By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Lady Knights swimming and diving team is poised for the postseason after putting a lid on their 2015 regular season with an 87-78 home victory over Berlin on Wednesday’s senior night, Oct. 28. Southington finished the regular season with an 8-2 record, 3-2 in the division in third behind Conard (8-1, 5-0 in division) and Hall (6-4, 4-1 in division).
The following seniors were honored at the meet: Christine Brilla, Lauren Cafasso, Nicole Christensen, Destiny Cruz, Laura Koba, Gia Paulus, Krysta Tsangarides, and senior captains Bethany Greenlaw and Ally Schroeder.
“Some have been swimming for four years and some have been swimming for only just this year,” said Southington coach Evan Tuttle. “Every single one of them is irreplaceable. They fit their particular mold for this team, and made this team what it is and as special of a program that it is.”
A first-place mark by Schroeder (1:07.69) in the 100 backstroke, along with third and fourth-place finishes from Evelyn Holbrook (1:16.27) and Nicole Christensen (1:13.63), secured the win for Southington.
“This meet is an accumulation of all the hard work you put in,” said Schroeder. “My freshman year, I remember watching the seniors walking down and just feeling the energy. They know that they worked hard all four years, so finally getting there yourself and walking across, knowing that you’ve put all of your effort, blood, sweat, and tears in for four years is an amazing feeling. Now you’re being rewarded for it.”
The team of Schroeder-Greenlaw-Sam Sagnella-Kerry Buchanan (2:05.12) took first in the 200 medley relay, the team of Hannah Olsen-Kailey Hinckley-Jess Piotrowski-Olivia Fournier (1:53.33) took first in the 200 freestyle relay, and the team of Fournier-Buchanan-Piotrowski-Schroeder (4:08.09) took first in the 400 freestyle relay.
“It was almost sort of an end to everything that we worked for, for four years,” said Greenlaw. The emotions behind it were crazy. You don’t really realize how much you love the team and how much of a family it is, until you’re walking down and you realize that this is the last time you’re going to compete in this pool.”
Fournier was a double winner in the 200 freestyle (2:04.72) and 100 freestyle (56.34). Buchanan (27.47) finished first in the 50 freestyle, Sagnella (1:09.50) in the 100 fly, and Patrycja Zajac (1:20.00) in the 100 breaststroke.
Other notable performances include second-place finishes by Schroeder (28:83) in the 50 freestyle, Ferreri (1:07.00) in the 100 freestyle, and Buchanan (5:46.27) in the 500 freestyle.
“There’s a lot to say about today’s meet aside from the performance in the pool, the energy on the pool deck, and the tremendous job that our seniors not only did in today’s meet, but to take the time today to really reflect and celebrate everything that they’ve done for their years with this program,” said Tuttle. “It’s really that graduating class of seniors each year to credit for how far this program has come, and how far we will hopefully continue to go.”
Tuttle took his annual senior night dive after both teams shook hands and gathered his girls in the middle of the pool for their post-meet talk.
“I love it. I love it every time,” said Tuttle, wet from head to toe after taking his annual senior night dive into the pool. “This is my seventh time in the pool, so I look forward to many more.”
Southington is set to compete against the top schools in the conference at the CCC Swimming Championships at the Cornerstone Aquatic Center in West Hartford on Wednesday, Nov. 4 with the diving competition on Nov. 3.
“We are ready, but we’ll be even more ready after a few more days of practice to work on a few small things,” said Tuttle. “The girls know that there’s always room for improvement. We’re never satisfied, always wanting to drive that bar a little higher.”