By KEVIN ROBERTS
The Southington girls swimming and diving team had a record-breaking season in 2017. The Lady Knights won the CCC West title for the first time in coach Evan Tuttle’s nine seasons, and they did so by avenging regular season losses to West Hartford powers Conard and Hall.
That was just the start of the run.
Records were broken, then broken again as Southington swam well in the Class LL qualifying and championship meets. The same went for the State Open, where two relay records went down.
The Lady Knights lost seven seniors, including five captains, from a team that broke five school records, had six individual CCC West champions, and put eight athletes on the All-CCC West team. Olivia Fournier owned six school records, was a State Open finalist, and is now swimming with Trinity College in Hartford. The six state open qualifiers were the most from any Lady Knights team under Tuttle, who is entering his 10th season.
With all those graduation losses, there’s no way Southington will be strong again this season, right? Wrong.
“The Lady Knights will be led by a strong, veteran senior class,” Tuttle said. “At the head of the pack are captains Abby Lo Presti, Lidia Prusak, Julia Holland and Julie Duszcak.”
Also back for Southington are State Open finalists Meghan Hammarlund, Maddie Symecko, Gianna Perugini, and Andie Nadeau. Class LL qualifiers Jenna Famiglietti and Liz Beaulieu (diving) also return. That talented nucleus gets an addition with Sarah Meade, who swam previously with the boys team in the winter.
In a slight understatement, Tuttle and Southington are excited to get this season rolling. If the Lady Knights want to defend their division title, finish higher in Class LL and get back to the State Open, plenty of hard work will be needed. Conard and Hall will no doubt be waiting for their shots at Southington in the regular season…and at the CCC West meet.
But the Lady Knights are ready for the challenge.
“We look to fulfill the Southington Athletics motto of ‘Chasing Excellence’ by working tirelessly day in and day out to improve, and we will not settle for less than our best,” Tuttle said. “The Lady Knights look to qualify as many athletes as possible into the postseason and make another historic push for State Opens.”
The seniors who graduated left their mark on Southington girls swimming and diving. This crop of Lady Knights will be looking to do the same.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com.