By BRIAN JENNINGS
Olivia Fournier trimmed more than a full second from her previous best in the 100 freestyle as the Southington sophomore leapfrogged six swimmers in the fastest heat of the Class LL Qualifying Meet in East Hartford
On Saturday, Nov. 14, 10 Southington girls competed over eight events at the first stage of the fall postseason.
Fournier (54.03) continued to break boundaries and picked up right where she left off from the conference meet, as she moved up to second place, set a new school record, and put herself into medal contention with a shot at the Class LL title.
Fournier also jumped up eight positions in the 200 freestyle (2:01.09) to enter the finals as the 12th seed, as the Lady Knights advanced four individuals and three relays into the Class LL finals.
Southington swimmers were looking to pare their best times at the qualifying meet to work their way into the top 24 and advance into the final round. The fastest swimmers were looking to fight their way into the top 8 for a chance to earn a medal at the Class LL finals.
Ally Schroeder pushed past eight swimmers in the 200 individual medley (2:22.7) to earn a spot in the finals as the No. 23 seed. Schroeder also advanced to the 100 backstroke (1:03.76) by jumping from 35th to 18th.
Southington advanced all three relays into the second heat at the finals. Schroeder teamed with Bethany Greenlaw, Sam Sagnella, and Hannah Olsen to advance in the 200 medley relay (2:02.53). Olsen, Greenlaw, and Buchanan partnered with Julia Mularczyk to reach the finals in the 200 freestyle relay (1:49.94). Fournier combined with Kerry Buchanan, Kara Zazzaro, and Evelyn Holbrook to advance in the 400 freestyle relay (3:57.29).
Buchanan just missed the top 24 with her 28th place effort in both the 200 freestyle (2:04.82) and the 500 freestyle (5:37.94). Jess Piotrowski finished 35th in the 200 individual medley (2:35.35).
Now, the Knights will look to trim their times again when they compete at the Class LL Finals on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven.
With her place in the fastest heat, Fournier is the only swimmer in medal contention, but all swimmers at the finals have a chance to reach the state open. The top 24 across the four division finals will advance to the state open on Saturday, Nov. 21 at Yale University in New Haven.