By John Goralski
Six up. Six down. With two more victories last week, the Lady Knights swim team has surged to a perfect, 6-0 start. Now, as the girls dive into the start of their powerhouse conference schedule, Coach Evan Tuttle thinks his team is ready to make some noise.
“We’re as ready as we’ve ever been, and I can confidently say that,” said the coach. “We’ve got Farmington, Hall, and Conard coming up. Berlin’s going to be another tough match for us. Our girls are up to the challenge. They are certainly not going to make things easy for anybody.”
The Knights have already shown the ability to rise up to adversity, and that was evident this week. With Southington’s rookie divers still working up to varsity expectations, the Knights started each meet with a 13 point deficit.
The Knights still managed to score lopsided wins.
“It’s an added piece of adversity for us, but we aren’t new to overcoming adversity,” said the coach. “We were able to chase some points with our diving. We were able to get the right match-ups in to come away with two strong wins. We’re staying in the mindset that we’re going to be able to get our divers ready for those meets, but our girls welcome the challenge.”
Against East Hartford, the Knights saw an early 20-point lead shrink near single digits after diving, but Southington rallied to win each of the next seven events.
Olivia Fournier was a double-winner in the 100 free (56.76) and with a state qualifying time in the 200 free (2:07.55). Bailey Potter captured wins in the 500 free (6:10.89) and the 100 back (1:10.35).
Marisa Matthews won the 50 free (26.59). Sam Sagnella won the 100 fly (1:09.85), and Bethany Greenlaw took the 100 breaststroke (1:22.03). Southington swept the relays, turned to exhibition with two races left, and cruised to a 94-80 win.
“They have a core group of strong swimmers and excellent divers,” said Tuttle. “I’ve been really impressed with the talent of opposing divers, but we’ve been able to adjust. We had the right match-ups, and it wasn’t just in the middle lanes. We have girls in those outer lanes that can compete, too.”
Without diving at Maloney, the Knights still managed to open a 38-point lead and cruised to a 94-78 win over Meriden’s co-op.
Allison Shroeder, Greenlaw, Matthews, and Fournier set the pace with a win in the medley relay (2:03.45). Hannah Olsen, Greenlaw, Kristen Loose, and Matthews put the meet out of reach with a win in the 200 free relay (1:53.46).
Potter won the 200 free (2:12.52). Fournier captured the 50 free (26.4), and Sagnella took the 100 fly (1:09.76). Matthews won the 100 free (58.71), and Kerry Buchanan scored the win in the 500 free (5:56.38).
“In these first few meets, I’ve been able to get some girls in some different events, and they’ve performed very well, but it’s outside the pool that I’m most pleased,” said the coach. “I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had opposing coaches or parents come up to me and compliment our girls on their sportsmanship.”
Now comes the fun part.
By John Goralski