By John Goralski
Evan Tuttle gathered his team at the edge of the YMCA pool and smiled. Southington had just dispatched Manchester, an historical rival, by a wide margin, but it wasn’t the victory that Tuttle was most pleased about.
The new lights at the YMCA pool were like a spotlight on his varsity team, and the Lady Knights seemed to shine in its glare. Southington athletes were seen lending a hand to the opposing swimmers as they climbed out of the pool. The Knights were leading the cheers in one race when a Manchester straggler was on her final lap.
Sure, the Lady Knights are a perfect 4-0 after two more wins this week, but when Manchester’s coach actually thanked Tuttle after a loss. Well, that’s just special.
“We have a lot of girls and a lot of talent. We’ve been able to put together some good meets, but in the same respect I recognize everyone’s efforts in the pool,” said Tuttle. “It doesn’t matter if it’s our team or theirs, our girls seem to reward good effort. They’re not just supportive of our team. They’re supportive of everybody on the pool deck. I’m not just happy about our three wins. I’m proud of the fact that, after those wins, we’ve been congratulated for our sportsmanship from the referees, opposing coaches, and opposing parents.”
Of course, the efforts in the pool are just as impressive.
Six different Knights captured wins in individual events as Southington cruised to a 92-70 win over Manchester on Monday. Those six partnered with four others to sweep the relays. Southington swimmers scored two of the three top spots in every relay, and every individual scored in the top five.
The Lady Knights never trailed even though it was their third varsity meet in six days.
“The girls are doing a great job conditioning themselves, even with their limited time in the pool,” said Tuttle. “We’ve had a little bit of sickness, but that seems to be in the past. We’re trying to take care of ourselves, not just here at the pool, but at home as well. I knew that we’d be ready today even after coming off of a weekend.”
Marisa Matthews paced the Knights as a double winner in the 50 freestyle (26.63) and the 100 breaststroke (1:12.46). Bailey Potter scored wins in both the 100 freestyle (1:01.84) and the 100 backstroke (1:08.47).
The pair teamed with Sam Sagnella and Kristen Loose to capture the title in the medley relay (2:05.75). Matthews went on to win the 200 freestyle relay (1:58.58) with Hannah Olsen, Bethany Greenlaw, and Kristen Loose. Potter went on two with the 400 freestyle relay (4:22.94) with Kerry Buchanan, Ashley Christensen, and Ally Schroeder.
Schroeder won the 200 freestyle (2:13.02). Kristen Loose won the 200 IM (2:38.87) by almost half a pool length. Sagnella won the 100 butterfly (1:10.03), and Buchanan won the 500 freestyle (6:08.45).
“I’d love to win every meet as long as it’s in the right way,” said Tuttle. “We’re going to continue to do this.”
On Friday, they proved it was no fluke. The Knights improved to 4-0 with an 88-79 win over Bristol Eastern.
Olivia Fournier was a double winner with a state qualifying time in the 50 freestyle (25.69) and a victory in the 100 freestyle (56.88). Buchanan won the 200 free (2:11.06). Potter scored first in the 100 back (1:08.03), and Matthews finished first in the 100 breast (1:12.21).
Once again, Southington swept the relays. Schroeder, Matthews, Sagnella, and Fournier won the 200 medley (2:01.26). Olsen, Greenlaw, Loose, and Matthews won the 200 free relay (1:54.21). Fournier, Buchanan, Potter, and Schroeder captured the title in the 400 free relay (4:04.46).
Southington will try to carry their momentum onto the road this week with non conference showdowns against East Hartford and Maloney-Platt.
By John Goralski