School records continue to fall at swimming qualifier



They were tapering for the upcoming Class LL swimming championship and state open, but that didn’t hold the Lady Knight swimming team back from setting a pair of new school records in the Class LL trials at East Hartford High School on Saturday, Nov. 11.

Aside from rewriting the record books, the Knights also advanced eight of their nine swimmers in nine events (11 out of 16 swims) to the Class LL finals.

Meghan Hammarlund, Julie Duszak, Maddie Symecko, and Olivia Fournier took eighth in the 200 medley relay and broke a 15-year-old school record with a time of 1:54.34.

“Once we got into a state-level competition in the peak conditioning, it was just a matter of time before that record fell,” said Southington coach Evan Tuttle. “They’ve been right around it all season.”

Fournier hopped back in the pool for the 50 freestyle and broke her own school record that she set last season by finishing fifth with a mark of 24.74. Fournier has broken that record several times over the past few of years.

“Liv’s been right around her own record all season,” the coach said. “By no surprise, she set the bar even a little higher for herself in that record.”

The following performances were also worthy of a trip to the state meet: Duszak in the 100 breaststroke (7th, 1:10.30) and 50 freestyle (13th, 25.19); Fournier in the 100 freestyle (10th, 54.40); Hammarlund in the 100 backstroke (15th, 1:02.43) and 200 individual medley (23rd, 2:21.44); Patrycja Zajac in the 100 breaststroke (18th, 1:13.25); Symecko in the 100 backstroke (20th, 1:05.29); and Andie Nadeau as an alternate in the 200 freestyle (26th, 2:06.13). Duszak, Gianna Perugini, Nadeau, and Fournier are seeded eighth in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:43.21. Nadeau, Kara Zazzaro, Symecko, and Hammarlund are seeded 13th in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:54.80.

Earlier in the week on Wednesday, Liz Beaulieu represented Southington in the Class LL diving qualifier at Middletown High School and placed 25th out of 28 divers with a score of 192.35. Beaulieu entered the meet with a season high of 174.95.

The Cardinals dominated the meet, placing all four of their divers in the top five. Greenwich’s Katherine Russack won the meet with a score of 486.10 and was not alone on the podium, as teammates Annabelle Pollack (469.25) and Madeline Muldoon (452.75) were right behind her.

Greenwich’s Kathryn Kirsch (422.70) was not far behind either, finishing fifth. Westhill-Stamford’s Abigail Desyr (438.40) took fourth.

The Knights will be back in the pool this week when they travel to Wesleyan University in Middletown on Tuesday, Nov. 14 for the Class LL swimming championship. Warm-up is scheduled for 6 p.m. with competition starting at 7 p.m. Greenwich is the defending champion.

“We should be rested and in prime condition for Tuesday evening’s meet because we really want to put ourselves in a good position to advance to Saturday,” said Tuttle. “We’re not taking any chances. But if we’re able to advance to Saturday, we’ll get back into a little bit of a taper set for the next few days and get ready again for the state open.”

Heading into the state meet, the Knights have aspirations of cracking the top 10, which hasn’t been done since 2014. It’s not easy to crack the top 10 in Class LL when you’re looking at the strongest teams in the state, but Tuttle said that they put themselves in a good position already by getting so many swimmers into the state meet.

“If we swim a little bit faster and those times drop a little more, that means that we’re going to be moving up and adding up the points,” the coach said. “If school records fall, then school records fall as a result of that as well.”

For this week’s box scores, click here: ( To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at

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