By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Lady Knight swimming and diving team competed against the top swimmers in the conference at the CCC South White Swimming Championship at the Cornerstone Aquatics Center in West Hartford on Wednesday, Nov. 2, placing third overall with four individual conference titles and one runner-up. Southington also achieved 31 personal bests in the meet.
“The game plan, as it always has been, was to show up, post best times, and be our best,” said Southington coach Evan Tuttle. “We finished third overall as a team, but you look at the 31 best times, and that’s twice as many best times we’ve previously been able to hit at our regular season meet.”
Hall won the CCC South White title by 44 points over Conard, followed by Berlin, Farmington, and Newington. Hall finished the meet with five individual conference champions and two runner-ups, while Conard finished with one individual conference champion and six runner-ups.
Olivia Fournier defended her titles in the 50 (25.28) and 100 freestyle (55.26) by being crowned champion for the second-straight year in both events, breaking the conference meet record in the 50 freestyle.
“Those were standard Liv races, and that’s strength,” said Tuttle. “Her turnover on top of the water is incredible. Neither race was a personal best time for her, and she was a little slow off the block, but she is so strong in the water and makes up for that ground easily. I’m looking forward to seeing those results in the state meet as well.”
Patrycja Zajac claimed the conference title in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.98) by improving her state-qualifying time, finishing three seconds ahead of the former top seed in the event.
“I’m not surprised that she improved her time,” the coach said. “But what I did find surprising and incredibly impressive was the gap that she was able to put between herself and the top seed. I told her before the race that this was the girl she was chasing down. Patrycja was the underdog and all the pressure was on that girl. Patrycja just had to go get her. Come out fast, and she did exactly that.”
The team of Fournier, Hannah Olsen, Julia Mularczyk, and Kerry Buchanan took home the conference title in the 200 freestyle relay (1:47.87) with a best time as well.
“They certainly had an impressive swim,” said Tuttle. “Their time of 1:47 is a pretty solid time. We’ll have to see where we fall in the greater scheme of things in Class LL, but it’s a good time to go into states with.”
Buchanan improved her state-qualifying time after finishing as runner-up in the 200 freestyle (2:06.78) and also finished sixth in the 500 freestyle.
“Kerry continues to grind, compress, and work hard,” the coach said. “We have her isolated in her own lane now, essentially doing an individualized workout for the trials. We just have to tweak a couple things and work on her coming into and out of the walls.”
Jess Piotrowski finished sixth in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke. Evelyn Holbrook finished ninth in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
Other top performances from the meet included the following: Olsen in the 50 freestyle (3rd); Piotrowski, Zajac, Fournier, and Sam Sagnella in the 200 medley relay (3rd); Piotrowski, Holbrook, Buchanan, and Julianna Ferreri in the 400 freestyle relay (4th); Sagnella in the 100 fly (5th); Julia Mularczyk in the 50 freestyle (8th); and Kailey Hinckley in the 100 freestyle (10th).
Madison Osakowicz dove for eighth overall in the CCC South White Diving Championship at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington on Tuesday with a score of 141.90. Alyssa Aulbach finished not far behind Osakowicz in 10th with a score of 125.65. Berlin dominated the diving board, finishing with the meet with the top three divers.
The Lady Knights will travel to East Hartford High School for the Class LL swimming qualifier on Saturday, Nov. 12th. Warm-up is at 4:30 p.m. Competition is at 6:00 p.m. Following the qualifier, the Knights will compete against some of the best swimmers in the state at the Class LL swimming championship at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven on Wednesday, November 16. Warm-up is at 5:00 p.m. Competition is at 6:00 p.m.
Qualifiers for the Class LL championship are to be posted by the CIAC by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Tournament dates are as follows: qualifying, Nov. 10; divisional, Nov. 16; diving state open, Nov. 18; swimming state open, Nov. 19.
The following Knights are qualified for the state meet: Olivia Fournier (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 200 freestyle), Kerry Buchanan (500 freestyle, 200 freestyle), Patrycja Zajac (100 breaststroke), Hannah Olsen (50 freestyle). Madison Osakowicz will represent Southington in the Class LL diving championship at Middletown High School on Thursday, Nov. 10. Warm-up is at 4:00 p.m. Competition is at 5:30 p.m. Greenwich is the defending champion.
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