace I held throughout.”
Ripley, a Tempe, Arizona native, swam at the University of Missouri, specializing in the breaststroke and individual medley events. She competed in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. She was also part of the New York Athletic Club contingent at the Greenwich One-Mile Swim.
“I haven’t done open water since this race here in Greenwich two years ago, so I’m happy with my time,” Ripley said. “I just came here to have fun and overall, it was a good race. The conditions were great for us to compete in.”
Ripley will swim in the Masters World Championships in Korea next month.
Meili, 28, announced her retirement from competitive swimming this week. Besides her bronze medal performance in the 100 breaststroke at the 2016 Summer Olympics, she was part of the United States’ gold medal winning 100-meter medley relay squad.
At the 2017 World Aquatics Championships, Meili captured the silver medal in the 100-meter breaststroke with a personal-best time of 1:05.03. She swam at Columbia University and is enrolled at Georgetown Law School.
“I’m a member of New York Athletic Club and a bunch of members were coming out to swim today, so I decided to join them,” Meili said. “I don’t normally do open water races, so this was a bit of a challenge. But it was awesome. Events like this on a Saturday brings people together. There’s a strong sense of community and everyone is really supportive.”
Meili shared advice to young swimmers aspiring to compete at a high level.
“The most important things are to have fun and set big goals for yourself,” Meili said. “First and foremost, enjoy your friendships and that will help you have fun.”
Indeed, swimming has provided Meili with a pool-full of fond memories.
“My medals and awards mean a lot to me, but the most important part of the sport are the relationships and friendships I’ve built over the course of my career,” she said. “Swimming has opened so many doors and provided me with so many wonderful opportunities.”
Abel, 23, was a standout swimmer at Duke University after starring at Staples. She was one of Duke’s premier performers in the 500, 1,000 and 1,650 freestyle events, as well as the 400 individual medley. While at Duke, Abel was a four-time CSCAA Scholar All-America selection.
“It was an honor to swim at Duke and be a captain my senior year,” said Abel, who graduated from Duke in 2018. “It was an amazing experience.”
Abel joined her NYAC teammates at the Greenwich Point Swim.
“I wanted to do this swim since it’s local and I’m a distance swimmer,” she said. “In a race like this, once you break away from the crowd, you go at your own pace, figure out your breathing pattern and try to bring it home as soon as possible.”
Saulnier’s trip from Massachusetts was well worth it, as he was the men’s overall champion.
“I was a little nervous that the water might be cold, because I don’t do well in the cold, but it turns out the weather was perfect,” Saulnier said. “This is maybe my fourth time here. I visit a friend here, so I try to compete here each year.”
Ryan Lynch, Meghan’s older brother, was 17th overall (20:23) and placed second in the male 19-and-under division. He is entering his sophomore year at Tufts University, where he swims.
“When I came home I wanted to do as many of these races as I possibly can,” Lynch said. “I made it a goal for the summer to do these events, because you go out there with your friends and have a good time. It makes you challenge yourself as well.”
Lynch was joined by his former Greenwich swimming teammates Ryan Chan and Andrew Daur at the one-mile swim.
“We did Swim Across America last month, so we are used to open water events,” said Chan, who swims at Loyola Maryland. “It helps us keep in shape.”
Organized by Jon Harnett, the chairman of the Greenwich Swim Committee and Micky Yardis of treads & treads in Greenwich, the Greenwich Point One-Mile Swim is part of the Hospital for Special Surgery Greenwich Cup Series.
Awards were presented to the top three finishers in each age group. Meghan Lynch was the female 19-and-under winner, while Howe took top honors inthe 20-24 year-old group. Ripley (25-29), Fittin (30-34), Johanna Tulfer (35-39, 29:48), Lucy Kappel (40-44, 22:51), Suzanne Woody (45-49, 20:51), Kristin Gary (50-54, 20:00), Lynn Davis (55-59, 25:05), Cindy Thornton (60-64, 22:45) and Patrice Francois 65-69, 28:12) each finished first in their respective age groups.
Age group winners on the men’s side included: Drienk (19-under, 19:22), Harry Bound (20-24, 26:27), Guilherme Jajbhay (25-29, 24:41), Dent (30-34, 19:33), Ian Akehurst (36-39, 23:37), Feroz Dewan (40-44, 19:55), Saulnier (45-49), Alan Svensen (50-54, 19:54), Arthur Gunzl (55-59, 20:23), Howard Fife (60-64, 22:05), Edward Kral (65-69, 25:08) and Andrew Coleman (70-and-over 27:29).
Greenwich Point One-Mile Swim
Meghan Lynch 17:31; Ally Howe 18:32; Rachel Ripley 18:38; Verity Abel 18:48; Ethan Saulnier 18:59; Annie Fittin 19:01; Alex Drienk 19:22; Roger Dent 19:33; Alan Svensen 19:54; Feroz Dewan 19:55; Kristin Gary 20:00; Claire Singley 20:01; Katie Meili 20:12; Jen Schumacher 20:14; John C. Ross 20:15; Arthur Gunzl 20:23; Ryan Lynch 20:23; Stephan Rodiger 20:31; Milos Drienik 20:35; Suzanne Woody 20:51; Ryan Chan 21:00; Kristen Pratt 21:06; Greg Pinchbeck 21:11; Juliet Kadlecek 21:24; William Eggers 21:27; Kathryn Thomas 21:30; Andrew David 21:34; Vaughn Harvey 21:40; Michael Van Emmenes 21:45; Joseph Kaufman 21:51; Simon Bound 22:03; Howard Fife 22:05; Paul Doremus 22:06; Stephen Jones 22:16; Kathleen Morrissey 22:25; Richard Grisaru, 22:29; Michael Parry 22:30; Sabina Csak 22:32; Ray Doherty 22:32; Bruce Miller 22:40; Cindy Thornton 22:45; Lucy Kappel 22:51; Adrian Srtoie 22:51; John Weber 22:51; Sean Dowling 22:52; Ashley Olson 23:12; Robert Frawley 23:14; Dan Kelly 23:14; Betsy Eickelberg 23:29; Ian Akehurst 23:37; Dave Oulighan 23:41; Brett Harriss 23:42; Timothy Doherty 23:44; Maiko De Andara 23:48; Andy Devries 23:48; Hillary Scott 23:58; Juliet Coulthard 24:00; Carly Glickenhaus 24:31; Tim Gardner 24:34; Mark Meeker 24:35; Thomas Scala 24:37; Michael Kelly 24:39; Guilherme Jajbhay 24:41; Mike McMahon 24:42; Joey Dussich 24:47; Michael Zim 24:49; Matt Thomas 24:58; Don Sandford 25:02; Linda Filar 25:04; Lynn Davis 25:05; Lynne Anderson 25:05; Edward Kral 25:08; Xinyue Li 25:09; Sophie Hyman 25:18; Dennis McLaughlin 25:28; Kenneth Rasamny 25:32; Matthew Hart 25:35; Robert Heiss 25:37; Joan Lynch 25:38; Richard Infield 25:58; Jessica McRorie 26:06; Bruce M. Dicicco 26:07; Ilinca Johnson 26:17; Veda Swaminathan 26:19; Steve Miller 26:20; Ben Marcus 26:20; John Merrill 26:22; Harry Bound 26:27; Jeremy King 26:28; Jake Bright 26:51; Erin Fleming 27:01; Fiona Lloyd-Aikman 27:03; Michael Buckley 27:04; Federico Rodriguez 27:06; Mark Schoenherr 27:16; George Steers 27:22; Betsy Horan 27:22; Elizabeth Gregorio 27:22; Tyler Burke 27:23; Windsor Hall 27:24; Ainsley Sahrbeck 27:25; Karl Malchow 27:26; Will Batter 27:28; Melissa Geiger 27:28; Andrew Coleman 27:29; Christie Ansart 27:30; Hao Pan 27:32; Scott Barringer 27:34; Gillian Geiger 27:41; Wendy Fraulo 27:43; Mary Milucci 27:57; Patrice Francois 28:12; Ana Patricia Gonzale 28:16; Kate Zvezdina 28:25; Russell Gold 28:27; Mike Keady 28:30; Heather Baden 28:32; John Weyrauch 28:34; Franny McHale 28:40; Bradley Altman 28:43; Mark Hyman 28:46; Sally McHale 28:49; Steven Mentz 28:50; Lee Rasamny 28:51 Jonathan O’Connor 28:51; Lisa Dominic 28:52; Jenn Gale 28:55; Anne Whitman 28:58; Healy Martin 29:04; Christopher Rogalski 29:06; Michael Enright 29:09; Michael Giaquinto 29:11; Jennifer Metz 29:14; Joy Sy 29:15; Jennifer Williams 29:16; Cynthia Banks 29:20; Andrew Duke Maloney 29:25; Kenneth Conover 29:26; Stephen Camhi 29:35; Judy Silverman 29:43; Diana Klingner 29:46; Johanna Tulfer 29:48; Jude Domato 29:52; Greg Butz 29:55; Patrick O’Connor 30:02; Chet Morton 30:02; Beverly Wagner 30:09; Annete Madden-Kline 30:13; Bengt Redlinger 30:15; Charles Otton 30:15; Mary Bouton 30:22; Cornelia Parchment 30:23; Jennifer Kyff 30:34; Rachel Smith 30:40; Mitch Baruchowitz 30:47; Diego Cordero 30:53; Jason Lally 31:01; Alet Foster 31:03; Joseph Zelson 31:15; Mary Ann Harmon 31:20; Francois Odouard 31:30; Richard Cantor 31:31; Brenda Lyons 31:54; Brooke Davis 32:04; Susan Thomas 32:19; Joshua Brandfonbrene 32:39; Lei Bao 32:50; Annie Burke 33:12; Anne Tennant 33:27; Linda Horiuchi 33:32; Jerry Haas 33:34; Christopher D’Emic 33:38; Karen Marie Heron 33:45; Evan Bender 33:49; Jan Schole 33:50; Art Morris 33:53; Bill Curran 34:13; James Coffy 34:14; Ryan Atkinson 34:37; David Edward 35:07; Paulo Poyaoan 35:09; Sergio Christensen 35:21; Heather Mirhen 35:31; Rafael Aparicio 35:55; Quentin Bell 36:00; Jeffrey Lintz 36:12; Fiona Russo 36:42; Tracy Kennedy 37:27; Walter Donne 37:50; Lauren Robertson F6064 38:08; Kevin Feng 39:14; Jacob Allen Scarvey 39:51; Anne Marie Rocchio 39:53; Simon Brady 40:04; Zachary Tuckman 41:03; Dave Gregorio 41:45; Katherine McGuire 41:55; Nora Baker 41:58; Claire Foster 43:17; Fiona Boote 43:47; Tom McGarrity 44:08; Martin Brown 44:37; Pedro Yupa 45:08; Dominic Rocchio 45:59; Heather Flaherty 50:22; Elizabeth Baily Geib 58:01 Steven Goran 1:04:23