By KEVIN ROBERT
Swim coaches are always looking for their athletes to peak in the postseason. Not only did Southington girls swimming and diving peak at the state meets this past week, they exceeded the expectations of coach Evan Tuttle.
The best performance of all came at the Class LL state meet, where the Lady Knights finished ninth and broke six school records.
“I have a meet and some memories that I’m going to hold onto for a very long time,” Tuttle said.
The ninth place finish was the best-ever for a girls team under Tuttle. Southington followed that up with a 13th place finish at the state open. The Lady Knights brought their biggest representation ever to the open and did well, given it was the second major meet in four days.
“To give the same effort three days later would be a lot to ask,” Tuttle said,” but the girls always, always rise to the occasion.”
The class and open meets brought an end to the Southington season.
Records fall at Class LL meet
The Lady Knights put together what Tuttle called “one of the most memorable meets of my career” on Nov. 14 at Southern Connecticut State University.
The 200 medley relay began the meet with a bang when it finished sixth in a record time of 1:51.62. That relay was made up of Meghan Hammarlund, Julie Duszak, Maddie Symecko and Sarah Meade.
“I knew it was going to be a good day when the medley relay broke the school record,” Tuttle said.
Hammarlund, Duszak and Meade were far from done when it came to records. Hammarlund broke school records in the 100 butterfly (10th place, 59.60) and the 100 backstroke (fifth, 59.72). Hammarlund was also part of the record-breaking 400 freestyle relay, along with Andie Nadeau, Symecko and Gianna Perugini (ninth, 3:43.97).
Duszak took down the 50 freestyle record (24.51) and finished fourth, the highest place for a Southington swimmer at the Class LL meet. Tuttle was amazed by Duszak’s effort, which broke a record held by Olivia Fournier, who graduated this past spring.
“She broke a school record that I legitimately thought would last for ages,” Tuttle said.
Duszak and Meade swam on the record-breaking 200 freestyle relay team (ninth, 1:39.78), along with Perugini and Nadeau. Southington was already off to a good start because of Liz Beaulieu’s 13th place finish in Class LL diving, then the Lady Knights took it to another level.
“It was one after another, not just in terms of amazing swims, but breaking school records as well,” Tuttle said.
The Lady Knights swam in three relays and had five individual races at Yale University. Southington’s best finish was the 200 freestyle relay of Duszak, Meade, Perugini and Nadeau, which took seventh place and broke its own school record (1:39.30).
The best individual finish came from Hammarlund, who took 12th in the 100 backstroke and broke her own school record (59.24).
“They gave it everything that they had,” Tuttle said.
The 200 medley relay of Hammarlund, Duszak, Symecko and Meade finished 13th (1:52.07) while the 400 freestyle relay of Nadeau, Symecko, Perugini and Hammarlund took 21st (3:45.48). Individually, Duszak swam in the 50 freestyle (11th place, 24.52) and 100 breaststroke (18th, 1:08.93), Meade competed in the 50 freestyle (20th, 25.04) and Hammarlund took part in the 100 butterfly (22nd, 1:00.66).
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com