By BRIAN JENNINGS
Kerry Buchanan clawed across the pool like a lifeguard and had a pretty decent lead by the first turn. She was out in front from start to finish. In the final leg, it wasn’t even close.
Buchanan (2:11.16) won by about two lengths, and her first-place finish in the 200 freestyle was a huge win against a team like Hall.
Hall managed to place swimmers in second and third, but Kara Zazzaro (2:25.88) and Gina Calo (2:26.50) beat the third Hall swimmer convincingly, which was the difference in Southington outscoring Hall in the event. You could tell right away that it was going to be a good fight after watching the first two events.
If Hall thought that they would have an easy time with Southington after dominating the opening relay, Buchanan turned the tide in the second event. Hall placed second and third in the 200 freestyle, but Southington claimed the final two scores to win the event.
“Kerry Buchanan has been exceptional the past few meets,” said Southington coach Evan Tuttle. “Not only has she been dominating in her individual events, but she has been a pivotal part of relays as well. Three key conference meets in a row, she has anchored the 200 freestyle relay immediately after the 500 freestyle.”
On Wednesday, Oct. 14, the Lady Knights didn’t come away with the victory, but an 88-80 loss to a West Hartford powerhouse is almost as good, considering that Hall didn’t get to exhibition races until the final relay, which is about as close as any Southington team has come to beating them.
The Warriors are used to swimming exhibition races down the stretch in every meet, but Southington pushed them until the final event.
“Although no one likes to take a loss, especially at home, it was a good loss,” said Tuttle. “We came out of the meet with 17 best-times, compared to only two best times a week ago against Conard. Although the final score was not in our favor, the improvements we saw throughout the lineup were very evident. Credit must go to Hall, who showed up equally prepared for our conference meet and performed exactly how they needed to in order to come out of Southington with a win.”
The team of team of Olivia Fournier-Hannah Olsen-Jess Piotrowski-Kerry Buchanan took first (1:52.54) in the 200 freestyle relay. Buchanan (5:49.60) also placed first in the 500 freestyle, and Fournier (25.76) took first in the 50 freestyle.
“Fournier has continued her stellar sophomore campaign,” said Tuttle. “We saw two of the best in the state matched up Wednesday with Fournier and Tara Tiernan from Hall. After going down early in the first relay, it was essential to come back strong in the 200 freestyle. Kerry taking first was huge, yet equally important was the back end of that event in Kara and Gina fighting hard for a fourth and fifth finish, which gave us the points swing to even things back out.”
Other notable performances included second-place finishes by the team of Ally Schroeder-Sam Sagnella-Bethany Greenlaw-Fournier in the 200 medley relay (2:06.21), Schroeder in the 200 individual medley (2:31.46), Sagnella in the 100 fly (1:09.94), Fournier in the 100 freestyle (56:89), the team of Julia Mularczyk-Kailey Hinckley-Brenna Moss-Juliana Ferreri in the 200 freestyle relay (2:01.09), Schroeder in the 100 backstroke (1:10.51), and the team of Buchanan-Hinckley-Evelyn Holbrook-Schroeder in the 400 freestyle relay (4:18.59).
With the loss, Southington fell to 5-2 and currently sits in third in the White Division of the South Region behind Hall and Conard. Southington hopes to carry the momentum into this week with meets at Newington on Tuesday, Oct. 20 and East Hartford on Friday, Oct. 23.
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@ SouthingtonObserver.com.